The Super League starts again this week with Salford Red Devils starting their campaign away to last season’s champions, St Helens, hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2019 Grand Final.
Winning two out of three pre-season friendlies, the Reds will be looking to go one step further this season with a team containing several new players.
Losing the likes of Jackson Hastings, Super League’s 2019 Man of Steel, to Wigan Warriors, and other players that were influential in what was arguably the Devils’ best ever season, some have already chalked the Reds off as one-season wonders.
However, the off-season has seen a wave of fresh faces at the AJ Bell Stadium, with some impressive displays during the pre-season from new signings such as Dan Sarginson, from Wigan Warriors, and Rhys Williams, who signed from London Broncos.
With Ian Watson’s men continuing to adjust, there seems to be a less intense atmosphere over at the Totally Wicked Stadium, with Saints only playing one pre-season game in preparation for their defence of the Super League title, a 36-6 home victory against London Broncos earlier this month.
The reigning Super League champions are pretty much unchanged with no confirmed signings for the 2020 season and only two players shipped out, with the phrase ‘why change a winning horse?’ coming to mind.
In the three encounters between the two teams last season, Saints came out victorious in all three games, including a 23-6 Grand Final win at Old Trafford which would make a victory for Salford on Friday even more sweeter.
The last time Salford beat Saints was a 22-14 home win in March 2017, with the Devils familiar with being the underdog when coming up against the red and white of St Helens.
But after last season, the rugby league community should know by now not to underestimate Salford Reds, who will be determined to continue in proving themselves as Super League big boys.
The game between St Helens and Salford Red Devils will kick off at 7.45pm this Friday 31 January at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
For more information visit the official website here.