Leeds Rhinos vs Salford Red Devils Predictions: Croft and Ackers to send former club packing

 | February 15 | 

3 mins read

George Riley Rugby League

Leeds Rhinos return to action at AMT Headingley looking for a big start to the season against a Salford Red Devils side from whom they have snared two of the biggest stars (kick-off 20:00 GMT).

The double signing of former Steve Prescott Man of Steel Brodie Croft and hooker Andy Ackers from the cash-strapped Red Devils has given Leeds fans hopes of an upturn in fortunes for 2024, with both sides having missed out on the play-offs altogether last season.

Leeds Rhinos v Salford Red Devils Tips

  • Leeds Rhinos to win by 11-15 points @ 6/1
  • Harry Newman anytime tryscorer @ EVS

Team news

Rhinos coach Rohan Smith has close to a full squad to select from with only Morgan Gannon, James McDonnell and Tom Holroyd unavailable.

Croft will link up with fellow new signing Matt Frawley in an exciting half-back pairing, with full-back Lachie Miller also a livewire. England stars Harry Newman and Mikolaj Oledzki are both fit to start the season having missed the start of the last campaign, and Leeds look a different side with those two fit.

Salford have a small squad that was further stretched by the loss of Croft and Ackers, followed by winger Joe Burgess, who departed after a disciplinary issue. Nene Macdonald is a shrewd acquisition and the centre will be hungry to do well against his former club, while retaining Tim Lafai and Ryan Brierley means Paul Rowley’s side are always capable of scoring tries.

Leeds Rhinos by 11-15 points @ 6/1 

The two fixtures between the sides last season were tight, with Salford winning by 10 at Headingley before the Rhinos exacted some revenge with a two-point win at the Salford Stadium.

But Salford have lost key members of their spine since then and their squad looks a little too thin after the departures of Croft, Ackers, Burgess and Tyler Dupree. Rowley’s sides always play with heart and flair so I expect there to be some points in this game, but Leeds look to have too much class.

A brand new spine can sometimes take a while to gel, but the difference here is that Croft and Ackers have a ready-made partnership from Salford that Leeds should swiftly adapt to, with fellow new recruits Frawley and Miller both impressing in pre-season.

There is some caution around Leeds, who don’t tend to start the season well, in fact the Rhinos have won just twice on the opening day since their treble-winning 2015 campaign so Salford fans travel with hope.

Leeds to be Salford by 11-15 pts @ 6/1

Harry Newman anytime tryscorer @ EVS

England centre Newman has just signed a new contract with Leeds, and feels he owes the club’s fans a big season after a dreadful run with injuries.

Having made his debut in 2017 this feels like the time for the 23-year-old to shine, having completed his first full pre-season for three years.

A fully-fit Newman normally scores tries, and with Croft and Frawley as a supply line he should not be short of opportunities.

Harry Newman Leeds tryscorer at evens

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