Opposition Overview: Salford Red Devils
Picture by Jack Wray/Super League Europe/via SWpix.com - 06/03/2021 - Super League Season 2021 Pre Season Location Video Shoot and Stills Photography Portraits. Salford Red Devils - Elijah Taylor
Leeds Rhinos return to a full capacity Emerald Headingley this Friday night to take on Salford Red Devils in round 15 of the Betfred Super League, kick off 7:45pm.
Friday’s game will be the first time since March 2020 that Emerald Headingley has hosted a full crowd so make sure you don’t miss out by buying your tickets here. Here is more information about our opponents Salford:
2021 so far...
Back to back wins in recent weeks have seen Richard Marshall’s Salford Red Devils rise out from the bottom of the Super League table to sit only four points behind the Rhinos. Coming into June with only one first win in three months put the Red Devils just above Leigh Centurions but recent form has seen them overtake Wakefield and Huddersfield in the table.
Marshall had thirteen new players to embed into his plans after club signed players in quantity in the off season, and so far Elijah Taylor has been outstanding. Joining from Wests Tigers to replace Mark Flanagan, the New Zealand international has led the line defensively, making the twentieth highest number of tackles in the league (359), having led the rankings at the start of the year. Taylor was joined by Sebastine Ikahihifo, who impressed on loan from Huddersfield last season, and Warrington youngster Harvey Livett as they added weight to a pack that already includes veterans Lee Mossop and Pauli Pauli.
Although they made a tough start to the season, the Red Devils have started to pick up results to climb the Super League table. Prior to facing the Rhinos at the end of June, Salford had claimed their second win of the season thanks to an Andy Ackers drop goal against Huddersfield, but following a heavy defeat to the Rhinos, the Red Devils won their next two matches. A thorough performance at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle saw Salford defeat a young Castleford 70-18 (ten different Salford players scoring tries) before they backed up that up last Friday against Wakefield Trinity, coming back from 12-0 down to win 24-14 thanks to tries from Morgan Escare, Krisnan Inu (two) and Ken Sio.
Last Four Fixtures
Salford’s newest addition Ata Hingano could make his debut for the club on Friday night after arriving in the country last week.
The former New Zealand Warrior and Canberra Raider has been playing his rugby with Mackay Cutters in the Intrust Super Cup but joins the Red Devils until the end of the season, with a two-year-deal set to be offered at the end of the season. The move sees the half back connect back up with fellow Tongan international Tui Lolohea, who was also at the Warriors with Hingano. The 24-year-old Hingano was a member of Kristian Woolf’s Tongan side that reached the World Cup semi finals in 2017 and scored one try and kicked seven goals during the tournament.
After missing the last two matches with a ban, Salford Red Devils captain Lee Mossop will be available for Marshall on Friday night. Mossop, who is originally from Whitehaven, first started his career with Wigan Warriors, helping the Warriors to Grand Final success in 2010, a Challenge Cup title in 2011 (against Leeds) and then helped Shaun Wane complete the double in 2013, starting both the Super League and Cup finals.
In 2014, like a number of his Wigan team mates, Mossop made the move to Australia and signed with Parramatta Eels. He only played three games though as injury ruled him out for most of that season, and a year later he returned to the DW Stadium. He featured in the 2015 Grand Final defeat to Leeds but was on hand a year later to claim his third Grand Final ring against Warrington.
In 2017, he moved to Salford and, under Ian Watson, was pivotal in helping the Red Devils reach the Grand Final for the first time in 2019. He featured in 22 matches out of 35 games, including all three Play Off matches against his former club Wigan (twice) and Castleford before they met St Helens in the Final. A year later, he helped guide Salford to their second major final of the summer era as Watson’s men reached the Challenge Cup Final (eventually losing out to a Luke Gale drop goal).
Overall, five players in both Leeds and Salford’s squads have played for both clubs. Three members of the Salford squad have previously worn blue and amber, including Kallum Watkins, who captained Leeds from 2018 to 2019, when he announced his departure to Gold Coast Titans. Watkins won’t face his former club this Sunday though as he is currently sidelined with an ACL injury.
Tui Lolohea and Jack Ormondroyd also played for Leeds in recent years. Lolohea was the Rhinos’ first signing ahead of the 2019 campaign but made a swap midseason with Robert Lui and helped guide Salford to their first Grand Final, alongside Jackson Hastings. Ormondroyd only made a handful of appearances for Brian McDermott between 2017 and 2018, including coming off the bench in the 2018 World Club Challenge defeat to Melbourne Storm.
Two players in the Rhinos camp have also spent time at the AJ Bell. Richie Myler was pivotal in helping earn the Red Devils promotion back to Super League in 2009. He scored 38 tries during his two year spell with the club before he signed for Warrington in 2010. Following a spell in Catalans too, Myler signed for Leeds in 2018 and last season he was a pivotal figure when the Rhinos clashed with Salford in the Challenge Cup Final, winning the Lance Todd Man of the Match award.
Rob Lui also played four seasons as a Red Devil between 2016 and 2019, making over 100 appearances. He was part of a swap deal midway through the 2019 season that saw Lui move to Leeds and Tui Lolohea move in the opposite direction.
Last Game vs Leeds at Emerald Headingley
Hat tricks from Ash Handley and Richie Myler helped Leeds secure a 50-12 win over Salford Red Devils at Halliwell Jones Stadium behind closed doors in 2020. Prior to the two clubs meeting in the Challenge Cup Final later in the season, a thorough performance from Richard Agar’s side get back to winning ways.
Leeds Rhinos have put tickets on sale for the first game with no capacity restriction for Friday’s game.
The Rhinos have not been able to use their full capacity since they defeated Toronto Wolfpack on 3rd March 2020 with games behind closed doors until May this year and the last three home games restricted to just 4,000 members.
With a capacity of nearly 20,000 available for the visit of Salford, Leeds are hoping the Rhinos family will come out in force to celebrate and watch Rugby League together again.
Buy tickets by clicking here.