Who would have thought that Salford would be such a critical game for the Wire? Well 2 Super League rounds and Wire are the bottom of the league. This game is key for their season, and they need to get a domestic win sooner rather than later to kick-start their season.
The Key Battles
Dobson vs Brown
The battle of the halves. With both having many years of playing in Super League, it will be interesting to see how this one goes. With Dobson, the general in Salford’s back line, he will be looking to put Lineham, Gidley and Russell under pressure with the final tackle kicking, as well as finding the gaps to put Salford through. Whilst the unpredictable Brown, has the ability to make a play from anywhere on the pitch. Whether this is on 3rd going for the 40/20’s or the dummy half running to sneak in. Salford have to watch Brown in particular as when he is on fire, Wire will be too!
O’Brien vs Gidley
The full back is always key to start a set strong for one team or another. With O’Brien, they have a guy in his prime at such an early game. Since Wire let Gaz O’Brian leave, he has flourished at Salford, and I don’t think anyone will disagree. This was shown in the MPG last season, with the exceptional drop goal that saved his team from the drop. However, Kurt Gidley, is still going strong, and is the presence on the pitch that makes the cogs run for the Wire. This was shown last week, and although Jack Johnson played well, Gidley was missed. He is the general that wire have needed since Lee Briers retired. This sure will be a key battle to watch, youth vs experience.
Flanagan vs Westerman
The two Englishman, both pushing for a seat on the plane to Aus for the world cup, and both have not disappointed so far. Flanagan, with his experience from St’s joined up with Salford last season, and they were at their strongest when he was playing. He has done that again this season. I’ve chosen Joe Westerman as he has been one of the powerhouses this season. Always making the performances, and constantly making the yards. He had devolved into one of the most praised locks in Super League, and played one of the crucial parts in the Brisbane game. This should be an interesting match up, and I’m sure everyone will keep an eye on this at the weekend.
Adam Walne, Craig Kopczak, Gareth O’Brien, George Griffin, Greg Johnson, Jake Bibby, Josh Jones, Josh Wood, Junior Sa’u, Kris Welham, Kriss Brining, Lama Tasi, Lee Mossop, Logan Tomkins, Mark Flanagan, Michael Dobson, Olsi Krasniqi, Robert Lui, Ryan Lannon.
Ryan Atkins, Matty Blythe, Kevin Brown, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Dom Crosby, Brad Dwyer, Rhys Evans, Kurt Gidley, Jack Hughes, Jack Johnson, Tom Lineham, Harvey Livett, Declan Patton, Matty Russell, Andre Savelio, Ashton Sims, Joe Westerman, Ben Westwood
Wire by 10. I just think with Gidley in the side, the Wire are in another level. However, due to this being early on in the year, and Salford not wanting to be in the Middle 8s again, I can definitely see this one being closer than that. I just depends on which Warrington Turn up!
Salford – O’Brien
Wire – Westerman
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Salford Red Devils Vs Warrington Wolves Saturday 4th March 2017, 3PM A.J Bell Stadium.