Salford coach Richard Marshall ups training intensity ahead of Saints reunion
Every team in Super League will want to knock champions Saints off their lofty perch as they focus on a hat-trick of title wins.
Most clubs have spent wisely in the transfer market during the off-season. including Saints, who have recruited Joel Thompson (Manly Sea Eagles), Agnatius Paasi (New Zealand Warriors), Sione Mata'utia (Newcastle Knights), and Dan Norman (London Broncos) but at the same time have released Joseph Paulo, Dom Peyroux (both Toulouse Olympique), Jack Ashworth (Huddersfield Giants), Callum Hazzard (North Wales Crusaders), Joe Sharratt (Barrow Raiders), and James Graham (retired).
On the other hand, Salford, who they play in the opening fixture at Emerald Headingley a week on Friday, have snapped up Morgan Escare, Joe Burgess and Jack Wells (all Wigan Warriors), Harvey Livett, Declan Patton (both Warrington Wolves), Danny Addy (Leigh Centurions), Elijah Taylor (Wests Tigers), Sebastine Ikahihifo, Oliver Roberts (both Huddersfield Giants, loan), Sam Luckley, Darcy Lussick (both free agents) and allowed Niall Evalds (Castleford Tigers), Gil Dudson (Catalans Dragons), Kris Welham (Featherstone Rovers),and Mark Flanagan (retired) to depart.
Added spice will also be added to the occasion by the fact that the Red Devils, who were beaten in the 2020 Challenge Cup Final by Leeds Rhinos, are now coached by Richard Marshall - no.2 to Kristian Woolf at St Helens last season.
Woolf and Marshall will obviously be well versed in each other's style of play and tactical nous and the battle of wits is likely to be as intriguing off the field as on it.
Marshall, who has had success as assistant head coach at St Helens, where he helped the club to Grand Final victories against Wigan Warriors (2020) and Salford (2019) will be hoping to bring that level of success to his new home.
''I hope to carry on with Salford where I left off at St Helens and that's my aim,'' said the 45-year-old Warrington-born coach.
Marshall said: “I learned quite a lot as an assistant to Kristian. I worked with some international, world-class players. and we've now implemented some of the ideas, the skills and levels of intensity in training that a team like St Helens would practice at.
“But also this is Salford who are used to getting to finals and have done really well over the last couple of years, so the level of intensity between the two is not too dissimilar.
“We’ve improved our skill level, we’ve improved our fitness and our overall strength in combat, so I think we’re in good shape.”