Salford Red Devils defied the odds to finish sixth and were Super League’s in form team, alongside Leeds Rhinos, at the end of 2022 playing magnificent rugby.
They are expected to take that form into 2023 but how will they line up after some exciting additions?
Fullback: Ryan Brierley
Brierley was at the heart of Salford’s success last year. He scored tries for fun and created them too. The spotlight was on Brodie Croft but Brierley did brilliantly and was rewarded with a new deal. 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
Most teams would kill for a pair of wingers as good as these two as emphasised by their try scoring exploits in 2022. 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 and links brilliantly with Tim Lafai. The combined form of Sio and Burgess makes them one of the best wing partnerships in the league.
Centres: Deon Cross and Tim Lafai
Deon Cross came out of nowhere and was one of the best signings of the 2022 Super League 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 especially based on the way they combined with their wingers in 2022.
Halves: Brodie Croft and Marc Sneyd
A perfectly balanced halfback pairing that proved the doubters wrong in 2022. Last year’s Man of Steel, Brodie Croft, and England international halfback, Marc Sneyd, 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: Jack Ormondroyd and Tyler Dupree
Two players who really made an impact in 2022. Jack Ormondroyd has been rewarded with the number eight shirt this season and Tyler Dupree has already been given an improved contract despite only just arriving from Widnes Vikings last year. The two will form a hardworking front row to start games.
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
Salford’s new skipper Kallum Watkins will continue to ply his trade at second-row after moving there in 2023 revitalised his career. The former Leeds man still has a lot to give after an impressive resurgence last season and will be a terrific leader though could still cover centre if required. Stone meanwhile joins Rowley’s squad from Leigh. His addition to the Red Devils squad is a massive boost, given he was expected to join NRL heavyweights Melbourne Storm.
Loose Forward: Oliver Partington
Another exciting recruit, this time from Wigan Warriors, he is ready to be a key member of the Salford pack and act as their mobile, big and hard working 13.
Bench: King Vuniyayawa, Shane Wright, Adam Sidlow and Chris Atkin
In King Vuniyayawa and the returning Adam Sidlow, Paul Rowley has to big units to bring on and make a real impact whilst Shane Wright can do the same whilst covering the entire back row of the scrum. As for Chris Atkin, an underappreciated player who will cover Ackers at nine well as well as offering cover for the halves.