Leeds v Salford.
Well what a week or so it’s been! Perhaps we expected a nice quiet break with no match due to the international fixture between England and France but things were busier than ever for Salford Rugby League Club. Off the field over the last few decades their have been ups and downs. It’s the same for all sporting clubs but one thing is very much worth remembering. Salford RLFC continue to break boundaries, set trends and evolve through innovation, passion and togetherness through everybody involved with this proud and historic club. Towards the end of the 1960s Chairman Brian Snape was like the God Father of Salford Rugby. His forward thinking and wonderful business brain transformed the club into the place to be. A buzzing variety club and a team full of quality players made The Willows a rugby league Mecca that is still fondly talked about today. Snape set the benchmark for others to follow. This season the club celebrates its 150th anniversary and once again the club have come up with an idea that sets them apart from the rest of the sport.
‘Reds Rise Together’ is a community share offer which allows an individual to purchase a share in the club’s holding company – now a Community Benefit Society (CBS) – entitling them to a vote and eligibility to stand for election to the CBS board. Along with a host of other benefits, the overriding benefit is a collective one, meaning that together, we can take better control over the future of the club and continue to add meaningful value to the community.
For more information contact the Club or check out the various social media platforms and of course the Salford Red Devils website.
Turning our attention back to on field business the Red Devils are back in action on Friday night with a trip to Headingley to face Leeds. With three wins on the spin Paul Rowley’s side have started to build some real momentum. This fixture is always a tough one, you only have to read on to the next section in this preview and check the stats out. That said it’s been another season of inconsistency for the Rhinos who have won five and lost five so far. Last time out they were comprehensively beaten away to Leigh but on the flip side Leeds have already won away to Saints and had good victories over Catalans and Huddersfield at Headingley.
Super League Away Record.
1997 Leeds 34 Salford 18
1998 Leeds 31 Salford 12
1999 Leeds 50 Salford 16
2000 Leeds 42 Salford 16
2001 Leeds 56 Salford 6
2002 Leeds 39 Salford 38
2004 Leeds 34 Salford 6
2005 Leeds 54 Salford 14
2006 Leeds 20 Salford 12
2007 Leeds 52 Salford 14
2009 Leeds 20 Salford 30
2010 Leeds 22 Salford 10
2011 Leeds 46 Salford 12
2012 Leeds 46 Salford 12
2013 Leeds 42 Salford 14
2014 Leeds 32 Salford 4
2015 Leeds 70 Salford 6
2016 Leeds 8 Salford 0
2017 Leeds 20 Salford 14
2017 Leeds 44 Salford 2 (super 8s)
2018 Leeds 20 Salford 0
2018 Leeds 18 Salford 16 (the qualifiers)
2019 Leeds 12 Salford 20
2020 Leeds 50 Salford 12 (behind closed doors at Warrington)
2021 Leeds 38 Salford 16
2022 Leeds 34 Salford 14
They played for both.
Here are a few players to wear the red of Salford and the blue and amber of Leeds.
Luke Burgess, Joel Moon, Mark Brooke-Cowden, Andrew Duneman, Ensene Famailo, Phil Ford, Ashley Gibson, Phil Hassan, Weller Hauraki, Ben Jones Bishop, Andy Kirk, Francis Maloney, Richie Myler, David Young, Derrell Olpherts and Robert Lui.
A MATCH TO REMEMBER 26TH JULY 2002.
Leeds 39 Salford 38.
Salford were struggling at the wrong end of the table and in a real relegation dog fight. The Reds went in to a surprise lead when Australian forward Darren Treacy’s try and two Graham Holroyd goals made the scores 0-8 in the early stages.
Tries to Francis Cummins, Barrie McDermott and Matt Diskin helped the Rhinos into a 28-10 interval lead.
Playing against his former club half back Holroyd crossed to reduce the Reds deficit before Ryan Sheridan looked to have sealed the two points for the home side with his try taking the score to 34-16. Salford though produced a thrilling comeback to warm the hearts of their travelling fans who roared them on.
Alan Hunte, Danny Arnold and Malcolm Alker with tries brought the scoreline to 34-32. Matt Diskin nudged Leeds further in front with another try before Salford winger Arnold grabbed his second try to tie the scores 38-38 in an absolutely pulsating match. The visitors deserved the points, it had been 25 years since Salford’s last win in this fixture and just when it looked like a little piece of history was being created Ryan Sheridan dropped a goal to leave the Reds shattered at 39-38. It’s a game that’s always stuck in my memory, one that just got away. There was a real lump in my throat as I clapped the lads off at the full time hooter.
It was a poor end to 2002, the highlight being a near faultless display away at Warrington on a Friday night in September 2-22. Relegation was confirmed after a final day of the season defeat to Castleford at The Willows 10-20.
The teams that night were;
Leeds, Cummins, Kirk, Walker, Senior, Pratt, Sinfield, Sheridan, Ward, Diskin, McDermott, Hey, Adamson, Vowles.
Subs, Jones-Buchanan, Poching, Bailey,
Salford, Broadbent, Gibson, Maloney, Littler Arnold, Holroyd, Blakeley, Baynes, Alker, Highton, Ebrill, Treacy, Wainwright.
Subs, Hunte, Watson, Coley, Southern.
Referee, Peter Taberner.
This has always proved a tough fixture for Salford no matter what era you look back on. Despite inconsistency Leeds coach Rohan Smith has a big squad to pick from and within that squad there is plenty of quality and experience.
Despite recent injury problems to Alex Gerrard, Ken Sio and Tim Lafai, the spine of Salford’s starting thirteen has remained constant. Half backs in any rugby league team are pivotal and in Brodie Croft and Marc Sneyd Salford has an exciting partnership that’s settled and works well together.
How will Salford approach this match? I saw Leeds play Huddersfield at Headingley a few weeks ago. The Giants dominated large parts of the match but to me seemed a little too conservative at times and it cost them in the end.
Of course you have to earn the right to play open and expansive rugby league by laying the platform first from your pack. I think the way to punish Leeds is to move the ball wide and chance your arm when the time comes. With Sam Stone and Shane Wright running the channels with the three quarter line Salford have the pace on the wings with Joe Burgess, Rhys Williams and if fit Ken Sio.
The Rhinos have plenty of threats of there own. Richie Myler is always a handful. He’s a really useful player and at times very underrated. Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer have the ability to unlock any defence. Ash Handley is a terrific finisher on the wing and Rhyse Martin is a real talisman for Leeds. James Bentley and Mikolaj Oledzki provide plenty of steel in what looks a sizeable pack of forwards.
The bookies have given Salford an eight point start and for Salford’s last two home games they got there forecast absolutely spot on! Let’s hope they are off the mark this Friday.
This promises to be a cracking match under the lights at Headingley where there is always a great atmosphere.
The action gets under way at 8pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the match.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos.