Chris Atkin ready to fill void left by Brodie Croft in semi-final showdown

Chris Atkin Salford Red Devils SWpix

Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix

Chris Atkin is ready to step into the shoes of Man of Steel nominee Brodie Croft when Salford travel to St Helens on Saturday for a place in the Grand Final.

Star half-back Croft has been ruled out of Saturday’s semi-final. He failed a head injury assessment in their impressive 28-0 win over Huddersfield in the first round of the play-offs.

Red Devils coach Paul Rowley is now likely to turn to 29-year-old Atkin, who has largely been used as a utility player from the bench this season.

He has been on the bench 18 times in 2022 and started just two games. However, he has plenty of experience in the halves; and slotted effortlessly into the role for the second half at Huddersfield after Croft left the field.

“It’s not ideal losing any player through injury but we do a lot of work on the training field to prepare for situations like that,” Atkin said.

“For this week I’m sure the coaching staff will make a decision to give ourselves the best chance of winning the game.

“Brodie’s been outstanding. He’s rightly up there for Man of Steel so they are big shoes to fill but, if selected in that position, I will give it my best.”

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Saints will be rested by a week off, courtesy of their first-placed finish. But Paul Rowley’s men are on a roll. Their impressive late run which clinched the last place in the play-offs included a 44-12 thrashing of the champions.

“We will obviously review that, pick out some things that worked and what didn’t work, but this is a semi-final,” Atkin said. “It’s a different ball game.

“We’re trying to focus on week to week, not to get too far ahead. We know we’re going to have to produce our best game to beat St Helens.

“They are the best team in the league but we will go there fully prepared and ready for battle.

“We’ve worked really hard over the course of the season and back in pre-season for these opportunities.

“We’ve got a bit of confidence from our recent performances and that one on Saturday was something the fans deserve.”

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