Salford Red Devils defeated Wigan Warriors 20-6 at the AJ Bell yesterday afternoon to secure new head coach Richard Marshall a win in his maiden game.
In a positive pre-season warm-up for the 2021 season, the Red Devils got the better of last year’s Grand Finalists in a strong defensive display.
Speaking after the game, Marshall was pleased that his new team brought what they had been working on in training, into their performance.
He said: “I could certainly see some of the things we’d spoken about and implemented in pre-season out on the field but it was a friendly, let’s not get carried away.
“There’s still a lot to do but from a coaching standpoint, yeah we’re really pleased with that.”
The most encouraging aspect of the victory for Marshall was how his side defended, preventing Wigan from getting a look in.
He said: “I think traditionally we’ve been a very good attacking team, I think our outside backs are outstanding and we’ve challenged our forwards, our middles and our pack to do the same.
“When you play against Wigan you have to [defend well] because they are a very aggressive forward dominated team, I think we more than matched them in that area.
“All be it, they had a young team out in the second half, so did we with an eye on the next couple of weeks and getting everybody fresh.”
He continued to praise his side’s defensive performance, saying: “I thought our defensive mindset was first class.”
The big setback from the win was a head injury to influential prop James Greenwood. On the injury, Marshall said: “That’s probably the only negative for us today, he was working really hard, he just got his head in the wrong place.
“He lost a bit of consciousness for a while but he’s fine now, he’s on his feet and in the changing rooms in and around the players.
“That is something of concern for us but we have a great medical facility, he’ll get looked after.”
However, Marshall seemed positive that Greenwood will be fit to start Salford’s Super League opener against St Helens in two weeks time.
He said: “Yeah, usually it’s the seven days, obviously we haven’t got a game next week, so all being well, providing he does all his return to play protocols, he should be fine.”
He has the difficult challenge of picking a 17-man squad for the season opener against St Helens and he admitted that it’s going to be a hard decision to make.
Marshall said: “It’ll be tough to pick a 17 out of that, we had a good innings against St Helens the week before and we had a good outing against Wigan there, everybody’s vying for a starting position.”