Salford go into 2023 on the back of a successful 2022 that saw Paul Rowley’s men make the play-offs and go within 80 minutes of the Super League Grand Final in his first season in charge.
They will be looking to replicate that this time around, or even go one step further to Old Trafford, and with the signings they have made, things look good for the Salford faithful.
Here is how the Red Devils could line-up come their first game of the 2023 season against newly promoted Leigh Leopards on Friday 17th February.
Fullback: Ryan Brierley
The Scotsman was pivotal in the Red Devils’ success last year and will be looking to retain that form in 2023. Many have questioned Brierley’s ability at Super League level over the years, but last season he proved he has what it takes at the highest level of the British game.
Wingers: Ken Sio and Joe Burgess
Sio averaged a try a game last term and was second in the try charts with 26. Meanwhile, Burgess is another strong and reliable winger who has international experience. The pair combined form one of the best wing partnerships in the league.
Centres: Deon Cross and Tim Lafai
Despite the incredible form of England’s Kallum Watkins at the World Cup, he played the majority of last season in the second row, and that is where he is likely to play again next year. Make no mistake, however, Deon Cross was one of the best signings in Super League last season after making the move from Widnes Vikings. It is expected that he and Lafai, who again was incredible last year, will form the centres, but Rowley does have plenty of options should injuries and suspensions occur.
Halves: Brodie Croft and Marc Sneyd
Last year’s Man of Steel, Brodie Croft, and England international halfback, Marc Sneyd, respectively will once again be pivotal to Salford’s success. If they can both keep injury-free, the Red Devils could be contenders for the top four, never mind the top six.
Props: Sitaleki Akuaola and Oliver Partington
Former Warrington man Akuaola will partner with new signing Oliver Partington in the front row. Partington signs from Wigan after 92 appearances and still has his best years ahead of him, something head coach Rowley was quick to point out after acquiring the 24-year-old.
Hooker: Andy Ackers
After a World Cup selection, Ackers will be full of confidence going into next season. He forms part of the spine that was so crucial to Salford’s success. Though his involvement in Shaun Wane’s squad for the World Cup has been limited, it is far from a negative with Salford’s number nine set to be fresher come the start of 2023, as he looks to continue his fine form from the last campaign.
Second Rowers: Kallum Watkins and Sam Stone
As mentioned, it is likely Watkins will return to the second-row position next year despite playing in the World Cup at centre. The former Leeds man still has a lot to give after an impressive resurgence last season. Stone meanwhile joins Rowley’s squad after two seasons at Leigh. He will be hoping for a better year than his first in Super League which saw him relegated. His addition to the Red Devils squad is a massive boost, given he was expected to join NRL heavyweights Melbourne Storm.
Loose Forward: Shane Wright
Despite making only 10 appearances last season, the former NRL man will be hoping for an improvement in 2023. There will be competition for the 13 spot, however, with Danny Addy a capable replacement. Wright still has plenty to give in a Salford shirt and we could see the best of him next season.
Bench: King Vuniyayawa, Tyler Dupree, Jack Ormondroyd and Chris Atkin