The Red Devils travel to the DW Stadium to face Wigan Warriors in their third Super 8s game tomorrow night.
Salford have had a slow start to the Super 8’s losing their opening two games but have entered the final stage of the season on the back of their highest Super League finish ever. Ian Watson’s side will be looking recapture their earlier form and are fully aware they’re still in with a real shot of making the top four as they sit just two points behind Wakefield in 4th and one point behind Saints in 5th with both teams still left to play.
Wigan have had a mixed start to their Super 8s campaign losing to Leeds on the opening weekend but they managed to return to winning ways this past weekend with a 18-4 victory over Huddersfield. It’s been a tough season for Shaun Wane’s men but they know if they can string together a handful of wins in the coming weeks it could turn out to be another fruitful season for the Warriors.
The Key Battle
Kriss Brining returned for the Red Devils in last Friday’s defeat to Castleford and both him and Logan Tomkins will be embroiled in a two-on-two key battle with Wigan hookers Michael McIlorum and Sam Powell.
Brining looked lively coming from the bench and added another attacking element to the Red Devils side while Tomkins has been brilliant all season for Salford despite being the lone hooker over the past few weeks.
Powell returned for the Warriors last weekend after being given a one-game suspension for a tackle on Red Devil Lama Tasi in last month’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final defeat. Shaun Wane said midweek he was equally impressed with Powell and McIlorum in their victory over Huddersfield so it will be interesting to see which of the pair begins the game and which is used as an impact interchange.
The meetings this season
The Warriors beat Salford on the opening weekend of the season at the The Salford Stadium racing into a 20-0 lead at half-time with tries from Joe Burgess, George Williams, Joel Tomkins and an Oliver Gildart brace. The Red Devils attempted to fight back with tries from Kriss Brining, Junior Sa’u and Michael Dobson but they left themselves with too much to do.
Salford returned the favour when they visited the DW Stadium in May opening a 28-point advantage with scores from Kris Welham, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Greg Johnson and a Niall Evalds double. A Gareth O’Brien drop-goal and penalty staved off a Warriors comeback after Liam Marshall, Ryan Sutton and Lewis Tierney had scored in quick succession.
Wigan prevented Salford’s first Wembley berth for 20 years last month as the Warriors beat Ian Watson’s side at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in the Challenge Cup semi-final. Despite tries from Greg Johnson and Tyrone McCarthy Wigan were victorious thanks to scores from Willie Isa, McIlorum and an Oliver Gildart double.
The Squads
Wigan: S. Tomkins, Gelling, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Leuluai, Nu’uausala, McIlorum, Farrell, O’Loughlin, Bateman, Clubb, Powell, Tautai, Sutton, Isa, Gregson, Wells, Marshall.
Salford: O’Brien, Jones, Sa’u, Evalds, Lui, Kopczak, Tomkins, Griffin, Hauraki, Lannon, Krasniqi, A. Walne, J. Walne, Brining, Johnson, Bibby, Carney, McCarthy, Vatuvei.