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16th May 2019, 12:25 | super_league

St Helens coach Holbrook wary of 'dangerous' Salford

St Helens coach Holbrook wary of 'dangerous' Salford

Salford Red Devils seek to bridge a 39-year gap when they take on Betfred Super League leaders St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday.

Salford have won five times away from home so far this season, most notably at second-placed Warrington Wolves, but they have lost 34 successive fixtures on the road against Saints since gaining an 18-17 victory at Knowsley Road in January 1980.

St Helens also triumphed 26-4 at the AJ Bell Stadium in February, but coach Justin Holbrook is wary of the threat posed by Ian Watson’s men.

“We know what they are capable of,” Holbrook said. “They had a great, dominant win over Warrington a couple of weeks back and went over to Catalans (Dragons) and thumped them over there, which nobody has been able to do.

“So they are a real dangerous attacking team. They execute their plays really well. Every team run plays, but there is a difference between running plays and executing it well and Salford do run their plays really well.

“Jackson Hastings and Robert Lui in the halves are the dominant playmakers in their side and do a really good job for them.” 

Saints are without skipper James Roby, who rests a minor injury, while Salford will give a debut to giant forward Pauli Pauli, who has joined them on a month’s loan from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

Pauli was a tryscorer in Trinity’s 33-22 win over Salford at the Mobile Rocket Stadium in March but is now hoping to make an impact for his new club.

“It’s always exciting to get on the field with a new bunch of blokes and see how they play,” he said.

“St Helens are a top team, so hopefully we can prove this week that we can do something. 

“I just want to turn up for the boys and play. That’s why I enjoy playing and that’s what I’m here for.”

Wales international Morgan Knowles will make his 100th appearance for Saints.

In Friday’s other game, Hull KR go to Huddersfield Giants hoping to atone for a 42-8 defeat at the John Smith’s Stadium in March.

Rovers were without a host of senior players that day, including veteran stand-off Danny McGuire and props Rob Mulhern and Mitch Garbutt, who will all be in the side this time as they seek to halt a four-match losing run in the league.