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SUPER LEAGUE PREVIEW: Salford Red Devils vs Wakefield Wildcats

Sixth placed Wakefield Wildcats will be looking to continue their impressive form of late when they visit 10th placed Salford Red Devils on Friday night. Can the Red Devils put their off-field problems behind them and mount a charge for the top eight, or will Chris Chester’s men continue their incredible rise up the table.

Last time out

Salford were comeback winners over Widnes Vikings at Magic Weekend last time out, turning around a half-time deficit of 12-4 to come out on top 18-12. Daniel Vidot was in for his first two tries in a Red Devils shirt, while his opposite winger Justin Carney grabbed the other try but will miss the game due to a one-game ban for a dangerous tackle. The win edged them closer to the top eight, while owner Marwan Koukash continues his off-field battle to appeal against their six point deduction for breaching the salary cap.

Wakefield came away from their first ever Magic Weekend meeting with French outfit Catalans Dragons with a dramatic one point win, as Jacob Miller’s 50 metre field goal was the difference. The Dragons had led 14-0 in the first period, but the plucky Wildcats fought back to clinch the points and deny their opponents the chance to climb to the summit of the Super League table. It was the fourth straight victory for Chris Chester, who has turned the club’s fortunes around since taking over as head coach.

Key Battles

The halves: Michael Dobson was influential in Salford’s win over the Vikings, providing the spark that they needed to get over the line. Jacob Miller was equally as influential in his side’s victory, with his late drop-goal the difference. They both could play a key role in this encounter come Friday night, and whoever is on top in this battle could steer their team to another victory.

Wide men: Tom Johnstone is one of the form player in Super League at the moment, scoring six time in his last six appearances, including a hat-trick in Wakefield’s 32-18 win over Salford earlier in the season. With Daniel Vidot now fit and firing the Red Devils have a dangerous wide man of their own, and the former NRL star will be looking to build on his try double last weekend. Don’t be surprised if you see both of these men on the scoresheet.

Back row boys: Ben Murdoch-Masila has made an explosive start to life in the Super League, as the sizeable back rower makes his presence known in both attack and defence. In Danny Kirmond, the Wildcats have a leader in their second row and he is the man they look to when they need a lift. Both of these men could have a huge impact on the outcome of this game.

Prediction

Both sides will be full of confidence going into this one after their wins in Newcastle, however I’m tipping Wakefield’s impressive run to continue. Wakefield Wildcats by 12

Squads

Salford Red Devils 19 man squad: Gareth O’Brien, Jake Bibby, Niall Evalds, Phil Joseph, Ryan Lannon, Robert Lui, Weller Hauraki, Michael Dobson, Mark Flanagan, Logan Tomkins, Craig Kopczak, Ben Murdoch-Masila, George Griffin, Josh Jones, Adam Walne, Olsi Krasniqi, Junior Sa’u, Daniel Vidot, Jordan Walne

Wakefield Wildcats 19 man squad: Scott Anderson, Chris Annakin, Tinirau Arona, Joe Arundel, Matty Ashurst, Anthony England, Liam Finn, Craig Hall, Tom Johnstone, Ben Jones-Bishop, Max Jowitt, Danny Kirmond, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Nick Scruton, Mickael Simon, Mikey Sio, Anthony Tupou, Bill Tupou

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Super League Match PreviewsSuper League News

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