Salford Red Devils’ high hopes for new forward duo

SALFORD RED DEVILS supremo Ian Blease believes backrow duo Sam Stone and Ben Hellewell will progress even further under the guidance of coach Paul Rowley and his right-hand man Kurt Haggerty.

Australian Stone, 25, has moved from Leigh on a two-year deal.

And ex-Leigh player Hellewell, 30, who had a loan stint at Salford this year, has penned twelve-month terms to switch from Featherstone, who have signed the Red Devils’ former New Zealand international forward Elijah Taylor.     

Stone has caught the eye over a year and a half at Leigh, with whom he won both promotion from the Championship and the 1985 Cup this year.

The Malta international played for Newcastle Knights and Gold Coast Titans, making a combined total of 39 NRL appearances, before joining Leigh in August 2021 as they fought an unsuccessful battle to stay in Super League under interim team chief Haggerty with a side which also included Hellewell.

While Haggerty departed for Salford and Hellewell for a second spell at Featherstone in the wake of relegation, Stone remained, and having played five times in the top flight, played in all but one of Leigh’s 34 games in all competitions this year, notching twelve tries.

The Leigh side also included Krisnan Inu, who recently joined Rowley and Haggerty on the coaching staff at the Red Devils, who made this year’s play-off semi-finals, and prop Adam Sidlow, who like Stone, has signed a two-year contract with Salford.

Yorkshireman Hellewell started his career at Warrington, and has also played for London Broncos.  

Salford director of rugby and operations Blease said: “Sam is a player we know will fit into an already highly-skilled group seamlessly.

“Under the coaching of Paul and Kurt, we’ve already seen various players improve tremendously over the last twelve months and we hope he can join that long list during 2023.

“Ben massively impressed us during his loan spell this year and will bring not just quality, but an incredible work ethic – a vital attribute of any player in this squad.”

Salford had previously signed forwards Oliver Partington from Wigan and Andrew Dixon from Toulouse.