Wigan v Salford.
Both sides go into this game in good form. Salford have conceded just one try in two matches after keeping Wakefield scoreless last Friday. Wigan went to Perpignan a day later and beat Catalans 0-34. I don’t think anyone saw that score coming but it was certainly a remarkable Wigan performance that leaves the Warriors just two points behind the top of the table Dragons.
With four matches left Wigan will be pulling out all the stops to snatch the League Leaders Shield.
Salford are clinging on to the top six. The Rugby Football League have got the table mixed up after the weekends matches and there has been some confusion on Salford’s points total compared to Hull Kingston Rovers. It does seem a bit of a farce that simple things like this in a sport are incorrect.
After two wins on the spin Salford will now have to step up and a much bigger test awaits on Friday night. Wigan are tough to beat on their own ground and don’t lose many at home.
At the moment 5th and 6th place are being contested by three clubs, Warrington, Salford and Hull Kingston Rovers. The Red Devils will meet both these clubs in the next fixtures in September. Also Huddersfield, Leeds and Hull are all just four points behind waiting for any slip ups. So much could happen in the next four matches. If Salford could win the last four games they could even catch Leigh and finish fourth. It’s all very exciting and there is much to play for.
Wigan seem to be hitting form at the right time and to go away to Catalans and thump them 0-34 was a real statement. The Dragons are fancied by many to reach the Grand Final and so far in 2023 they have been the most consistent team. That win for the Warriors on Saturday made it five wins on the trot. In that run they’ve racked up some big scores. Wigan’s last defeat in the League was a real surprise one when they lost at Wakefield 27-26 at the start of July. I think that result highlights just how you need to be switched on every week in Super League. If your not on your game either physically or mentally you can get turned over!
Super League away record.
1997 Wigan 14 Salford 21
1998 Wigan 34 Salford 6
1999 Wigan 64 Salford 2
2000 Wigan 52 Salford 20
2001 Wigan 70 Salford 4
2002 Wigan 32 Salford 0
2004 Wigan 20 Salford 10
2005 Wigan 40 Salford 12
2006 Wigan 20 Salford 12
2007 Wigan 40 Salford 16
2009 Wigan 34 Salford 18
2010 Wigan 60 Salford 10
2011 Wigan 52 Salford 18
2012 Wigan 38 Salford 6
2013 Wigan 46 Salford 6
2014 Wigan 45 Salford 4
2015 Wigan 19 Salford 12
2016 Wigan 20 Salford 16
2017 Wigan 16 Salford 31
2017 Wigan 42 Salford 0 ( Super eights)
2018 Wigan 30 Salford 0
2019 Wigan 28 Salford 12
2019 Wigan 18 Salford 12 (Top Five Playoffs)
2019 Wigan 4 Salford 28 (playoff semi final)
2020 Wigan 58 Salford 12 ( behind closed doors, St.helens)
2021 Wigan 16 Salford 6
2022 Wigan 30 Salford 24
2023 Wigan 20 Salford 16
They played for both.
Over the years there have been plenty of players who’ve been at both clubs at some point in their career. Here are a few of them,
Bob Burdell, Colin Clarke, Mal Aspey, Neil Baynes, Wayne Reid, Steve Blakeley, Gavin Clinch, Andy Coley, Michael Dobson, Mark Flanagan, Martin Gleeson, Sean Gleeson, Wayne Godwin, Bobbie Goulding, Andy Gregory, Steve Hampson, Ged Byrne, Paul O Neil, Harrison Hansen, Gareth Hock, Nathan Mcavoy, Lee Mossop, Jack Murphy, David Myers, Martin Offiah, Sam Panapa, John Pendlebury, Luke Robinson, Tim Smith, David Stephenson, Trevor Stockey, Ged Stazicker, Scott Taylor, Logan Tomkins, Colin Whitfield, Peter Smethurst, Stephen Wild, Phil Ford, Jackson Hastings, Greg Burke, Morgan Escare, Jake Bibby and Gil Dudson.
