Wakefield Trinity will be aiming to back up their round one win when they host Salford Red Devils at the Mobile Rocket Stadium on Friday.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Chris Chester’s side opened the campaign with a 28-6 victory over Hull Kingston Rovers, with winger Tom Johnstone crossing for a hat-trick. The Englishman, who was making his first league appearance since April after returning from injury, provided the difference between the two sides last time out.
SALFORD RED DEVILS
Salford were defeated by Wigan Warriors in their opening game – full-back Niall Evalds and centre Kris Welham touched down, but Ian Watson’s men were ultimately outclassed over 80 minutes.
Trinity prop Craig Huby will make his first appearance of the season after recovering from injury, while Johnstone, who is expected to continue on the wing, will have the opportunity to add to his try tally.
Wakefield: Tinirau Arona, Matty Ashurst, Mason Caton-Brown, Anthony England, David Fifita, Liam Finn, Scott Grix, Ryan Hampshire, Keegan Hirst, Justin Horo, Craig Huby, Tom Johnstone, Ben Jones-Bishop, Danny Kirmond, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Pauli Pauli, Bill Tupou, Kyle Wood
SALFORD RED DEVILS
Salford have hooker Logan Tomkins back in the squad for round two – the 25-year-old missed the opening defeat to the Warriors with a minor injury. The Red Devils will give a debut to Fijian prop Ben Nakubuwai, who moved to Greater Manchester after impressing in the World Cup. A first start could also be on the cards for centre Derrell Olpherts, who agreed a switch from Newcastle Thunder in July.
Salford: Gareth O’Brien, Kris Welham, Junior Sa’u, Niall Evalds, Robert Lui, Jack Littlejohn, Craig Kopczak, Logan Tomkins, George Griffin, Josh Jones, Weller Hauraki, Lama Tasi, Luke Burgess, Tyrone McCarthy, Ben Nakubuwai, Josh Wood, Derrell Olpherts, Lee Mossop, Jake Bibby
These two sides last met in the 2017 Super Eights. Wakefield ran out 43-18 thanks to two tries from Jacob Miller, who also slotted a drop goal – Tyler Randell also added a brace.
The spotlight will again be on winger Johnstone, who has made an instant impact since returning to his side. But another key battle could arise between both sets of half-backs – Trinity pair Jacob Miller and Liam Finn were influential in the side’s top four finish last term, while Gareth O’Brien and Robert Lui are equally as dangerous going forward.
Wakefield boss Chester told the Daily Mail following round one that his side have room for improvement this season. He said: “It’s a good start but there’s still a hell of a lot of work to do. We’re a little bit further away than we thought in a few areas.
“We’re not the finished article and have got a hell of a job on this year to get into that top eight.”
Red Devils coach Watson told reporters that his side will need more game time to perfect their attacking plays. He said. “We’ll have to get up to speed with our plays and who is playing off each other. The combinations will take a bit of time, but the luxury of a good quality spine is second to none really. It’s about giving them time.”
Wakefield have scored one more try (28) than Salford (27) across the last six encounters between the two sides.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 9th February 2018
Venue: Mobile Rocket Stadium
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
WHO WILL WIN?