Stats Pack: Salford Red Devils
SL.Rd6. Salford v Rhinos. Fri18thMar2022. © MATTHEW MERRICK PHOTOGRAPHY
Leeds and Salford meet for the second time this season at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday afternoon, kick off 3pm. Tickets are still available at tickets.therhinos.co.uk or by calling the ticket office on 0371 423 1315.
Before the teams run out, here are some of the key stats, figures and facts about both Rohan Smith and Paul Rowley’s sides.
*Stats courtesy of OPTA
Throughout the Super League era, the Rhinos have the most wins over the Red Devils since they came into the division in 1997. Leeds have 45 wins, 22 of which have come at the AJ Bell Stadium. That includes a run of 18 games between 1997 and 2015 (excluding 2003 and 2008 when the Red Devils were relegated) when the men in blue and amber won every meeting on the road against Salford.
This season, Salford have one win over Leeds already after coming back to claim a 26-12 result at the AJ Bell in March. It was the last game that the Red Devils have won in the league this season though, as they have lost their last five outings against St Helens, Wigan, Catalans, Warrington and Wakefield. Leeds, on the other hand, capped off Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s interim period as head coach with back to back home wins over Toulouse and Hull KR. The results have lifted the Rhinos from eleventh in ninth, one point and place ahead of Salford.
Leeds’ slow scoring start to the season still sees them sit as Super League’s lowest scorers with 161 points. The Red Devils that have been slipping in defence recently and only Toulouse have conceded more points than Paul Rowley’s team, plus Wakefield and Olympique
In terms of completion, possession and territory percentages, Leeds dominate on all counts. Only Huddersfield have a better set completion percentage than the Rhinos, plus they also average 50% possession. Salford on the other hand have the least possession in games this season and also the worst territory covered percentage.
As noted in previous stats articles, Leeds’ ability to make metres is one of the best in the league. The Rhinos currently sit third out of the twelve Super League teams in that metric this season, plus they also rank highly in post contact metres (Huddersfield and St Helens sit in the top two). The Red Devils sit eleventh or twelfth.
Salford’s Top Performers
13 tries (2nd in SL)
9 try assists (8th in SL)
401 tackles (4th in SL)
32 tackle busts (16th in SL)
38 attacking kicks (5th in SL)
Head to head
Half backs Brodie Croft and Blake Austin have now settled into their respected clubs and will be two players that will be crucial for their teams on Sunday.
Croft came through the Melbourne Storm system, plus he also had a spell with Brisbane Broncos too, and was one of a handful of high profile signings that made their way from the NRL to Salford.
So far in 2022, he is one of the Red Devils’ main strike threats. Along with fellow recruits Ryan Brierley and Marc Sneyd, the trio are Salford’s leading try assisters, plus Croft’s running ability has seen him make five line breaks and assist seven more. He also averages the second most carries in the Salford team (12.7 per game) and is also in the Red Devils’ top three metre makers behind Ken Sio and King Vuniyayawa.
Austin has missed two games for the Rhinos this season but was in good form on his return to action against Hull KR a fortnight ago.
Two tries in his first two games for the club saw the half back get off to a good start before last week, he posted some of his best numbers of the season in a 12-0 win over the Robins. Like Croft, Austin also ranks highly in line engaged runs, but it is his kicking game where the half back has excelled. He leads the club in kicks made this season, tenth in Super League too, and has averaged 253 metres from kicks this year.
Stats Standout from Round 11: Salford Red Devils
With Salford down on numbers across the outside backs, the opportunity was seized by Matty Costello in the Red Devils’ close clash with St Helens.
The absence of Tim Lafai and Kallum Watkins’ move to second row saw the former Saints player start his third consecutive game of the season against his former club, plus he added an important try that levelled the score at 10-10 on the hour mark.
The outside back also led the field in carries, with no player able to match his 20 runs over the eighty minutes, plus 78 of his 166 total metres came post contact, proving he was a difficult player to stop for the likes of Ben Davies and Sam Royle. His number of tackles dropped from 17 against Wigan in round ten to just 12 against Saints, but he was at fault for the Davies try in the first half.
Stats Standout from Round 11: Leeds Rhinos
Rhyse Martin was also a stand out as he rotated into centre in the absence of Tom Briscoe. Partnering with young winger Liam Tindall, the duo made over 100 metres each in the game, with Martin in particular making the highest number of metres out of any Leeds player in the game, as well as his highest number of metres in a match this season.
Only Jack Broadbent (27 carries) made more runs than the Papua New Guinean (21 carries), plus he also extended his goal kicking record to 24 goals (joint fourth most in Super League). He also added two offloads, one tackle break and 17 support plays across the eighty minutes in one of his best performances this season.
Place2Be North Stand
(Standing behind posts)
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