Salford Red Devils’ greatest Super League XIII

The life of Salford fans across the 25 years of Super League has been a rollercoaster. Facing relegation, miracle comebacks and two major finals, there’s rarely been a dull moment. Salford have experienced the lows and highs of life in an increasingly dramatic Super League, but throughout the time period they have seen some very talented players.

This team is the best 13 from the era since 1996, and includes players that shined for short periods as well as those that showed consistent quality over the club’s time in Super League.

So, without any further ado, here’s Salford’s greatest Super League 13.

Full back: Niall Evalds

As Salford’s greatest try scorer in the Super League era with 111, Niall Evalds is head and shoulders above any other fullback in terms of his contribution to Salford. Evalds made his Salford debut in 2013, and for the first few years of his career he was moved between winger and fullback, with Gareth O’Brien becoming Ian Watson’s fullback of choice in 2016 and 2017. After O’Brien’s departure, Evalds made the fullback role his own, and became a prolific try scorer, helping Salford to the Grand Final in 2019 with 22 tries and 13 assists. In the following year, he inspired Salford to the Challenge Cup Final and had a very good game despite being on the losing time. A year later, he switched to Cas and picked up the Lance Todd trophy.

Honourable mentions: Gaz O’Brien and Luke Patten

Wingers: Jodie Broughton and Ken Sio

Broughton showed consistent try scoring ability throughout his four years at Salford, with 60 tries in 99 games. Crowned fastest man in Super League in 2011, his devastating pace was key to a side that struggled to score tries. After signing in 2010, he scored no less than 14 tries in each of his seasons at the club, before leaving in 2013 upon the arrival of Marwan Koukash. Despite only having been at the club since 2019, and with more time left at the club, Ken Sio is already Salford’s second highest try scoring winger in the Super League era. Sio’s first year at the club saw them reach the Grand Final, as he provided a respectable 13 tries.  Since then he has only got better, becoming the top try scorer in Super League in 2021, and is one of the elite finishers in the competition. His ability to make metres for the side adds to his value, and with 14 tries already this year, he is on track for another strong season.

Honourable mentions: John Wilshere and David Hodgson

Centres: Stuart Littler and Junior Sa’u

Holding the record for the most appearances for Salford, Stuart Littler was seemingly ever-present in his 13 seasons at the club. He was arguably never Salford’s best player, but for a club that has always struggled to maintain a consistent squad, Littler’s contribution throughout the 2000s cannot be overlooked. Like Littler, Sa’u makes this list for his accumulated performances over a number of years. He played 142 games for the Red Devils, scoring 60 tries. Often too strong for opposition defenders, he would crash over from close range and put in some bruising tackles without the ball in hand. He saw a lot of change at Salford, going from Koukash’s ‘Red Devilution’ to the season in which Salford reached their first Grand Final, but never gave less than 100%.

Honourable mentions: Josh Griffin, Kris Welham and Nathan McAvoy

Half backs: Steve Blakeley and Jackson Hastings

Blakeley was at Salford from 1992 to 2003, barring a season long spell at Warrington. He represented England whilst at Salford, scoring a try. He played a vital role in Salford’s surprise top half Super League finish in 1997, and his service to the club was key throughout the 1990s. Hastings played just 41 games for Salford, but will rightly go down as one of the very best to ever pull on a Salford shirt. He joined the club at the end of a flat and underwhelming season in 2018, before signing on for an extra year after helping them through the middle eight playoffs. Initially, Hastings looked like a promising young halfback that would increase his stock with some decent performances at Salford, helping them to an impressive mid-table place. In the 2019 season, he surpassed this expectation, and led Salford to a likely unrepeatable charge to the Grand Final, earning himself a Man of Steel award in the process before leaving to join Wigan.

Honourable mentions: Robert Lui, Michael Dobson and Rangi Chase

Props: Lee Mossop and Andy Coley

Lee Mossop’s start to life at Salford was a slow one, after signing in 2017 he played just 11 games in his first year due to injury. He slowly became a more integral part of the team, playing 22 games the following year and being named joint captain. His most impressive season came in 2019, when his leadership shone as him and Gil Dudson got the better of almost every other prop forward pairing in the league. His impressive form continued until a reoccurring shoulder injury forced him into retirement toward the end of the 2021 season. Andy Coley made 191 appearances for Salford from 2001 to 2007. He represented England and Great Britain whilst at Salford. He played at both prop and second row, and could have made this team in either position. He impressed in every single year he spent at the club, but left for Wigan under a cloud after Salford’s relegation in 2007.

Honourable mentions: Lama Tasi, Paul Highton and Neil Baynes

Hooker: Malcolm Alker

Alker is to many the biggest Salford legend of the Super League era. He remained at the club despite constant interest from top clubs, playing 292 times for Salford. He represented England at international level after impressing in 2005, no mean feat considering his competition. To stay loyal to Salford through relegation showed his commitment to the club, despite knowing a big money move was always on the cards.

Honourable mentions: Logan Tomkins and Joey Lussick

Back Row: Josh Jones and Ben-Murdoch Masila

Jones originally started out as a centre when he joined Salford in 2016, but it was quickly realised that he was big enough to play at second row. He was difficult to tackle, and was very skilled at bumping off defenders to get the pass away, which often created gaps for his teammates to exploit. He made the dream team in 2019 after a hugely impressive season, and joined Hull FC the following season.  Ben Murdoch-Masila’s time at Salford was not a long one, playing at the club for just two years in 2016 and 2017. Despite the relatively short amount of time he spent at the club, he was huge fan favourite. Possibly the most powerful player to have represented the club, he showed surprising speed after scattering defences, could leave multiple players on the floor after contact and was impossible to stop from close range. He unfortunately left the club for Warrington after just 57 games, and has since been unable to replicate his form in a Salford shirt.

Honourable mentions: Mike Wainwright and Tyrone McCarthy

Loose Forward: Mark Flanagan

Mark Flanagan completes the modern era back row. The former captain played over 100 games for Salford from 2016 to 2020. Similar to Mossop, his main strength was his leadership and defensive work rate. When Flanagan was absent, Salford’s performance level seemed to noticeably drop. He was much more of a traditional 13, who could pass a ball and offered much more than just strong carries and has been missed since his retirement.

Honourable mentions: Stephen Wild