Salford Red Devils booked their place in the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup for the first time in 19 years with a comprehensive victory over Wakefield Trinity on Thursday night.
80 minutes away
Salford’s remarkable season continued as they advanced to the final four of the Challenge Cup, gaining revenge for their league defeat to Wakefield two weeks ago. It’s been 19 years since they reached this stage of the competition as tries from Ryan Lannon, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Niall Evalds, Greg Johnson and Craig Kopczak cancelled out a late consolation from Liam Finn.
Trinity are also having a brilliant season, as they were on a six game winning run before last week’s defeat to Leeds Rhinos, and they will be bitterly disappointed with their performance at the AJ Bell Stadium. Chris Chester’s men will now focus on their push for a place in the top four, something no-one would have envisaged at the start of the campaign.
Despite sitting second in the Super League and being 80 minutes away from a shot at the sport’s most famous trophy, Marwan Koukash still can’t get fans through the gate. The fact that the game was shown live on Sky Sports will have contributed somewhat to the attendance standing at just 2820, and the Red Devils owner must be worried that crowds still aren’t growing despite their form on the field.
Murdoch-Masila marches on
The Salford back rower is having an incredible year, as he proved too strong on the way to his 12th try of the season. He also came up with a brilliant flick pass which sent Johnson over for his score, showing he has more in his locker than just a strong carry. Murdoch-Masila has been one of a number of astute signings made by the club, which has led to their impressive form in 2017.
From MPG to Wembley?
If Salford can reach the Challenge Cup final it would be a great testament to the hard work of Ian Watson, as he has his team playing an exciting brand of football which has lifted them to second in Super League. It is even more remarkable to think that it has come less than 12 months after they dramatically avoided relegation in the Million Pound Game. Can they cap their year off with a trip to Wembley, where they could potentially lift the trophy for the first time since 1938.
Salford Red Devils 30
Tries: Lannon, Murdoch-Masila, Evalds, Johnson, Kopczak Goals: Dobson 5
Wakefield Trinity 6
Tries: Finn Goals Finn 1