Marshall faces his biggest test

Salford Red Devils coach Richard Marshall is happy to have some tough thinking to do ahead of his side’s Super League opener against reigning champions St Helens on Friday.

It’s Marshall’s first competitive match at the helm since his move from Saints, where he was assistant to Kristian Woolf.

Marshall has a tough act to follow in Ian Watson, now at Huddersfield, and is eager to put down an early marker.

The Red Devils got one over on Wigan in their sole warm-up game, and the former Halifax coach welcomed the posers the performance provided.

“We’re not quite sure of the side yet, but what we do know is that we’ve got players who can play in multiple positions, which provides a great dilemma for a coach,” he said.

“We looked at players in different positions (against Wigan). We don’t want to pigeonhole them.

“We want players who are multi-faceted – can offload, can step off both feet, can pass both ways, and can tackle off both shoulders.

“Playing different positions to normal is how we’ve trained. Sometimes the players think you’re bonkers moving people around.

“But in my experience, if you’re trying to develop a team, you have to understand and have empathy for what other players in other positions have to do.”

Marshall liked what he saw from teenager Connor Aspey, who made his debut from the bench in October’s clash with Hull KR.

The hooker or halfback, who turns 19 next month, has agreed a one-year deal, and Marshall added: “He’s obviously been in and around the first team the last twelve months.

“We saw him develop over pre-season. He’s been really good with his skills, his attitude and his enthusiasm. That’s exactly what a young player like him brings to the party.

“He didn’t take a backwards step (against Wigan). He did not look out of place in that team and that’s interesting, it gives us another option to look at.”

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