The Salford Red Devils return to league action this weekend as they open their Super 8s campaign against Challenge Cup finalists Hull FC at the KCOM Stadium on Friday night.
Ian Watson’s side suffered a heart-breaking 27-14 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final defeat last weekend and will be looking to get back to winning ways against Hull.
The Red Devils managed to earn their highest ever Super League finish a fortnight ago despite losing to Leigh and will now be looking to try and book a place at Old Trafford for the Super League Grand Final in October.
As for Hull, it’s been a fantastic week for the Black and Whites who successfully earned their Wembley berth with a dominant 43-24 victory over Leeds Rhinos at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster.
The comfortable victory over Leeds marked a turnaround for Hull who had lost three of their last four games heading into the semi-final; losing to Castleford, St Helens and Leeds before narrowly beating Huddersfield.
The key battle
There is no doubting the key battle on Friday night will take place between Red Devils half-back Robert Lui and FC’s Albert Kelly.
Lui missed last weekend’s semi-final for the Red Devils but has been in terrific form this season offering a creative spark when Salford have needed it most. In similar fashion, Kelly has shone since his arrival from rivals Hull KR crossing for an impressive 17 league tries – the third most this season.
Both players running games complement their fellow half-backs organising skills. However, with both Michael Dobson and Marc Sneyd both being omitted from their respective squads it will be interesting to see how Lui and Kelly adapt.
The meetings this season
Ian Watson’s men put in one of the performances of the season when they visited the KCOM Stadium earlier in the season as they strolled to a 18-54 victory against Lee Radford’s side.
Both Greg Johnson and Craig Kopczak grabbed doubles while Robert Lui, Junior Sa’u, Justin Carney, Michael Dobson, George Griffin and Ben Murdoch-Masila were all also on the scoresheet as Salford secured their biggest-ever win over Hull FC.
However, FC did return the favour in the most recent meeting between the sides inflicting consecutive defeats on the Red Devils for the first time this season with a 10-34 win at the The Salford Stadium.
Hull raced into a 0-22 lead before the interval and despite tries from Niall Evalds and Weller Hauraki the Red Devils left themselves with too much to do.