Beware the team with a new coach…
After the Catalan Dragons parted company with head coach Laurent Frayssinous after the Dacia Magic Weekend defeat to Huddersfield Giants, 10-18, Salford coach Ian Watson will point to the defeat of Challenge cup holders Hull FC by St. Helens in front of their new head coach Justin Holbrook as a pointer as to what a change of leadership can do to a team.
Hardly anyone went to St James’ park on Saturday expecting Saints to beat FC, let alone beat them to nil, but that’s what makes sport so special, the unknown.
When Catalan appear at the AJ Bell stadium on Friday night, the Devils will want to right the 38-6 scoreline from April that brought to an end the Devils unbeaten run of six games.
Given that was the last time a Salford fan tasted defeat, club CEO Ian Blease would be hoping that the offer to season ticket holders to “Bring a mate for £10” will help boost the meagre (but loud) crowds the team are playing in front of.
Fans will also hope to catch a glimpse of new signing James Hasson, who arrived last week from Parramatta Eels.
As well as being an Irish international, Hasson made 40 appearances for Manly Sea-Eagles and was part of their squad that reached the NRL Grand Final in 2013.
Head Coach Ian Watson is confident that he can make a positive contribution to the Red Devils this season, he told the clubs website;
“James is a player that adds some real competitiveness to our squad. We’ve had some injuries to our middles with Adam Walne and George Griffin, and James is exactly the kind of player that can step into that role. His NRL experience with Manly and Parramatta will be invaluable.
James is a tough, no nonsense player who runs hard and direct lines but also has the ability to play a good offload game. His defence is first rate and he is a good fit for our style of play.
His attitude and desire to come on board with us has been superb, and I’m sure he will slot straight into the playing group over the coming weeks.”
Man of the moment Ben Murdoch-Masila will be wanting to add to his growing reputation as one of the players of the season, and some peoples outside bet for the Steve Prescott “Man of Steel” award.
His 10 tries so far this campaign are part of the reason the club sit in second place as we get just over the 1/2 way point of the season.
Salford are not a one man side…
They have a real strength across the board, and a team spirit that is second to none in my opinion.
It will be a close, tight affair, and I think, sadly, that Catalan might just nick this one as well…