Salford Red Devils have seen something of an overhaul in the off-season with no less than 10 new players coming into the team.
With the likes of Rangi Chase, Theo Fages and Harrison Hansen among those to depart Ian Watson had some rebuilding to do and has done just that with a number of new arrivals.
Mark Flanagan and Joshua Jones have joined from St Helens and are joined by Philip Joseph (Widnes), Craig Kopczak (Huddersfield), Robert Lui (North Queensland Cowboys), Ben Murdoch-Masila (Penrith Panthers), Gareth O’Brien (Warrington) and Daniel Vidot (Brisbane Broncos) among others and after a dominating pre-season win over Wigan expectations are high for the season ahead.
But can the new-look Red Devils really compete?
The betting suggests the Manchester side will struggle to bother the honours list, with odds of 66/1 on a League Leaders Shield, 50/1 on a Grand Final win and 40/1 on a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup triumph.
It’s 14/1 that Watson’s men achieve a top four finish but at 13/8 for a top eight finish it seems relegation fears are not something that will hamper the Red Devils in the coming campaign.
With this in mind, and the newly-formed squad being something of an unknown quantity, there are plenty who expect big things this season.
Ex-Salford prop Scott Taylor, now with Hull FC, recently pointed to the arrival of former Australia coach Tim Sheens and a huge coup for his former side.
“Tim Sheens has been the best appointment they have made and I think Ian Watson is a great bloke,” he told the Hull Daily Mail.
“Ian is doing really well as head coach but to have Tim there is huge for the club. The changes he has made will take Salford in the right direction. They’ve recruited really well, especially in the outside backs.”
So, while the betting suggests the Red Devils remain a long way off a trophy, the ringing endorsement from a former player suggests there is plenty of reason of optimism for the season ahead.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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