Leeds Rhinos v Salford Red Devils: Talking points ahead of the big game

Danny McGuire in action against Leigh.
Danny McGuire in action against Leigh.
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Leeds Rhinos begin their home Betfred Super League campaign on Friday night against Salford Red Devils.

Both teams will be looking to complete successive wins following hard-fought away victories last week.

Todd Carney.

Todd Carney.

Here are five talking points ahead of the game.

1: Rhinos’ recent home form hasn’t been good enough.

Last year they lost seven competitive fixtures at Headingley and even in the 2015 treble-winning season they were beaten there four times.

If Leeds are to have any chance of pressing for a top-four spot they have to win most of their home matches this year.

2: Rhinos love playing Salford. This will be the teams’ 39th meeting of the summer era and Leeds have won all but two so far.

Rhinos have won seven successive home games against Salford and on their last three visits to Headingley the Red Devils have conceded 140 points and scored only 18.

3: Salford look like being a better side than the one which only survived in Super League thanks to a sudden-death extra-time victory over Hull KR in last year’s million pound match.

But this may not be a bad time to play them, assuming Todd Carney isn’t drafted into their squad at the last minute.

The Aussie stand-off has had some good games against Leeds over the past couple of seasons and they will be harder to beat when he is in their 17.

4: A lot is resting on this game. With Leeds facing a tough trip to Castleford Tigers next Thursday, they could find themselves with just one win from their opening four matches - an identical record to last year - if they slip up against Salford.

But a win would send them to the Jungle in good heart and still in touch with the very early pace-setters.

5: It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon - as Rhinos legend Barrie McDermott would say - to work out what Leeds need to do better.

Irrespective of what Salford throw at them the key is to maintain their solid start in defence and add more creativity with the ball.

Captain Danny McGuire should be better with 50 minutes’ game time under his belt last week, but Leeds can’t keep turning over cheap possession the way they did at Leigh last week.

Matt Parcell.

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