Salford v Leeds.
I’ve heard a fair bit on social media just recently when a team has been beaten. Supporters crowing on about getting an apology or a refund. I understand defeats can be disappointing and sometimes dismal loses can be pretty soul destroying. I’ve got total respect for anybody who follows a sporting team home and away. It’s definitely not easy and takes a big part of your life up.
In my opinion highs and lows are all part of the journey. It builds your character and moulds you into the person you are. If you’ve watched Salford for a while you’ll be accustomed to the rollercoaster ride. The performance at Wakefield last Friday was dreadful. Yes their was mitigation in the circumstances with injuries and key players missing but that said Salford had enough out there to compete with Trinity. Let’s be honest though the Red Devils were never in the match. So as a supporter stood there on Friday night you get angry, sulk a bit on the way home, mull it over the next day then your looking forward to the next match because that’s when the team need you more than ever. Following Salford has never been easy. Over the past forty odd years success has been very limited .
With all that said the club is run on a very tight budget. Take this weeks opponents Leeds. The set up they have at Headingley is comparable to a Premiership football team. The trophies they’ve won over the past twenty years is phenomenal but Salford currently sit above the Rhinos so it just shows the club are making progress. It’s always alarming when you lose matches, particularly in the manner of last Friday’s defeat to Wakefield but with two home games coming against Leeds and Leigh the next fortnight could define the season.
Leeds have been a real enigma in 2023. They’ve lost in woeful performances to Castleford twice and Wakefield but won away to Wigan, St.Helens and Warrington. I’ve been impressed with there recent form I watched them trounce Huddersfield and last week I saw them dominate the Wolves. The Rhinos have a talented squad and like Salford they are capable of beating anyone. Last season they had a tremendous run in the second half of the season to make the Grand Final. Salford and Leeds were the form teams in the 2022 run in playing some great rugby.
Super League home record.
1997 Salford 20 Leeds 33
1998 Salford 6 Leeds 40
1999 Salford 30 Leeds 38
2000 Salford 26 Leeds 34
2001 Salford 14 Leeds 19
2002 Salford 16 Leeds 48
2004 Salford 0 Leeds 44
2005 Salford 12 Leeds 30
2006 Salford 18 Leeds 24
2006 Salford 18 Leeds 19
2007 Salford 26 Leeds 30
2009 Salford 24 Leeds 30
2010 Salford 22 Leeds 31
2011 Salford 22 Leeds 30
2012 Salford 16 Leeds 56
2013 Salford 16 Leeds 42
2014 Salford 18 Leeds 22
2015 Salford 18 Leeds 28
2016 Salford 14 Leeds 10
2017 Salford 24 Leeds 50
2018 Salford 38 Leeds 22
2019 Salford 14 Leeds 46
2019 Salford 28 Leeds 16
2020 Salford 8 Leeds 22
2021 Salford 12 Leeds 38
2022 Salford 26 Leeds 12
2022 Salford 23 Leeds 8
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 Dunemann, Ensene Famailo, Phil Ford, Ashley Gibson, Phil Hassan, Weller Hauraki, Ben Jones Bishop, Andy Kirk, Andy Gregory, Francis Maloney, Robert Lui, Richie Myler and David Young.
A match to remember Wednesday 12th May 1999.
Salford 30 Leeds 38.
There was always something special about a game under the lights at The Willows. The smell of winter green and hot dogs on arrival always builded the excitement and anticipation. This game back in 1999 came at a time of struggle for Salford. Andy Gregory had been replaced as coach by Australian John Harvey and results and performances were disappointing.
The Rhinos were 6-16 up at the break before opening up a 6-38 lead in the second half. Then came a thrilling Salford fight back with star stand off Steve Blakeley at the heart of all good things the Reds did.
South African winger Mark Johnson who was a real flyer crossed for two excellent tries for the home side. Add to that tries from Craig Makin, Steve Blakeley and Hudson Smith Salford astonishingly got the score back to 30-38.
Looking back if the match had gone on another ten minutes who knows what might have been.
The line ups that night;
Bobby Thompson, Scott Martin,Stuart Littler, Paul Carige, Mark Johnson, Steve Blakeley, Martin Crompton, Craig Makin, Malcolm Alker, Paul Southern, Hudson Smith, David Bradbury, Paul Highton.
Subs, Carl Briggs, Neil Baynes, Joe Faimalo, Ensene Faimalo.
St Hilaire, Livett, Golden, Godden, Cummins, Powell, Sheridan, McDermott, Newton, Ward, Morley, Farrell, Hay.
Subs, Harris, Sterling, Jones-Buchanan, Fleary
Referee, Steve Presley
Leeds will be without star halfback Blake Austin this Sunday. Austin has been instrumental in recent weeks for the Rhinos but he picked up a one match suspension from his last match away to Warrington. Salford coach Paul Rowley is hoping to welcome back some of his key players. Ryan Brierley, Brodie Croft, Andy Ackers and Sam Stone all missed last Friday’s dismal performance at Wakefield Trinity. One player who did return last week was forward Alex Gerrard. He scored Salford’s only try, Gerrard has been sidelined for a good while with a knee problem.
One player who’s impressed me for Leeds in recent weeks is back rower James McDonnell. The former Wigan player spent time on duel registration with Leigh last year and in 2023 is making great progress with the Rhinos. Richie Myler has continued to roll back the years and is always at the heart of the action. Rhyse Martin is another very talented player as well as being a very reliable goal kicker. Aidan Sezer seems to have found so good form and Leeds have plenty of aggression in their pack. The Rhinos have proved this season that they can be very unpredictable, losing and winning when you least expect it.
Salford are a team low on confidence at the moment and it’s very important they get of to a good start on Sunday. Paul Rowley’s side need to tighten up the defence after leaking points in the last three matches.
This promises to be a fascinating match and if the previous meeting in May is anything to go by then there will be plenty of needle
The bookies have Leeds as slight favourites, with Salford having a six point start on the betting coupon.
The action gets under way at 3pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the match.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos and the Salford match day programme!