Salford Red Devils Preview

Salford Red Devils Preview

Everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s Betfred Super League fixture between Salford Red Devils and Wigan Warriors.

The Brief

Wigan Warriors face Salford Red Devils in the Betfred Super League on Sunday, 3pm kick-off.

Adrian Lam’s side travel to the AJ Bell Stadium off the back of a spirited performance against Warrington Wolves last week.

Salford have made a bright start to 2019, winning four of their opening seven league games and sit fourth in the table.

The AJ Bell Stadium.

Can Salford continue their impressive rise or will Wigan put an end to a run of four games without a win?

Team News

After 11 months out with a knee injury (ACL), Joe Burgess returns for selection.

Following a mouth injury sustained during the defeat to Huddersfield Giants two weeks ago, Dom Manfredi also returns.

Sam Powell continues his recovery from an ankle injury and is expected to be sidelined for a further two weeks. Liam Marshall remains on the road to full fitness too after picking up a knee injury.

Morgan Escare is unavailable for selection after pulling up in training earlier this week. Prop Taulima Tautai will serve the second of his three-match ban.

Here is Wigan’s 19-man squad:

The Opposition

After surviving relegation in 2018, Salford have made an excellent start to the new campaign.

Wins against Huddersfield Giants, London Broncos, Hull KR and Catalans Dragons have seen the Red Devils climb to fourth in the Betfred Super League table.

Ian Watson’s side are the second highest try scorers so far with 31 from seven games and are third in the most metres made (8,753) by each Super League team.

After playing for the club on two different stints (1995-97 & 2002), Ian Watson re-joined Salford in 2015 as Head Coach.

For Sunday’s game, Salford forward Adam Lawton could be in line to make his home debut.

Adam Walker retains his place in the Red Devils’ squad following a stand-out debut at Castleford Tigers last week, while Ed Chamberlain is looking for his first start of the season.

Here is Salford’s 19-man squad:

Who to Watch?

Niall Evalds

Niall Evalds is a 25-year-old full-back who made his Super League debut with Salford in 2013.

After loan spells at Oldham, Barrow Raiders and Halifax, Evalds has gone on to make 115 appearance for Salford, scoring an impressive 78 tries.

Whilst on the 2018 tour of Papua New Guinea with Wigan’s Tom Davies and Sam Powell, Evalds’ made his England Knights debut.

His quick feet and bursting pace is a threat to any Super League defence, as he always has an eye for the try line.

Rob Lui

Stand-off Rob Lui is an integral part of Salford’s defensive and attacking play.

His creativity with the ball and comfortability without it is key for the Red Devils and he will no doubt provide danger for Wigan on Sunday.

Lui started his career in the NRL with Wests Tigers in 2009 and three years later, the Australian joined North Queensland Cowboys.

In 2016, Lui moved to Super League and signed for Salford, where he has since made 95 appearances, scoring 29 tries.

Key Battles

Ken Sio vs Joe Burgess

New South Wales-born Ken Sio is a powerful winger who is difficult to stop for any Super League defence. His fast-paced and skilful game allows him to find the try line on many occasions, whilst also being a reliable and strong defensive back.

The Australian began his career in the NRL with Parramatta Eels, before moving to Super League to join Hull KR. After playing 48 games for Rovers, Sio went back Down Under to Newcastle Knights.

In 2019, Sio signed for Salford and he has already made an impressive impact, making seven appearances, scoring five tries and coverting 13 goals. Of the 166 points scored by the Red Devils so far this season, Sio has contributed to 46.

After suffering an ACL injury in April 2018, Joe Burgess is set to return this Sunday for Wigan.

The winger has had a frustrating year on the sidelines, but he is now back to full fitness and could be selected to face Salford.

The 24-year-old has an outstanding try scoring for Wigan, as he has crossed the whitewash 86 times in 92 games in his two stints at the club (2013-2015 & 2017-2019).

Burgess’ athleticism and physique allows him to beat defenders from afar and in the air.

Which winger will dive over the line to take their team to victory?

Jackson Hastings vs Jarrod Sammut

Jackson Hastings is no doubt Salford’s go-to player. His leadership, awareness and intelligence on the field accumulated to the Red Devils’ survival of relegation last year and their credited start to 2019.

