Last season placing: 10th
At this point last season the majority of the pre-season noise and excitement was coming from the AJ Bell Stadium.
The newly named Salford Red Devils promised to shake up Super League with a starting XIII unrecognisable from the season previous looking to compete with the competition’s elite.
In reality, the side failed to live up to expectations but a 10th place finish last time out was an improvement on finishing bottom of the pack in 2013.
Now, heading in to the 2015 season, Salford are looking to make the Super 8s and prove to the competition that they are a force to be reckoned with. Iestyn Harris has had a full pre-season to work with his team having replaced Brian Noble as head coach midway through the last campaign.
A host of talented new signings have also been recruited, most notably Michael Dobson, Ben Jones-Bishop and Weller Hauraki as the Red Devils aim for success.
The club have run a rigorous marketing campaign in the off-season to raise ticket sales and raise the profile of the team in the Manchester area. There is a definite sense that the club is heading in the right direction.
The addition of Michael Dobson at scrum-half is a magnificent signing if the Australian can replicate the excellent kicking game he demonstrated throughout his time at previous clubs Hull KR and Wigan. Rangi Chase vastly improved as the season progressed in 2014 and the pair could make a deadly partnership in the halves in 2015.
Owner Dr Marwan Koukash has assembled a very strong squad and now it is important he lets it find its feet. Making the Super 8s is going to be a challenge for Salford and it’s important the panic button isn’t pressed mid-season should the Red Devils look like missing out. There has been a lot of disruption at the club over the past two years. A season of stability is what they need.
Story of 2015:
Making the top 8 is a definite possibility given the talent in the squad but it may be premature to look beyond that. The team has the potential to be a force in the Super League, whether that happens in 2015 or in years to come remains to be seen.
Ultimately, it could be another year in which the owner makes more headlines than the team.