Salford Red Devils coach Paul Rowley provides update on injured duo after St Helens win

Drew Darbyshire
Tim Lafai Ryan Brierley Salford Red Devils Alamy

Tim Lafai (left) and Ryan Brierley (right) in action for Salford Red Devils in 2024

Salford Red Devils coach Paul Rowley provided an injury update on Tim Lafai and Ryan Brierley following their 20-18 win over St Helens.

Samoa international Lafai was a late withdrawal from Rowley’s matchday 17, having pulled his hamstring in the warm up. As a result, back-rower Sam Stone impressively filled the void in the centres left by Lafai, with 18th man Nathan Connell coming onto the bench.

“He pulled his hammy in the warm up,” Rowley said in his post-match press conference. “It’s as simple as that really, we got a quick message, he felt it pop so it’s as simple as that, we made a quick change and a reflection of the group is that nobody batted an eyelid to be honest, we were all chilled about it and Sam Stone stepped in and did a great job.”

Salford fullback Ryan Brierley hasn’t played since their defeat to Wigan Warriors on May 26 due to a shoulder injury, but Rowley said the Scotland international isn’t far away from returning.

“He was touch and go for this week but we were comfortable with Chris Hankinson because his form is great,” Rowley added.

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Salford Red Devils boss Paul Rowley shares praise for Joe Mellor after win over St Helens

Joe Mellor has impressed for the Red Devils since his arrival from Leigh Leopards in the off-season, making nine appearances so far.

The 33-year-old made 28 tackles against Saints as well as making nine carries, with seven of those coming from dummy half.

“Joe is doing what we know Joe can do,” Rowley said. “He’s a footballer isn’t he? We’ve got quite a few old school footballers in our team which we like and he just takes his opportunities.

“He probably doesn’t look like your stereotypical hooker, short and nuggety, he almost looks awkward at times but don’t underestimate Joe, he’s a good footballer and he’s tough.

“His impact on the team has been brilliant because he just does things at the right time and the rest of his game is consistent, he’s a strong defender which is really important as a nine in the middle of the field. He has been fantastic.”

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