Wakefield Trinity RLFC Vs Salford Red Devils
Next up is a meeting between two of last season’s dark horses in Wakefield and Salford up at Belle Vue.
The fanatical will to back up last season is at stake but both will be in different moods going by last week, making it all the more intriguing.
Jacob Miller Vs Robert Lui
First up at the main half-backs in Jacob Miller and Robert Lui.
Miller was superb at Hull KR last week with his devastating attack and will be their ‘go to’ man for this one.
But as will Lui as he and Salford seek some redemption following their comprehensive home defeat to Wigan.
Two very different types of players, Miller’s strength being his side-stepping whereas Lui, his ability to drop his shoulder and utilise his sheer brute force in what should be an entertaining match up.
Matty Ashurst Vs Weller Hauraki
A selection that may surprise some as Wakefield’s unsung hero Matty Ashurst is up against the high profile Weller Hauraki.
Ashurst has been a revelation at Trinity and last week was no different, going by his 43 tackles without a mis plus his 124 metres made.
Hauraki was unable to get Salford off the mark, but should prove a tricky opponent, especially as he has a point to prove following the disappointment.
An interesting battle as both are solid in defence and can provide plenty of support when in attack.
Bill Tupou Vs Junior Sa’u
Finally, a look at the three-quarters as Tongan Bill Tupou is up against Samoan Junior Sa’u.
Tupou was superb throughout 2017 and carried on his form last week with 150 metres made and even scoring a try for good measure.
Sa’u may have lost last week but following his monstrous defending demonstrates that he still has potential to upset the apple cart in Super League in 2018, starting here perhaps.
In interesting battle of pace and power and could all come down to the quality of support play, something any potent three-quarter requires.
Wakefield still looking impressive whereas Salford are still on their downward spiral, meaning this can only go one way; right?!
Trinity have confidence, home advantage and form all on their side. That and a more developed and experienced squad.
Jacob Miller and Liam Finn continued their excellent half-back partnership and alongside Scott Grix and Kyle Wood, remained highly potent in attack.
All of whom can link with talented backs in hat-trick hero Tom Johnstone, Bill Tupou, Mason Caton-Brown and Ben Jones-Bishop.
And let’s not forget the robust forwards in David Fifita, Pauli Pauli, Tinirau Arona, Danny Kirmond and Ashurst.
These players have adapted together brilliantly and in front of their home crowd, the out of sorts Salford have it all to do.
They have a lot of talent on paper still but last week, they flattered to deceive and there’s no reason why it should change here.
True, Lui and new signing Jack Littlejohn are talented but need time to develop as a half-back combination.
Gareth O’Brien and Logan Tomkins can come in to assist but it’s their forward pack that is the problem and whether they can cope following Murdoch-Masila’s exit.
Hauraki, Josh Jones, Craig Kopczak and George Griffin have talent but are still untested due to lack of leadership, which is a huge gamble.
This means that the three-quarters in Sa’u, Kris Welham, Niall Evalds and Jake Bibby will have to put in an extra graft going forward and in defence that may distract them from their initial game plan.
So weighing everything up, Wakefield hold all the cards and should make it back-to-back wins, simultaneously inflicting as many defeats on Salford.
The Red Devils may put up some resistance but there’s no denying Trinity, they look too strong in every department and will be buoyed by their home support to gain yet another win.