The 23-year-old Australian half-back previously played for Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles, before joining the Super League and Salford in 2018.

A clear fan favourite with the Red Devils fans, Hastings has played in all eight games so far this season and has scored three tries.

After signing for Wigan at the end of 2018, Jarrod Sammut has featured three times so far.

With always an eye for something out of the ordinary, the Maltese international could be the difference to separate the sides on Sunday.

His kicking game and slick passing is capable of opening up any Super League defence.

Who will be the creator and take the game in their own hands?

Mark Flanagan vs Sean O’Loughlin

Ex-Warrior Mark Flanagan goes up against his former club on Sunday. The loose forward played for Wigan in 2009, as he made ten appearances and scored one try.

After his short stint with the Cherry and Whites, Flanagan joined West Tigers in the NRL, before moving back to Super league to sign for St Helens in 2012.

The 31-year-old went to Salford in 2016 and has since featured 76 times. Flanagan’s experienced head and tough tackling will be crucial for the Red Devils.

Sean O’Loughlin has played in all seven of Wigan’s league games so far this campaign.

Renowned for being one of the most consistent and inspirational players of the Super League era and captain of both club and country, O’Loughlin provides Wigan with all the experience.

His authority and presence on the pitch, as well as his ability to open up the opposition will be vital on Sunday against an organised Salford side.

Who will lead their team to two points?

Did You Know?

Wigan’s Oliver Gildart and Jake Shorrocks have had loan spells with Salford.

Gildart made his Super League debut in 2015 whilst with Salford. The centre went on to make three appearances for the Red Devils and he scored one try.

Half-back Shorrocks spent 2018 on loan with Salford, where he made 11 appearances overall.

If selected, Joe Burgess and Dom Manfredi will play compeitviely alongside each other for the first time since the 2015 Grand Final defeat to Leeds Rhinos.

Burgess and Manfredi made their debuts in August 2013 and if they feature on Sunday, it will be the 22nd time they have played together. Both wingers have been on the scoresheet in the same game on ten occasions, including the 2015 Grand Final.

Super League sponsor Betfred have put 3/1 on for Burgess and Manfredi to both score in Sunday’s game. Bet this now by clicking HERE!

Salford have five ex-Warriors within their First Team squad.

Logan Tomkins, Greg Burke, Lee Mossop, Gil Dudson and Mark Flanagan have all previously played for Wigan.

Tomkins, Mossop and Dudson were all part of the 2013 Challenge Cup winning squad against Hull FC.

Previous Meetings

In the past ten meetings between the two sides, Wigan have won eight, including the 14-27 victory in the 2017 Challenge Cup Final at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

In the last game at the AJ Bell Stadium, the Warriors ran out 12-40 winners in Round 1 of the 2018 Betfred Super League.

Salford and Wigan have met 44 times overall in the Super League. The most previous clash came in Round 14 in May last year, as the Warriors defeated the Red Devils 30-0.

Since 2015, the Cherry and Whites have won three of their four trips to Salford.

Super League Form Guide

Wigan have had a difficult start to 2019, losing five of their opening six Betfred Super League games. The Warriors have been defeated in their last four league games.

Salford have had a contrasting opening to the year, winning four of their seven league games so far. The most eye catching being a 0-46 victory away to Catalans Dragons two weeks ago.

Coach Quotes

Ahead of Sunday’s game, Lam said: “There are a couple of boys coming back into consideration. Joe Burgess is certainly one and Dom Manfredi being the other. Benny Flower may be too.

“We feel we have taken a step forward with our on-field attitude and the way that we’ve been training so I look forward to it.

“Salford had a fantastic win a few weeks ago against Catalans Dragons and they have been playing really well.

“We played them in pre-season, and it was pretty close in that match, so we know what’s ahead of us. It’s one of those weeks when we are focusing on ourselves to try and get back on track and get a win for the club.”

Match Officials

Sunday’s referee is Chris Kendall. His touch judges are Clint Sharrad and James Child.

Chris Kendall.

How to Follow

You can follow every piece of the action on our social media channels and website.

Wigan TV

Highlights will be on Wigan TV within two hours after the game and extended highlights 24 hours later. There will also be post-match interviews available, giving Warriors fans comprehensive coverage that you’ll not find anywhere else. Sign up to today by clicking HERE.

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