The last round of Super League matches before the break for the Challenge Cup semi-finals begins at the AJ Bell Stadium on Thursday evening when the Salford Red Devils go up against the Warrington Wolves in a competitive looking encounter.
Salford are languishing down the wrong end of the table and will be eyeing up an important win here. Warrington sit in fourth place in the Super League and have a big semi-final next week looming on the horizon.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Arena and the Sky Sports Mix channels. The programme begins at 7pm and the match itself kicks off at 7.45pm.
Salford Red Devils
This was always going to be a different and in many ways a tough season for the Salford Red Devils when you consider they lost their influential coach and some key players at the end of last term. They appointed Richard Marshall who is embarking on his first senior head coaching role at this level and I think it is fair to say initially they have found the going tough under him. There were signs in the one point loss to Wigan last week though that they are improving and now just need a win to further highlight that.
Although Salford lost key men last term, the likes of Morgan Escare coming in means that they shouldn’t be felt as much throughout the entirety of the campaign. Where Salford do look better is in defence. They have played the top two in the last two weeks and only conceded 17 and 28 with six of those 28 to St Helens coming after the hooter. While that hasn’t been enough to win because they are struggling in attack, it does offer up some hope at least.
You hoped that once the announcement was made that Warrington Wolves and Steve Price would be going their separate ways at the end of the season that the Wolves would offer up some consistency and we would see the best of them. That hasn’t yet been the case although a good win over Castleford Tigers last weekend does at least give them a platform to build from. When you look at this Wire side they have all the talent needed to dominate the division but there just seems to be something missing.
That can only be a mental thing because technically and physically they should be the envy of most in the competition but all too often they throw in poor performances or bad spells and it costs them dearly. If you look at their cup record under Price it can’t be that they have no bottle or can’t play under pressure so that is a mystery. One thing they have got is playmakers galore which should mean they put up plenty of points.
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Salford Red Devils have made three changes to their squad for this match with Connor Aspey and Sam Luckley joining Ollie Roberts in the 21-man squad. There is still no Kevin Brown so Dec Patton will continue to deputise against his former club.
Warrington Wolves will be without their marquee signing Greg Inglis after injury has ruled him out for a couple of months. They do get Sitaleki Akauola back from the suspension which forced him to miss the win over Castleford Tigers last week.
It is hard to go against the Warrington Wolves here. I’m rarely completely comfortable backing them but Salford Red Devils just aren’t scoring points. The argument is that they restricted Wigan to under 20 points last week but Wigan aren’t the most free flowing attack in the world anyway and I certainly don’t expect the Red Devils to contain this Wolves outfit who are scoring tries by the bucket load this season.
If there is an issue with Warrington it is that they cough up too many tries of their own. They literally handed Castleford a couple of scores last week when they dropped kick offs and then they occasionally do other daft things defensively but will Salford really take advantage? I’m not convinced they will. Even if they do this is a Salford side who have conceded 28 points to St Helens and Castleford, 35 to Hull FC and 42 to Catalans Dragons this season. I think Warrington will be too good for them over 80 minutes.
WON – Back Warrington Wolves (-8) to beat Salford Red Devils for a 3/10 stake at 2.00 with William Hill
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