Widnes Vikings and Salford Red Devils will go head-to-head for the third and final time this season on Friday night, with only two rounds remaining before Super League splits for the Super 8’s.
LAST TIME OUT
Widnes Vikings lost out to a Mark Percival penalty eight minutes from time in last Friday’s derby away to St Helens, as the hosts clinched a 12-10 victory. The Vikings’ place in the top eight is all but confirmed and their form has improved of late, however they have been on the wrong end of close score lines too often. Before the defeat to Saints they fought back to secure a dramatic one-point win at Leeds but had lost by two points to rivals Warrington Wolves and 7-0 at home to Wigan Warriors beforehand.
Salford Red Devils were outclassed by Warrington on their last outing, as the Wolves romped to a 40-14 win over a dejected Salford side. After losing their appeal against a six point deduction, the loss meant that any hopes Ian Watson’s side had of making the top eight were over. Their form is similar to their opponents, as they were 22-18 winners over Castleford Tigers before their defeat to Wire, and had been beaten by a point at home to Huddersfield Giants 31-30 in round 19.
The Red Devils pack some punch up front with some big units in their forward pack, and if Widnes are to get revenge for their two defeats at the hands of Salford this season they will need to muscle up in the middle. Watson’s men will look to take the game to their opponents to create a platform and play off the back of it.
Both sides have strike players on the edges as the hosts will look to Corey Thompson for his spark out wide, but he will come up against the returning Justin Carney in what is set to be a compelling battle of the wingers.
Joe Mellor will be key to the Vikings’ chances of coming out on top in this contest, as he will look to create something out of nothing as he so frequently does when taking on the defensive line. For Salford, they will be looking to Michael Dobson for him to come up with a similar performance to the one which dismantled Widnes in the second half of their Magic Weekend victory.
On their own turf and with the motivation of ending a three game losing streak in this fixture, Widnes should have enough to pick up the two competition points on offer. Widnes Vikings by 12.
Widnes Vikings 19 man squad:
Pat Ah Van, Kevin Brown, Greg Burke, Jack Buchanan, Hep Cahill, Jay Chapelhow, Chris Dean, Aaron Heremaia, Chris Houston, Macgraff Leuluai, Manase Manuokafoa, Stefan Marsh, Joe Mellor, Charly Runciman, Corey Thompson, Lloyd White, Matt Whitley
Salford Red Devils 19 man squad:
Niall Evalds, Justin Carney, Josh Griffin, Junior Sa’u, Robert Lui, Michael Dobson, Craig Kopczak, George Griffin, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Weller Hauraki, Mark Flanagan, Gareth O’Brien, Olsi Krasniqi, Greg Johnson, Logan Tomkins, Jordan Walne, Mason Caton-Brown, Josh Jones, Sean Kenny