Salford Red Devils fans will feel like they have been at the centre of a whirlwind of bad news in recent weeks and months.
The Red Devils finished the 2023 Super League season just shy of the play-offs unable to recapture the magic of the way they ended the 2022 season which carried them all the way to the Super League semi-finals.
Following the conclusion of the 2023 season, questions began to swirl again around 2022 Steve Prescott Man of Steel Brodie Croft. Leigh Leopards were initially interested in the halfback but eventually it was Leeds Rhinos who secured his services for the 2024 season.
They paid a fee of £300,000 to sign him and teammate Andy Ackers. An England international and one of the best hookers in the league, this was another bitter pill for Salford fans to swallow.
Then came a significant offer for Ryan Brierley which likely only exacerbated their woes but the club were able to re-sign the fullback to a new deal. But that, alongside a couple of signings, would be the last of the good news for some time.
The Red Devils revealed that their tenancy agreement was set to expire at the start of December placing them in massive jeopardy under IMG’s new minimum standards. Then, just as a solution to this seemed like it was edging closer, the club confirmed the sudden exit of star winger Ken Sio on compassionate grounds.
However, it is understood that the Red Devils will go into the transfer market to find a replacement which is a little surprising. The Red Devils have already signed Nene MacDonald for 2024 from Leeds Rhinos who arguably plays his best rugby on the wing.
He could replace Sio on the wing with Deon Cross and Tim Lafai at centre with Joe Burgess on the wing. Perhaps, they would be better served signing a hooker to replace Andy Ackers or, if Cade Cust has been signed to play nine, a stand off to replace Brodie Croft.
They now have a quota spot open which would give them more freedom in the market. The reported replacement for Sio wouldn’t change that either with the club reportedly set to sign Chris Hankinson as per Rugby League Live though this remains unconfirmed.
Beyond this then, another signing could still be made but their financial situation and an inability to spend the full cap due to less TV money could hurt their chances at recruiting what Paul Rowley wants.