2020 Review: Salford Red Devils

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Our latest club review for the Super League season focuses on the Salford Red Devils. See how Andrew Ferguson assessed their 2020 campaign.

Salford had 2 storylines in 2020 - the side struggling to crack into finals contention in Super League and the side who very nearly snatched their second ever Challenge Cup title and first in over 80 years, but went down to Leeds 17-16.

Salford lost their opening 5 games before finally snaring a victory against Wigan, their 8th in 51 Super League contests between the two. They won all bar 5 of their remaining games but two off field matters eventually ensured they wouldn't play finals football. Their third last game of the year against Warrington saw Salford unable to compete. It would've been their 4th game in 11 days and as such, they only had 9 regular players available, as well as 2 loan players and 2 academy players, leaving them 4 short of the 17 required. Warrington were handed a 24-0 win.

Four days later, the Super League deducted 3 wins from Salford due to a "failure to meet the terms of a financial commitment agreed to in 2013." The decision saw the Reds drop from 7th to 9th and out of the Premiership race.

Turning Point

The resumption of the competition. Salford had 1 win and 5 losses when the competition locked down, but after it resumed they had 8 wins and 5 losses, as well as making it all the way to the Challenge Cup Final.

What Worked

Their ability to win tight games. 8 of the Reds wins in 2020 were by a margin of 8 points or less, while they lost just 4 games of the same margin. This clutch nature of the club makes them a difficult opponent for whoever they come up against…except Leeds. The Rhinos racked up big wins of 50-12 and 22-8 as well as the 1 point win in the Challenge Cup final.

What Didn't Work

Defence. This was a huge problem for the side in 2020. Salford had the third worst defence and third worst points difference, yet still managed to win 8 of 18 games. If they can improve this area of their game, they will become a huge threat.

Best Player

Krisnan Inu had a strong season, scoring 10 tries in as many games and averaging over 10 points per game. He was at his absolute best on the wing where his finishing was a key part to Salford's ability to win tight games.

Rookies

Salford debuted 2 new players this year. Connor Aspey who played just 1 game off the bench and winger Luis Roberts., who appeared in 2 games.

Looking Ahead

Salford have made a number of signings already, picking up Wigan trio Morgan Escare, Joe Burgess and Jack Wells, as well as Huddersfield pair Sebastine Ikahihifo and Oli Roberts who will both be on loan. Harvey Livett will also join the club alongside free agent Sam Luckley. Departing the club are Niall Evalds, Gil Dudson, Kris Welham as well as Mark Flanagan who has decided to retire.

They've really bolstered their depth for 2021 and could well improve across the park next year, potentially building as a threat to the top sides.

2020 results

RoundDateOppositionResultScoreCoachCaptainVenue
SL R1Jan 31stSt HelensL 8 - 48WatsonMossopTotally Wicked
SL R3Feb 14thHuddersfieldL10 - 12WatsonMossopAJ Bell
SL R4Feb 22ndLeedsL 8 - 22WatsonFlanaganAJ Bell
SL R5Mar 1stWakefieldL12 - 22WatsonMossopAJ Bell
SL R6Mar 7thCatalansL14 - 30WatsonMossopStade Gilbert Brutus
SL R7Mar 13thWiganW18 - 14WatsonMossopAJ Bell
SL R8Aug 9thHull FCW54 - 18WatsonMossopEmerald Headingley
SL R10Aug 29thLeedsL12 - 50WatsonFlanaganHalliwell Jones
SL R11Sep 3rdCastlefordL30 - 37WatsonFlanaganEmerald Headingley
CC QFSep 18thCatalansW22 - 18WatsonFlanaganTotally Wicked
SL R13Sep 24thHull FCW28 - 22WatsonFlanaganHalliwell Jones
SL R14Sep 29thWarringtonW20 - 18WatsonMossopAJ Bell
CC SFOct 3rdWarringtonW24 - 22WatsonMossopTotally Wicked
SL R15Oct 8thHuddersfieldW24 - 16WatsonMossopEmerald Headingley
SL R16Oct 13thHull KRL22 - 24WatsonMcCarthyHalliwell Jones
CC FinalOct 17thLeedsL16 - 17WatsonMossopWembley Stadium
SL R17Oct 23rdWiganL12 - 58WatsonMossopTotally Wicked
SL R18Oct 26thSt HelensW12 - 10WatsonMossopEmerald Headingley
SL R19Oct 30thWarrington*L 0 - 24
SL R2Nov 2ndCatalansW42 - 24WatsonMossopAJ Bell
SL R21Nov 6thWakefieldW28 - 20WatsonMossopEmerald Headingley

* Round 19 saw Salford unable to field a side and were thus handed a 24-0 loss to Warrington from the Super League.