We look at what is being said as Super League’s Mose Masoe Round comes to a close on Saturday afternoon, with Hull FC taking on Salford Red Devils and Huddersfield Giants up against Catalans Dragons…
Taylor loving life in Super League
Elijah Taylor may have ended up on the losing team on his debut, but Salford’s off-season signing from Wests Tigers was delighted to get an opportunity to play in Super League.
The New Zealand international forward has been a long-time watcher of the competition from the other side of the world and was quick to seize the opportunity to play in Europe.
Taylor, who was chosen as Salford’s man of the match in the 29-6 loss to St Helens, will hope to taste victory for the first time in Super League when they take on Hull FC.
“I’m disappointed with the result obviously,” Taylor said. “We worked extremely hard over the last 12 weeks (of pre-season), but it was good to play Super League.
“I have always watched it since I started my career when I was 13 years old. I used to watch it when I was a little kid and to finally play my first game was pretty cool.”
Elsewhere in the team, Salford have Andy Ackers available again and that could see Danny Addy move into the back row.
Another reunion for Marshall
Having come up against his former boss in Kristian Woolf last week, Salford head coach Richard Marshall now takes on another familiar face in Hull FC boss Brett Hodgson.
Marshall was part of the coaching staff at Warrington Wolves during Hodgson’s successful spell there as a full-back and was always impressed with the Australian’s approach.
He is now seeing Hodgson put those skills into practice as a coach and believes he is already having an impact on certain players in the Black and Whites squad.
“He could see the next play, he was really smart and astute,” Marshall said of Hodgson. “He’ll be trying to put some of his playing background into the likes of Josh Reynolds and Jake Connor, which you can see he is doing.”
Hull come into the match after a resounding 22-10 win over Huddersfield on the opening weekend, but Hodgson is wary of the dangers posed by the Red Devils.
“They have a team of classy individuals,” Hodgson said. “A number of their key men can hurt you at any stage of the game.
“We need to make sure we are all connected defensively and supporting each other. Ultimately you need to cover your mate’s back in case he makes a poor read or an error.”
Salford Red Devils: Ken Sio, Kallum Watkins, Krisnan Inu, Tui Lolohea, Kevin Brown, Lee Mossop, Andy Ackers, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Ryan Lannon, Pauli Pauli, Elijah Taylor, Danny Addy, Josh Johnson, Elliot Kear, Harvey Livett, Rhys Williams, Dan Sarginson, Matty Costello, Jack Ormondroyd, Jack Wells, Dec Patton.
Hull FC: Jake Connor, Bureta Faraimo, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Mahe Fonua, Josh Reynolds, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Chris Satae, Andre Savelio, Manu Ma’u, Ligi Sao, Jordan Johnstone, Joe Cator, Jordan Lane, Brad Fash, Ben McNamara, Adam Swift, Connor Wynne, Cameron Scott.
Referee: Chris Kendall.
The Ian Watson era at Huddersfield got off to a losing start, with inspirational half-back and 2020 Man of Steel nominee Aidan Sezer a notable absentee for the Giants.
Sezer missed the game with a leg strain and is a doubt for Saturday’s clash with the Catalans after limping out of a training session this week too, while Ricky Leutele is sidelined with a broken hand.
Head coach Watson will not let his side hide behind injuries to key players as excuses for losses though and is adamant the Giants are still strong enough to get results even if players like Sezer are unavailable.
“We were still good enough to beat Hull,” Watson said. “They had their first-choice spine and team, we had a couple out, but it doesn’t matter.
“You win things through a squad – that’s the mentality that we have to get, it doesn’t matter who’s playing.
“We’re good enough to win with or without Aidan. Obviously you want Aidan to be in the team because he gives you that extra bit of quality, but I have every confidence in the group that we put out there that we are good enough to beat whoever we come up against.”
Huddersfield are, however, boosted by the return of loose forward Michael Lawrence – who is set to make his 300th appearance for the club – while Jake Wardle comes in for Leutele.
McNamara sees bright future for French RL
James Maloney may have grabbed many of the headlines for notching the golden-point winner for Catalans in their 29-28 win over Hull Kingston Rovers, but it was a big day for the club’s young players too.
Most notably, 22-year-old centre Matheiu Laguerre was chosen as man of the match and is one of a clutch of the next generation in France coming through.
Dragons head coach Steve McNamara hopes to see more of the same from both his new and old French players when they face Huddersfield on Saturday.
“He’s been with us for a couple of years now, but he was very thin,” McNamara said of Laguerre. “Physically, he wasn’t in a position to compete at that level and he’s worked very hard on that.
“He’s always had the ability and he’s got a great actual physique about him. He’s got the ability to be a really big centre and he’s starting to grow into that.
Préparation du match face à Huddersfield
— Dragons Catalans (@DragonsOfficiel) March 30, 2021
“I’m thrilled for the French game, there is a new national coach and (Sydney Roosters head coach) Trent Robinson is getting involved with that, and there are some new French players coming through.”
Laguerre keeps his place in the squad, while off-season recruit Gil Dudson is set to make his first appearance for the Dragons.
Huddersfield Giants: Jermaine McGillvary, Jake Wardle, Darnell McIntosh, Lee Gaskell, Aidan Sezer, Luke Yates, Adam O’Brien, Kenny Edwards, Michael Lawrence, Josh Jones, Matty English, Joe Greenwood, Jack Cogger, Chris McQueen, James Cunningham, Oliver Wilson, Leroy Cudjoe, James Gavet, Oliver Russell, Owen Trout, Sam Wood.
Catalans Dragons: Arthur Morgue, Tom Davies, Samisoni Langi, Dean Whare, Fouad Yaha, James Maloney, Josh Drinkwater, Gil Dudson, Julian Bousquet, Matt Whitley, Mike McMeeken, Benjamin Garcia, Alrix Da Costa, Benjamin Jullien, Paul Seguier, Lambert Belmas, Matthieu Laguerre, Jason Baitieri, Joe Chan, Sam Kasiano, Sam Tomkins.
Referee: Ben Thaler.