Two of the Super League’s surprise packages in 2017 go head-to-head in the last eight of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, as Salford Red Devils welcome Wakefield Trinity to the AJ Bell Stadium.

Last Time Out

The Red Devils looked lethargic as they were well beaten by Hull FC last week, as the Airlie Birds ran out 34-10 winners. The hectic schedule seemed to have got the better of Ian Watson’s men as they were out enthused by their opponents, going into the break 22-0 down after a disastrous first 40. Niall Evalds and Weller Hauraki offered some resistance in the second half, however the damage was already done as Salford slipped two more points off the league leaders Castleford Tigers.

Wakefield were also on the wrong end of the scoreline in their last outing, as they went agonisingly close to defeating Leeds Rhinos. Ben Jones-Bishop gave his side hope with a late score however their six game winning run was ended in an 18-16 defeat. Mason Caton-Brown and Kyle Wood also found their way over but it wasn’t enough, as errors cost the hosts against a Rhinos side who are hitting form. The defeat saw Chris Chester’s men slip to fifth in the table.

Road to the Quarter-Finals

Salford have survived a couple of scares against opposition from the divisions below on their way to the last eight of the Challenge Cup. Their first tie saw them host newcomers Toronto Wolfpack, as they edged the League One side 29-22 to book a place in the sixth round and set up a Million Pound Game rematch. As they did the last time they met Hull Kingston Rovers, the Red Devils came out on top in a 24-14 victory and will be looking for yet another home victory in the competition.

Wakefield have had less stress getting to this stage of the competition, as their top eight finish last season meant they entered the draw at round six. They were handed an away trip to Dewsbury Rams who were sitting second bottom in the Championship and romped to a comfortable 54-6 win. They face sterner opposition this time out in their quest for a place in the semi-finals.

Key Battle

Both sides have halves who can make a huge impact on the game, but there is also some firepower in the forwards which can influence the outcome of this one. Robert Lui will be key for Salford as he can create something out of nothing, while Sam Williams has been a key playmaker for Trinity in 2017.

Ben Murdoch-Masila’s bulldozing power in attack will cause all kinds of headaches for the Trinity defence, and it will be up to the likes of Danny Kirmond to stop him.

Prediction

These two sides played out a thrilling encounter recently in the Super League, with Wakefield edging it 34-24. Salford will be desperate to gain revenge this time out, Red Devils by 12.

Squads

Salford Red Devils 19-man squad: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Craig Kopczak, Gareth O’Brien, George Griffin, Jake Bibby, James Hasson, Junior Sa’u, Kris Welham, Kriss Brining, Lama Tasi, Logan Tomkins, Mark Flanagan, Michael Dobson, Niall Evalds, Olsi Krasniqi, Rob Lui, Ryan Lannon, Todd Carney, Weller Hauraki

Wakefield Trinity 19-man squad: Mitch Allgood, Chris Annakin, Joe Arundel, Matty Ashurst, Mason Caton-Brown, Jordan Crowther, Anthony England, Liam Finn, Scott Grix, Dean Hadley, Keegan Hirst, Craig Huby, Ben Jones-Bishop, Danny Kirmond, Reece Lyne, Mikey Sio, Bill Tupou, Sam Williams, Kyle Wood

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My name is Sean Hayes. I am from Widnes, England. I am currently studying journalism at Salford University. Aspiring sports journalist and rugby league fanatic whether it is watching, playing or writing about the greatest game! Follow me on twitter @SHayesNBL