Played: 23 Won: 10 Draw: 13 Lost: 0 For: 560 Against: 569
Deducted: -6 Points: 14
League Position after regular season: 10th
After the Super 8s Qualifiers: 5th (Continue in Super League after Million Pound Game)
Player of the Year
The Red Devils Prop was handle double glory as he scooped both Players’ Player and Fans Player of the year at Salford’s end of season awards.
Kopczak recorded some fantastic stats for the season, managing 5 tries and 1 assist, also coming up just short of 2000 metres for the season. He also proved his defensive worth as one of the top tacklers within the team, making 681 successful tackles across the campaign. The 30-year old looked in fine fettle, and could be a vital senior player for the Red Devils next season.
Salford had a mixed bag of results throughout the campaign, showing that there is plenty to work on in their attacking and defensive efforts as a collective. Their season started with a heavy loss to Hull FC, a team who proved to be a tough opponent last season. The Red Devils followed this up with two vital wins to kick start their season, with an emphatic 44-10 win against St Helens and a narrow victory over Widnes Vikings. Salford were maybe unlucky in some of their results, being on the wrong end of what could have been wins and draws instead of losses. They lost out to Wigan on the road by a few points and had a devastating loss against Warrington, which was decided by a drop goal. It was the same story of twists and turns throughout the Red Devils’ season, as they struggled to gain many consecutive wins.
Many people say though, it is not how you start, it is how you finish; Salford certainly lived up to this motto. An enthralling comeback performance in the Million Pound Game saw them win survival in the Super League and of course £1,000,000 in a dramatic golden point winner.
A Million reasons
Salford fans left the 2016 season with a million reasons to look forward to 2017. A season filled with its fair share of issues both on and off the pitch left them in a position in which they had to fight for their survival in the top flight. A shaky performance throughout the Super 8s Qualifiers meant they had to compete in the Million Pound Game against other Super League side Hull KR. The game looked to be swinging in Hull KR’s favour, but a dramatic turnaround saw Niall Evalds and Greg Johnson grab late efforts to level the scores at the hooter. Gareth O’Brien sealed Salford’s fate with an exceptional drop goal winner in golden point from the halfway line, leaving the Red Devils relishing in relief and a million pounds better off.
Salford Coach, Ian Watson, summed up the game with a simple statement: “I feel pleased and proud of the boys. It will be a real sense of achievement when they look back.”
Salford were plagued by a point’s deduction in their 2016 campaign, with -6 points taken away for their breach of salary cap, something which made the season one long struggle for the side. Without these deductions, Salford would have finished as a comfortable mid-table ranking, rather than in the 10th position they eventually finished at. The deduction plays hard against Salford, in fact, they scored 100 tries in 2016, 9 more than Grand Final Winners, Wigan. So although on plain reading, it looked like a generally bad season for Salford, there was actually a lot more to relish from.
A new direction
Marwan Koukash has never been short of controversy, having been a questionable owner since buying into the Salford club. It is no secret that he is money orientated, and has plenty to put in to the club to help them achieve success in the Super League.
Mr Koukash’s risky social media presence seems to have filtered to the fans and players, with a few notable incidents in the 2016 painting a bad light on the club. After Salford’s points deduction earlier in the year, the owner questioned his future with the club but quickly rescinded, leaving mixed reactions from the fans.
Marwan could begin a new direction for the club with the million pounds winnings and a new outlook, but can he make the difference this time around?
2017 Ins and Outs
Sean Kenny (Warrington Wolves)
Justin Carney (Castleford Tigers)
Daniel Murray (Warrington Wolves)
Lama Tasi (St Helens)
Kriss Brining (York City Knights)
Lee Mossop (Wigan Warriors)
Kris Welham (Bradford Bulls – Free Agent)
Josh Griffin (Hull FC)
Mason Caton-Brown (Wakefield Trinity)
Luke Burgess (Catalans Dragons)
Jordan Andrade (Gloucestershire All Golds)
Tommy Lee (St Helens)
Matt Sarsfield (Swinton Lions)
Daniel Vidot (Brisbane Broncos)
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