Ahead of their clash on Sunday, today we’re taking a look at how the Rhinos and Red Devils have performed throughout the season, giving us an insight into how the game could go on Sunday afternoon.
The two come into the game on the back of unexpected wins against two of the top four sides in the league, and with both sides vying for a play-off place come September, this fixture could be pivotal to the outcome of the final league table.
In terms of tries scored, Salford sit fifth in the table with 81. Leeds are just four behind on 77. Both teams try to play a free-flowing, attacking brand of rugby, as shown by the Red Devils averaging 30 points per game in July, and the Rhinos averaging 36. Expect a high-scoring contest at Headingley!
Games aren’t just about scoring tries, however. Making metres up the field and gaining territory goes a long way to bringing home the two points.
Leeds have made the third most metres this season, with an average of 1,290 per game. Salford sit 11th in the table, averaging 1,104 per game.
Surprisingly, Leeds made just 1,161 metres against Catalans, with Salford making 1,350 against St Helens. Look out for tries created from either team’s own half, as both teams have been known to score long-distance tries all season.
Defensively, both sides again are equally matched. Salford have made the eighth most tackles so far this season, with an average of 317 per game. Leeds are just one below that, averaging 316.
The same goes with missed tackles, Salford have made just 10 more missed tackles than Leeds this season. The game could go either way, so defence will be pivotal in seeing out the game and earning the two points.
Against Each Other:
The two have faced off twice this year, both at the AJ Bell Stadium, both finishing in Salford victories.
In Round 6, the home side made fewer metres and made 32 more tackles but still came away with a 26-12 win. The Rhinos had two sin bins from Zane Tetevano and Bodene Thompson on the night.
In Round 12, Paul Rowley’s side dominated the game, making 226 more meters than the Rhinos, and making 47 fewer tackles, despite having a man in the sin bin for ten minutes. Leeds lost 23-8 in what was Rohan Smith’s first game in charge.
Danger Man – Cameron Smith:
Smith has been in fine form recently and is quickly becoming one of Leeds’ best players. He has made over 100 metres in three of his last five games and is averaging 36 tackles a game this season.
The 23-year-old has made the loose forward position his own and looks certain to earn the number 13 shirt next year, which was made so famous by Kevin Sinfield. His link-up play with the halfbacks will be crucial in gaining the two points on Sunday.
Danger Man – Tim Lafai:
Lafai only joined Salford in December of last year, but so far has been a very good signing. The Samoan is top of the Super League offload chart and is averaging one try contribution a game for the Red Devils.
Watch out for the 31-year-old, he will no doubt have a huge influence on the outcome of the game, especially after a stellar performance that included three assists, seven tackle busts and just under 200 metres made.
*All Stats are taken from the Super League website