Salford vs Wigan - Super League Round 1 Preview

Wigan and Salford may on day 1 of the 2017 season, Wigan the victors on that occasion, claiming a 26-16 victory over the Red Devils. Salford and Wigan met 3 times in total last season, Wigan claiming 2 out of 3 victories, including a 42-6 win in the Super 8's.

The Warriors have a very good opening day record of recent with 2 wins and a draw from the last 3 seasons, however Salford have failed to take any points from an opening day fixture since 2014.

The Warriors start the season at full power, no injuries, all their players fresh from the break and a reduced warm up game schedule will fill their ranks with fire and energy for this fixture, Salford however are rocked by the recent injury of one of their star recruits, Manu Vatuvei, who sufffered a serious achilles injury during Salford's latest preseason fixture.

Salford Red Devils - 1. Gareth O'Brien 2. Greg Johnson 3. Kris Welham 4. Junior Sa'u 5. Niall Evalds 6. Robert Lui 7. Jack Littlejohn 8. Craig Kopczak 9. Logan Tomkins 10. George Griffin 11. Josh Jones 12. Weller Hauraki 13. Mark Flanagan 14. Lama Tasi 16. Luke Burgess 17. Tyrone McCarthy 19. Josh Wood 23. Lee Mossop 24. Jake Bibby

Wigan Warriors - 1. Sam Tomkins 2. Tom Davies 3. Dan Sarginson 4. Oliver Gildart 6. George Williams 7. Sam Powell 8. Tony Clubb 9. Thomas Leuluai 10. Ben Flower 11. Joel Tomkins 12. Liam Farrell 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Frank Paul Nuuausala 17. Taulima Tautai 19. Willie Isa 20. Morgan Escare 22. Liam Marshall 28. Liam Forsyth

Key match up - Robert Lui vs George Williams
Two crafty halfbacks with a quality running game, playing within a new partnership, the duty is on them to take control and dominate the play while controlling the tempo of the game.

Wigan come into 2018 with incredible flexibility in their spine, while this is a positive it also has very severe draw backs, such as players struggling to adapt to multiple playing styles, while most coaches will have their halves and hooker relatively on the same page, players do also have their own unique styles. Shaun Wane openly stating that Powell and Leuluai will rotate between halfback and hooker throughout games.

Salford new recruit Jack Littlejohn is going to have to be quick to adapt to Super League life, especially against this very tough Wigan side, how he links with Robert Lui is going to be pivotal to how Salford perform on the night. Salford's backs are also going to have to be very wary of Wigan attacking the edges, Dan Sarginson is a man with something to prove and Wigan have really hot contention for places in the backs, especially with Dom Manfredi returning from long term injury.

I'm going to have to call Wigan as the team that walk away from this fixture with the two points, Salford are a better side than the previous year coming into 2018 but still are lacking, Wigan look fresh and reinvigorated for the new season, I'm going to say Wigan by a margin of 10 to 20.



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