Jackson Hastings is set to make his debut for Salford as they host Kevin Sinfield’s Leeds Rhinos. Here’s everything you need to know…
Salford Red Devils
Ian Watson is set to give new signing Hastings his debut. The former Manly player is one of two changes for the home side, as Gavin Bennion returns after a loan spell at Rochdale Hornets. They replace Craig Kopczak and Jake Shorrocks.
Salford will finish the regular season in 11th place, which means – for the second time in three years – they are in the Middle 8s. In the last six games Salford have won one and lost five, with the solitary win coming against Widnes.
Salford Red Devils 19-man squad: Sa’u, Evalds, Lui, Jones, Flanagan, Tasi, Lannon, McCarthy, Nakubuwai, Wood, Olpherts, Mossop, Bibby, Nzoungou, Murray, Bennion, Chamberlain, Burke, Hastings
Following their first victory in 10 league games, Kevin Sinfield has made several changes to his side: Ryan Hall, Adam Cuthbertson, Mikolaj Oledzki who drop out, for Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Nathaniel Peteru. There is a spot available for a possible new signing, so long as the signing is confirmed by the RFL.
Leeds’ fate in the Qualifiers was confirmed following victories from Huddersfield, Catalans and Wakefield last weekend. The Rhinos have slightly better form than Salford – with one win, one draw and four losses from their previous six games.
Leeds Rhinos 18-man squad: Golding, T Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Moon, Myler, Parcell, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Dwyer, Garbutt, Keinhorst, Peteru, Handley, Smith, Walters, L Briscoe, Crosby
HEAD TO HEAD
In the previous meeting Leeds ran out 20-0 victors over Salford on Easter Monday, with Ash Handley, Tom Briscoe and Josh Walters crossing for the Blue and Amber and four goals from the boot of Kallum Watkins. Since that game, both teams haven’t had the best form.
For Leeds, although they are in the Cup semi final against Warrington, their league form has dropped dramatically, suffering their worst league losing streak for years and falling from mid-table to ninth.
Salford haven’t been able to reproduce the form from last season, only picking up six wins in the league all season. Both teams will be looking for that crucial win heading into the Qualifiers.
KEY BATTLE- Robert Lui v Richie Myler
The battle of the halfbacks will be key. In the home side’s corner is Robert Lui. He is one of the most sought after players in the league, and will be hoping to use his Super League brain to give his team a chance in this one. Lui will be looking to link with Hastings and create the platform for Niall Evalds, Junior Sa’u and Jake Bibby to break the edges. Salford’s number six will be crucial to how well the Red Devils play.
In Leeds’ corner is Richie Myler; the former Warrington, Catalans and Salford player is looking to use his experience to guide his team to victory. With his quick thinking and key game management, Myler has showed why he is considered one of the best halfbacks in the league. He will be looking to emulate his performance last week, as he tries to guide his team to victory in this one.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday July 27.
Venue: The AJ Bell Stadium
Referee: Tom Grant
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