The Richard Marshall begins at Salford as they open their Super League 2021 campaign with a trip to St Helens. The question is can they continue the strides they made under Ian Watson?
For the first time since the 2014 season, the Red Devils will play a game without Watson on their coaching staff. Ian Watson ended his six-year stint as the Devil’s head coach, as he opted to seek a new challenge with Huddersfield. The Red Devils moved quickly to appoint Marshall, who is widely regarded as one of the better young coaches in the game.
His tenure started strongly as Salford made a statement in their preseason win against Wigan. But, regardless of his status and regardless of that preseason win, he has huge shoes to fill and there are questions as to whether Salford can overachieve once again.
Super League 2021: can Salford Red Devils push on in ‘new’ era
Salford punched above their weight throughout Ian Watson’s tenure and despite having one of the smallest budgets in the league, the club amazingly reached the Super League Grand Final in 2019 and a Challenge Cup final in 2020. Whether they can replicate the success under Marshall remains to be seen.
🗣️ If I am being really honest, this is probably the best squad we have had."
🤞 Our captain is confident that 2021 can be a successful year for Salford and himself!
🧐 Read ➡️ https://t.co/TxXlcmgWGt
— Salford Red Devils 👹 (@SalfordDevils) March 23, 2021
Salford reinforced their squad with 13 new signings. Morgan Escare stands to be a direct replacement for Evalds at full-back, Joe Burgess provides the Red Devils with another prolific winger to go opposite Ken Sio and Elijah Taylor arrives as a versatile chess piece able to play across the back-row and at the scrum-half position. Danny Addy (see main photo) arrives from Leigh, and the Scotland International has plenty to offer.
Salford also made a number of ‘buy low’ moves to bolster their squad, namely bringing in Dec Patton and Harvey Livett from Warrington. Both players struggled to consistently break into Warrington’s first team and join Salford with a point to prove, as they look to take the next step-up in their rugby league careers.
Look for those two to potentially be the steals of the season.
In the negative column, Salford lost a number of key players with Mark Flanagan retiring, Kris Welham, Niall Evalds, Luke Yates, Gil Dudson, Tyrone McCarthy, and Joey Lussick moving on last fall.
Meet the Salford Red Devils 2021 squad:
1 Morgan Escaré, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Kallum Watkins, 4 Krisnan Inu, 5 Joe Burgess, 6 Tui Lolohea, 7 Kevin Brown, 8 Lee Mossop, 9 Andy Ackers, 10 Seb Ikahihifo, 11 Ryan Lannon, 12 Pauli Pauli, 13 Elijah Taylor, 14 Danny Addy, 15 Ollie Roberts, 16 Greg Burke, 17 Josh Johnson, 18 Chris Atkin, 19 Elliot Kear, 20 Harvey Livett, 21 James Greenwood, 22 Rhys Williams, 23 Dan Sarginson, 24 Matty Costello, 25 Jack Ormondroyd, 26 Jack Wells, 27 Sam Luckley, 28 Darcy Lussick, 29 Dec Patton
Notable Arrivals: Elijah Taylor (Wests Tigers), Danny Addy (Leigh Centurions), Morgan Escaré and Joe Burgess (both Wigan Warriors); Harvey Livett and Dec Patton (both Warrington Wolves).
Notable Outgoings: Joey Lussick (Parramatta Eels), Tyrone McCarthy (Leigh Centurions), Luis Roberts (Swinton Lions), Gil Dudson (Catalans Dragons), Niall Evalds (Castleford Tigers), Mark Flanagan (retired), Kris Welham (Featherstone Rovers), Luke Yates (Huddersfield Giants).
2021 Super League Salford Red Devils prediction: 8th place
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images