Super League Preview: Salford Red Devils

Transfers

In: Morgan Escare, Joe Burgess, Jack Wells (all Wigan), Harvey Livett, Declan Patton (both Warrington), Danny Addy (Leigh), Elijah Taylor (Wests Tigers), Sebastine Ikahihifo, Oliver Roberts (both Huddersfield), Sam Luckley, Darcy Lussick (both free agents).

Out: Niall Evalds (Castleford), Joey Lussick (Parramatta Eels), Luke Yates (Huddersfield Giants), Gil Dudson (Catalans), Kris Welham (Featherstone), Mark Flanagan (retired).

'An exciting time for Salford'

New head coach Richard Marshall believes it is ‘an exciting time for Salford’ after taking over at the Red Devils for the 2021 campaign.

After Ian Watson left to take charge at Huddersfield Giants, Salford turned to St. Helens assistant Marshall, who was appointed to his first head coach role in Super League.

And he has plenty of talent at his disposal, not least in the three-quarter line – with the ‘Special Ks’ of Ken Sio, Kallum Watkins, Krishna Inu, together with Joe Burgess and Rhys Williams, all vying for places.

Their headline signing is Elijah Taylor from Wests Tigers, but Salford’s veteran stand-off Kevin Brown told the BBC Radio 5 Live Rugby League podcast that it is another new recruit, Danny Addy, who has been looking particularly good in pre-season.

Morgan Escare is another new face which could promise a lot for the Red Devils. When he joined Wigan in 2017 he was at the top of his game, but only showed flashes of what he can do.

Marshall, who won acclaim for his work as coach of Halifax, has talked about making small adjustments to help bring another big season for Salford, who were denied by a drop goal in the Challenge Cup final against Leeds last year.

His side produced another impressive performance to clinch a 20-6 win in their pre-season clash with Wigan, but now it’s about starting the season with a real statement of intent.

“There’s been a lot of change at the club – coach, staff and players,” said Marshall ahead of their season opener against his former club St. Helens.

“But with change comes freshness, new ideas and reinvigorated players… it’s exciting, an exciting time for Salford.

“We want to improve on last year. This club has had some success over recent years in getting to finals, has been consistent in getting to finals and with that comes expectation… there’s a lot of potential here.”

And captain Lee Mossop can’t wait for the new season to get going.

“It’s good we’ve had this longer pre-season than we normally have,” said the 32-year old.

“He (Marshall) has the new ideas and philosophies and this extra time has helped a lot.

“I think this extra time has helped us gel together as a team and we’re just ready to get going now.”

Prediction

Salford will be looking to continue their recent success as the post Ian Watson era begins.

The Red Devils have lost a host of key names in the off-season including fullback Niall Evalds, who ended his eight year stay with the club as he switched Lancashire for Yorkshire with a move to the Castleford Tigers.

But despite their losses, Richard Marshall has concocted a 30 man squad that has a depth which Salford have lacked in recent years, though their biggest coup could well be Krisnan Inu's contract extension.

We have them finishing a comfortable eighth, though if they can get off to a fast start, a playoff spot isn't insurmountable.

VAVEL Predicts - 8th.

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