Salford Red Devils director, Paul King, has solidified today the news that full-back Niall Evalds will be leaving Salford Red Devils as of next season.
Niall Evalds, a fan favourite as the club’s all-time record Super League try scorer and current longest-serving player, came through the Red Devils academy and made his debut for the club in 2013.
The number one has made 147 appearances for Salford, finding the try-line 101 times in front of the Red Devils crowd.
And after news began to circulate of Evalds’ departure yesterday, Salford director Paul King confirmed the news no Salford fan wants to hear when he replied to a fan on Twitter last night regarding the news, which you can see below:
We made him a fantstic offer he has chosen to go elsewhere for 2021, disappoining, but thats sport. We move on.
— Paul King (@808red) May 10, 2020
After finishing last season as Super League’s second-highest try scorer, Evalds was on track for another great season with five tries already under his belt in the 2020 campaign.
The England Knights representative also earned his first senior England call-up in Shaun Wane’s first squad as head coach in March, before the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on rugby league.
The 26-year-old received the man of the match award in Salford’s last game at home to Wigan Warriors after two tries, one being a spectacular 90-metre dash, that turned a game that was in favour of the Warriors on its head.
So where will the full-back go? According to League Express, Evalds has signed a one-year deal with Castleford Tigers for the 2021 season.
Evalds has been linked with Castleford before, who currently sit at the top of the table, level on points with Wigan Warriors but trailing on points difference.
With Evalds reportedly turning down a generous offer from the Reds to extend his contract, this must spell the end for Castleford’s current full-back Jordan Rankin, as it is unlikely that he will retain the first-choice position when Evalds arrives at the Wheldon Road Stadium.
And this will not be the first time Salford have had to say goodbye to key players. Last season, 12 players departed from the AJ Bell after the club’s memorable campaign, including the likes of Josh Jones and Jackson Hastings.
Salford brought in a fresh wave of talent for 2020, the likes of Dan Sarginson and Rhys Williams impressing so far for the Reds.
But whether the club can replace one of their own in Niall Evalds, a full-back who has reeked havoc for the rest of the league and been a key part of Salford’s attack for the past few seasons, is another matter.
The number one not just because of the number on his shirt will be a big loss for the club and its fans, who have watched him grow into one of Super League’s best players for almost eight seasons.
Image credit: PA Images