Out-of-form Salford host Wakefield on Friday night as the Super League Super Eights return following Hull FC’s Challenge Cup triumph. Both sides can still qualify for the play-offs.
Despite losing all of their last six matches – including their three Super Eights fixtures – the Red Devils are just two points behind Wakefield in fourth and can still make the Grand Final play-offs.
Wakefield Trinity have shone in 2017 and perhaps deserve more praise as head coach Chris Chester looks to maintain the pressure in the fight for the top four – Trinity’s last victory was a 38-6 defeat of Leeds.
Last Time Out
In round three of the Super Eights, Salford were defeated 42-6 at the DW Stadium by Challenge Cup runners-up Wigan. The Warriors ran in eight tries against Ian Watson’s men as Wigan inflicted another defeat on Salford after reaching the Cup final with victory over the Red Devils. Watson’s side only managed one try in response, which came from Niall Evalds after 67 minutes, their only showing in a poor display.
Wakefield also suffered defeat before the Cup final, as Castleford won 45-20 at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle to claim the League Leaders’ Shield. The table-toppers were already confirmed as the first side to reach the play-offs with their latest victory over Chester’s men earning the Tigers at least one piece of silverware in 2017. Trinity winger Ben Jones-Bishop, who has impressed this season, touched down while Mason Caton-Brown, Danny Kirmond and Max Jowitt added further scores for the visitors.
Salford’s squad sees Kris Welham return after missing the previous two Super Eights fixtures, while Niall Evalds is left out, as are Ben Murdoch-Masila and Michael Dobson. However, the Red Devils do include winger Manu Vatuvei as well as creative half-backs Robert Lui and Todd Carney, who could both be crucial if Salford are to win.
Chris Chester includes new signing Tyler Randell in his 19-man squad. The former Newcastle Knights hooker signed in July and is in contention to make his debut. Joe Arundel returns from injury but Max Jowitt, Sam Williams and Kyle Wood are absent.
Salford are on a poor run and have not won since the beginning of July. A win for the hosts takes them level on points with Wakefield, but Salford’s woes will continue. Trinity will successfully maintain their search for a top four spot. Wakefield by 12.
Salford Red Devils: Bibby, Brining, Carney, Griffin, Hauraki, Johnson, Jones, Kopczak, Krasniqi, Lannon, Lui, McCarthy, O’Brien, Sa’u, Tomkins, Vatuvei, A Walne, J Walne, Welham.
Wakefield Trinity: Annakin, Arona, Arundel, Ashurst, Caton-Brown, England, Fifita, Finn, Grix, Hadley, Hasson, Hurst, Huby, Jones-Bishop, Kirmond, Lyne, Miller, Randell, Tupou.