Ahead of tonight’s first Challenge Cup quarter-final between Salford and Wakefield, TotalRL takes a look at where the game could be won and lost for the Devils and Trinity..
Robert Lui v Liam Finn
Both Lui and Finn have been the standout half-back for their teams in recent weeks – and you suspect whichever of the two gets the upper hand tonight, their team will become huge favourites to progress to the last four. Lui’s devastating play close to the line will test Trinity without question – but if Finn’s kicking game is up to its usual high standards, it could prove to be a difficult night for the Red Devils.
Gareth O’Brien v Scott Grix
The battle of the full-backs is a fascinating one. Both have established themselves as the leading players in their position this season; O’Brien has continued where he left off in the Million Pound Game and has increasingly become the heartbeat of Ian Watson’s new-look side, while Grix has been an incredible signing since making the move across West Yorkshire from Huddersfield Giants. They will both provide a steadying influence without question – but its who produces the big, game-breaking plays which could be key.
Ben Jones-Bishop and Mason Caton-Brown v Jake Bibby and Niall Evalds
All four wingers were plying their trade at Salford as recently as two years ago – but tonight, Jones-Bishop and Caton-Brown will be aiming to send their former employers out of the Challenge Cup. Caton-Brown scored a hat-trick at Salford two weeks ago and he is in magnificent form at the moment – but the departure of Justin Carney and injury to Greg Johnson has afforded Evalds and Bibby respectively chances they, so far at least, have taken with both hands. The edges could prove to be the place where the game is won and lost given the recent form of all four.