SUNDAY 17TH AUGUST 1997 A MATCH TO REMEMBER.
Wigan 14 Salford 21
Salford completed a rare league double over Wigan in 1997. After an excellent 14-4 victory at The Willows earlier that season Salford came up with an outstanding display of open attacking rugby in the sunshine at Central Park. Salford had not won this fixture since
Salford’s form coming into this match had been a little patchy. After a great start to the season in 1997 and a terrific run in the Challenge Cup the wheels came off at Wheldon road against Castleford when the Tigers ended a dreadful start to the season beating Salford 12-10.
Wigan were having a very unpredictable season under coach Eric Hughes and in this match Salford played a really attractive brand of rugby. They kept the ball alive and defended desperately when called upon. It was a huge boost to have Australian second rower John Cartwright back. He’d missed a large chunk of the season with a broken arm. Cartwright was a leader on the pitch and his charging runs got Salford over the advantage line.
Tries from full back Gary Broadbent, hooker Peter Edwards and classy stand off Steve Blakeley grabbed Salford their tenth league win of 1997. Drop goal specialist Mark Lee slotted over another one pointer to make the game safe.
The team line ups that day were ;
Wigan: Jason Robinson, Daryl Cardiss, Gary Connolly, Kris Radlinski, Andy Johnson; Henry Paul, Craig Murdock; Terry O’Connor, Jon Clarke, Neil Cowie, Simon Haughton, Mick Cassidy, Andy Farrell. Interchange Stephen Holgate, Gale Tallec, Paul Johnson, Lee Hansen.
Salford: Gary Broadbent; Fata Sini, Scott Naylor, Nathan McAvoy, Darren Rogers; Steve Blakeley, Mark Lee; Paul Southern, Peter Edwards, Cliff Eccles, John Cartwright, Esene Faimalo, Craig Randall. Interchange Lokeni Savelio, David Bradbury, Scott Martin, Ian Watson.
Referee, Stuart Cummings.
When these two sides met in this fixture back in March Salford were unlucky to lose. The Red Devils had an eight point lead heading towards the final stages but late tries from Bevan French and Toby King rescued the match for Wigan and they won it 20-16. The season before Wigan snatched it in the final seconds. Level at 24-24 Morgan Escare attempted a drop goal which Jai Field took advantage of to score a brilliant individual try. Their is no doubt this Wigan team has plenty of pace and quality. Field and French are both class players. Add to that a very quick back line and a decent pack of forwards. The pack has been bolstered recently with Wigan signing Tyler Dupree from Salford. One player who doesn’t normally get the headlines at Wigan is Abbas Miski. He scored a hat trick at Catalans and a few weeks ago bagged four tries in a home demolition of Hull Kingston Rovers. Miski has now scored ten tries in his last four matches. The Lebanese international had a terrific try scoring ratio at London Broncos in 2021 and this ratio is even better at Wigan averaging a try a game which is remarkable in modern day rugby league.
Salford have had there confidence boosted with two victories on the bounce. New signing Brad Singleton is proving a huge success and is already a big favourite with the supporters. Singleton will be looking to make a mark against his old club this Friday and his forward battle with Dupree could be an interesting one.
Sam Stone has been in excellent form for the Red Devils and he seems to have really improved as the season has progressed. I thought Jack Ormondroyd had his best game for a while last Friday. He was running to burst and put some big tackles in against Wakefield.
The Tim Lafai and Joe Burgess partnership has looked really exciting recently and Lafai could be the key to unlocking the Warriors defence. With Marc Sneyd and Brodie Croft in the halves linking up with fullback Ryan Brierley Salford have got the tools to cause Wigan problems. At times the attack didn’t quite run smoothly last Friday. The ball was dropped and the timing of passes was slightly off. If Salford are to prevail against the Warriors those things need to be fixed up and running like clockwork.
The action gets under way at 8pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the match.
An Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos and the Salford match day programme.