Salford City Reds have had a disruptive pre season with the departure of Matt Parish after only five months in the role.
He was quickly replaced by assistant Phil Veivers, who will continue as head coach throughout the remainder of 2012. Veivers will be joined by Sean Long on the coaching staff as the club anticipate playing Super League rugby in their new Salford City Stadium near Barton.
Salford have recruited reasonably well, including NRL finalist experience in Joel Moon. Shannan McPhearson signed for the City Reds after his move with Crusaders fell through, and is a suitable replacement for the retiring Ray Cashmere. Youngster Theo Fages is highly rated from Pia, and could prove to be an unknown entity in his first couple of games for the Reds.
However the loss of stand off Stefan Ratchford could be too much for Veivers’ side. He proved to be a lone star in leading Salford to what little success Salford had, but showed ounces of brilliance that proved he can be a major international star with a decent pack in front of him, which is what the Reds have been missing for some time.
Key man: Joel Moon
Joel Moon moved to New Zealand Warriors to play his preferred position of half back. However coach Ivan Cleary decided his best position was in the three quarters, and he has remained there throughout 2011. Moon has never represented Australia, but was part of the Indigenous All-Star team that took on the NRL All-Stars last season. He is a versatile back who can adapt and provides a wealth of high intensity experience.
One-to-watch: Adam Neal
Adam Neal is a youngster who was signed by Shaun McRae before leaving the club. He originally signed on loan for the Reds from Warrington where he was brought up in ther academy. However Neal failed to impress at Warrington under the Tony Smith regime, and signed for Salford permanently. He has proved to be a hard working player who is never shy of making hard yards. He is set for a big year in 2012 as he looks to take on the experienced props for a regular starting position.
Prediction: Same struggling side but different surroundings for the Reds this season, 13th.
Super League Grand Final Odds: 66/1 (11th favourites)
League Leader Odds: 80/1 (11th)
Challenge Cup Odds: 66/1 (12th)
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Squad: Luke Patten, Jodie Broughton, Sean Gleeson, Joel Moon, Danny Williams, Daniel Holdsworth, Matty Smith, Lee Jewitt, Wayen Godwin, Ryan Boyle, Matty Ashurst, Shannon McPherson, Stephen Wild, Chris Nero, Adam Sidlow, Luke Adamson, Iafeta Paleaaesina, Ashley Gibson, Adam Neal, Ben Gledhill, Jordon James, Marc Snyd, Gareth Owen, Theo Fages, Vinnie Anderson, Adam Walne, Jordon Walne, Callum Marriot, Niall Evalds, George Tyson, Andy Morris, John Ford, Jack Holmes.