Salford Fan – Louis Hawke
For the second time this season, Salford finished a game without scoring a single try as the Rhinos were rampant in their 20-0 victory over the Red Devils at the Emerald Headingley Stadium on Monday.
The congested fixture list doesn’t get easier as Salford host Warrington Wolves in front of the Sky camera’s this weekend. The Devils won their home fixture against the Wolves last year 24 – 14 and they also took the points away from home in the reverse fixture 12-38. The Devils will be hoping to make it three wins in a row against Warrington but going off current form, Warrington are clear favourites.
This fixture has been made even more of an up hill battle after the news surfaced that Niall Evalds failed his head test and will miss Saturday’s game. That puts a huge strain on Salford coach Ian Watson who is left without a full back after they sold their drop-goal hero Gareth O’Brien to Toronto. Also Warrington are without former Devil Ben Murdoch-Masilla who is set for a spell on the sidelines after a knee injury over the Easter weekend.
This is a major task for Salford to come away with the 2 points against an inform Wolves. The halfback partnership could change again for the Devils with Lui possibly moving to fullback which takes away the threat from the halves. Looks less and less likely for a Devils win, unfortunately.
Score prediction: Salford Red Devils 10-34 Warrington Wolves.
Warrington Fan: Peter Thomas
What a difference a few games can make. For the Wire, they’ve been on a run that has come as a result of hard work, new signings and plans finally pay off – at least it seems that way. Whatever the reasons, they’re on a roll with 4 wins in a row starting in Catalan, and finishing against Castleford, taking in Wakefield and Widnes along the way.
What might have been hard to contemplate after the Saints loss, was that within 3 weeks Wire would sit 3rd in the league. Yes okay, so they’ve played more games than anyone else, and it might not stay that way, but my belief is that points in the bag are better than games in hand. We’ll see how that pans out…
Castleford on Easter Monday was an adventure. Travelling over the top and seeing “proper” snow on the Moors was one thing, seeing the worst pitch I’ve encountered in professional sport was another. Pooled water and very bad conditions, but it was the same for both sides. Both the Wire and the Tigers like expansive rugby, but that was impossible. Warrington handled the mud better, and came away with two hard-earned points. The game was actually entertaining, though perhaps less so than Charnley’s impromptu water slide at the end. Joyous!
He’s fitted in rather well scoring two tries on his debut and contributing well against the Tigers. A great signing is turning into a great asset. Wire didn’t miss Goodwin’s kicking either as Ratchford converted his chances but for me Clark again shone brightest. Against his former team he was getting close to his old Tiger’s form – and that’s exciting.
To Saturday then and Wire head to Salford. To say they are struggling is more than fair. They currently sit 9th, having won 3 from 9. They’ve lost personnel, including their Million Pound Game hero Gareth O’Brien, they’ve lost their owner and at times this season they’ve lost their way.
All that being said, they won one of two over Easter and last season they beat the Wire and thoroughly deserved it. Any slip in form, or lack of attention to detail could cost Warrington their current momentum. This game and the following week’s at home to Hull KR should on paper make it 6 in a row, and then it’s Bradford in the Cup…lucky seven anyone? But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
Whilst this period isn’t season-defining, a good run will hopefully ensure that Warrington are established in the top half of the table for the rest of the season. Any errors though and with games in hand, there are many teams looking to leapfrog the Wire.
For me, Warrington are strong favourites, especially after recent performances by both sides. If the Wire execute as well as they did over Easter, they should take the points and the win. Salford though will be looking to turn their own season around and make a statement of intent. It’ll be tough but I’ve got the Wire by 12 or more.
Score prediction: Salford 10-22 Warrington