Salford v Castleford.
It’s been a fairly turbulent start to the season for Castleford. Coach Lee Radford has departed, off the field drama and very poor form left the Tigers without a win after their first four matches. Like neighbours Wakefield they’ve struggled to post points and have been nilled twice at home already to Wigan and Warrington respectively. Having said that hard fought wins over Leeds and Wakefield at Wheldon Road and a solid display in Perpignan against Catalans has given caretaker coach Andy Last some positives to build on.
Salford have managed four victories from their first eight games with three coming away from home. The Red Devils have been very patchy in their home games and failed to impress. The Easter victory at Leigh will have given Paul Rowley’s side a real boost. Their were impressive performances from Chris Atkin, Shane Wright, Sam Stone and Tyler Dupree is becoming a real crowd favourite with his ability to power through tackles. Salford still have players to come back from injury but at the moment the players that are fit are putting in a real shift.
It’s quite hard to predict most matches in the Super League at the moment. The only real consistent team is Warrington who have won their first eight matches to remain unbeaten. In my opinion the League is wide open in 2023 and that’s what makes it so intriguing. Consistency is the key now and Salford have two home games to build some momentum.
One player who could feature on Thursday night is Oliver Partington after Paul Rowley named him in the twenty one man squad.
Super League Home Record.
1997 Salford 4 Castleford 0
1998 Salford 8 Castleford 18
1999 Salford 17 Castleford 29
2000 Salford 16 Castleford 22
2001 Salford 18 Castleford 26
2002 Salford 16 Castleford 74
2002 Salford 10 Castleford 20
2004 Salford 30 Castleford 14
2006 Salford 26 Castleford 16
2009 Salford 12 Castleford 18
2010 Salford 22 Castleford 28
2011 Salford 8 Castleford 15
2012 Salford 10 Castleford 24
2013 Salford 34 Castleford 30
2014 Salford 23 Castleford 16
2015 Salford 20 Castleford 22
2016 Salford 22 Castleford 18
2017 Salford 13 Castleford 12
2017 Salford 4 Castleford 23 ( super eights)
2018 Salford 6 Castleford 24
2019 Salford 26 Castleford 16
2019 Salford 22 Castleford 0 (playoffs)
2020 Salford 30 Castleford 37 (played behind closed doors at Headingley)
2021 Salford 18 Castleford 28
2022 Salford 30 Castleford 14
They played for both.
Throughout the Super League era there have been plenty of players who have played for both clubs and quite a few through the 1970s and 80s.
Here is a selection of them ;
Paul Orr, Bill Kirkbride, Jonny Ward, Barry Kear, Ron Hill, Ian Bragger, Justin Carney, Chris Charles, Jason Critchley, Luke Dorn, Greg Eden, Jake Emmit, Jason Flowers, Matt Gardner, Ashley Gibson, Wayne Godwin, Weller Hauraki, Lee Jewitt, Michael Korkidas, Francis Maloney, Mike Platt, Darren Rogers, Jordan Turner, Darren Shaw, Mark Sneyd, Gray Viane, Derrell Olpherts, George Griffin, Niall Evalds and Gareth O’Brien.
A match to remember 13th May 1939, Maine Road Manchester.
Championship final, Salford 8 Castleford 6.
The final match of the 1938/39 season saw Salford finish with a real flourish at Manchester City’s Maine Road. A huge crowd of 69,504 excited supporters packed on to the terraces to watch the top two sides in the country. Salford had finished top of the table with Castleford two points behind in second place. Both sides had made the final with convincing Semi final victories. Salford had beaten Huddersfield 15-0 while Castleford were too good for Halifax coming out 21-4 victors.
Just seven days earlier Salford had been at Wembley in the Challenge Cup final against Halifax. Lance Todd’s Red Devils were dealt some real bad luck before the match when almost half the team went down with the flu. The Yorkshire men took the Trophy with a 20-3 triumph.
The Red Devils covered themselves in glory though the following week with a really hard fought game against Castleford. Tries from prolific winger Alan Edwards and stand off Tom Kenny were good enough to edge them home.
Edwards finished his Salford career with a sensational try record of 129 tries in 199 appearances. The great Gus Risman finished top scorer in the league that season with 267 points.
The 1930s were a golden era for Salford rugby league club. They certainly were a team to be feared, class and quality across the pitch ensured The trophies came thick and fast. Three League Championships, four Lancashire Cups, five Lancashire League titles and a Challenge cup victory at Wembley made Salford the side of the decade.
Salford were the first club to be invited to tour France who saw them as the premier side in the game. Their trip in October and November 1934 was to promote Rugby League in the country. They won all six matches in with some amazing attacking play and were given their unofficial nickname; Les Diables Rouges (The Red Devils) by French journalists. The opening game was in Paris on Sunday 21 October, following an overnight ferry journey, having beaten Wigan 21–12 in the Lancashire Cup final the previous afternoon. Looking back now that is certainly a team to be very proud of.
Despite Castleford’s poor start to the season they still have plenty of players to look out for. Hooker Paul McShane is always a threat and half Jacob Miller spent many years in England playing for Hull and Wakefield prior to 2023. Greg Eden has plenty of pace and we all know about fullback Niall Evalds after his special career with Salford. One player to watch out for is young halfback Jack Broadbent. He played for Leeds in Super League before spending time on loan with Featherstone and his home town club Batley. The twenty two year old is quick and versatile being able to play in a number of positions.
Salford showed on Saturday that when they up the intensity teams struggle to live with them. A good start is vital on Thursday night, a quick tempo suits the way Salford like to play under Paul Rowley. The spine of the Red Devils team is very settled at the moment, Brodie Croft and Marc Sneyd compliment each other so well and with Tim Lafai out injured Matty Costello has taken his chance and not put a foot wrong. Costello was particularly strong in defence last week.
Looking at the betting odds earlier in the week Salford are slight favourites with the Tigers having an eight point start.
This promises to be another fascinating encounter and one not to be missed. With the brand of rugby Salford are playing you are sure to be entertained.
The action gets under way at 8pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the match.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos.