“It’s a good partnership” – Tongan reunion excites Salford coach Richard Marshall

Salford coach Richard Marshall is excited at the prospect of reuniting half-backs Tui Lolohea and Ata Hingano, who almost helped Tonga pull off a famous victory over England the last time they played together.

Lolohea returns to his old club Leeds on Friday night as the Red Devils look to make it three Super League wins in a row and he could be partnered by Hingano, the club’s new signing who arrived in the country a week ago.

They were in harness when the Tongans came from 20-0 down against England to cut the gap to just two points in a dramatic World Cup semi-final in Auckland in 2017.

Marshall said: “It’s a good partnership. They’ve got some synergy there and they’ve played in big games together.

“They are both quality players and to have them both in the team would be exciting for our fans.

“We identified Ata as a long-term project for us, he can improve us going forward, not just this year but in the future.

“We’re hopeful Ata will be involved in the 17. Tui has been ill but he managed to get through the game last week and hopefully he’ll play this week.

“It’s no given though that they’ll be in front of Chris Atkin, who has been one of our best players this season.”

The arrival of Hingano, coupled with the return from suspension of Dan Sarginson, Lee Mossop and Jack Wells, has given Marshall something of a selection headache.

He said: “A week is a long time in rugby league. Last week we had 17 players and I was biting my fingernails through team run hoping no one would get injured.

“This week we’ve a few more players to pick from and we’ve been flying into each other at training.”

Leeds coach Richard Agar has also named his strongest squad of the season for a match he hopes will draw the first five-figure crowd in Super League for over 12 months.

Agar said: “It has been great having 4,000 in but hopefully we can get a 10,000-plus crowd here and create a wonderful atmosphere.

“There is no better place to play on a Friday night, in my opinion, in world rugby league than Headingley.”

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