Where are they now? The Salford Red Devils side from their first meeting with St Helens at AJ Bell Stadium

Ben Olawumi
Joel Moon, Matty Smith, Adam Sidlow

From left to right: Joel Moon, Matty Smith & Adam Sidlow all form part of this Salford side

Salford had to wait until Round 18 to welcome St Helens to the then-known AJ Bell Stadium for the first time back in June 2012, and almost 12 years to the day, the pair will face off at the same venue again this weekend.

Then under the ‘City Reds’ tagline, Salford moved from The Willows into the AJ Bell – now simply known as the Salford Community Stadium – ahead of that 2012 campaign.

They would lose out 32-10 to the Saints in this clash, with Lance Hohaia, Josh Jones, Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Michael Shenton and now-head coach Paul Wellens all on the scoresheet with tries for the visitors.

5,447 were in attendance, and below, we look at where the Salford side from the game are today…

1. Luke Patten

Luke Patten
Luke Patten pictured in action for Salford City Reds in 2012

Despite agreeing a three-year deal, Australian Patten spent just two seasons with Salford having joined from NRL outfit Canterbury Bulldogs, and the 2012 campaign was the last of those. He had made close to 300 first-grade appearances Down Under, and never played again professionally after leaving the City Reds.

Upon returning home, he became a match official, and became the first ex-player from the NRL era to officiate in a Grand Final when he took up the role of video referee for the 2013 showpiece between Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles. The 44-year-old remains a Match Review Manager, but also holds a role as a sales representative for a waste management company.

2. Jodie Broughton

Leeds-born Broughton, now 36, racked up 99 Salford appearances between 2010 and 2013, scoring 60 tries and eventually departing for Huddersfield Giants. The City Reds were one of eight clubs the winger pulled a shirt on for in his career, and the club he made the most appearances for.

Having retired in 2021 following a season with Batley Bulldogs, Broughton took up a role as a quantity surveyor. He is now a cost estimator for a construction firm in Yorkshire as well as a wellbeing coach.

3. Joel Moon

Joel Moon
Joel Moon in action for Salford City Reds in 2012

36-year-old Moon is revered for what he achieved with Leeds Rhinos, but it was actually Salford that brought him over to Super League, signed from the New Zealand Warriors on a two-year deal ahead of 2012. The Queensland native had also starred for Brisbane Broncos in the NRL, and featured 19 times in total for the City Reds, scoring 11 tries.

Leeds paid Salford a fee for his signature at the end of that 2012 season, and he went on to win three Super League titles with the Rhinos, before returning to Australia come the conclusion of the 2018 campaign. He retired shortly after due to a chronic knee injury. Moon set up his own accountancy firm in Leeds back in 2013, and it would appear that business is still going today!

4. Sean Gleeson

Five-time Ireland international Gleeson, now 36, was with Salford for two seasons. Departing at the end of 2012 to join Hull KR, he’d scored 15 tries in 38 appearances for the City Reds.

The Wigan-born centre was forced to retire at just 26 midway through 2014 due to a serious eye injury he’d sustained when he was assaulted outside a nightclub in his hometown a few months prior. Since having to hang up his boots, Gleeson has been involved in property, recently opening a bar and bistro in Wigan.

5. Danny Williams

Danny Williams
Danny Williams in action for Salford City Reds in 2012

Dual-code star Williams was brought back into rugby league by Salford in July 2011 following a three-year stint in union with Newcastle Falcons, penning a two-and-a-half year deal with the City Reds after an unsuccessful trial spell with Hull KR. A two-time England international, the winger was one of Salford’s two try-scorers in this game against Saints.

With Salford until 2014, the 37-year-old was at the club as they adopted the ‘Red Devils’ tag in 2013, and didn’t make more appearances than his 56 for the Greater Manchester outfit for any other club in rugby league. The last 48 of his 136 in league came for Bradford Bulls, who he joined from the Red Devils in 2014. If you know what Williams is up to now, let us know!

6. Daniel Holdsworth

Playmaker Holdsworth was responsible for two of Salford’s 10 points in this game, kicking one of two conversion attempts. The Australian was brought to Super League by the City Reds in 2010, and – accruing 75 appearances – spent three seasons in Greater Manchester, with 2012 the last of those.

The ex-St George Illawarra Dragons & Canterbury Bulldogs ace eventually returned Down Under to finish his professional career off with Cronulla Sharks following a year at Hull FC. Now 40, Holdsworth hung up his boots in 2014. He has been an assistant coach at Cronulla since 2019, now one of Craig Fitzgibbon’s right-hand men.

7. Matty Smith

Matty Smith
Matty Smith in action for Salford City Reds in 2012

Smith had a loan spell with Salford in 2010, and after being recalled to play in the Grand Final that year by parent club Saints, he eventually joined them on a permanent basis ahead of the following season. 2012 was Smith’s final year in a City Reds shirt, departing at the end of that season for Wigan Warriors having made 76 appearances for the club in total.

The five-time England international, of course, went on to enjoy success with both Wigan & Saints after that, eventually retiring in 2022 following a stint in the Championship with Widnes Vikings. Now back at Saints, 36-year-old Smith is one of Paul Wellens’ assistants, and also heads up the club’s women’s side, recently guiding them to a fourth consecutive Challenge Cup triumph.

8. Shannan McPherson

Australian McPherson – now 38 – had initially agreed to join Crusaders ahead of 2012, but following their demise due to financial issues and subsequent withdrawal from Super League, that deal fell through with Salford snapping him up from South Sydney Rabbitohs instead.

He featured 32 times in total under the City Reds and Red Devils taglines before departing midway through 2014 to return home to Australia for compassionate reasons. McPherson signed for Parramatta Eels ahead of the 2015 season, but that never materialised, and Salford were the last team he played for. The Aussie is now a personal trainer in the Greater Sydney area.

9. Stuart Howarth

Stuart Howarth
Stuart Howarth in action for Salford City Reds in 2012

A product of Wigan’s academy, Howarth donned the shirt of 11 clubs during his career at senior level, but the Warriors weren’t one having departed prior to making a debut. Salford were joint-top – alongside Wakefield Trinity – in terms of the clubs he made the most appearances for with 39, contracted to the City Reds/Red Devils from 2012 to 2014.

The utility, now 34, hung up his boots in 2019 following a handful of appearances for Rochdale Hornets which took his total career tally up to 173. He became a science teacher upon retiring from the game, and since 2022, has been in a headteacher role at a school in Wigan.

10. Adam Sidlow

Sidlow is the only man in this team that’s still with Salford today. When he lined up for of this game, the forward was 24 and approaching the end of his first stint with the City Reds, ending with 98 appearances for the club when he left for Bradford at the end of the 2012 season.

Having already donned the shirts of both Widnes & Workington Town, he would go on to play for Toronto Wolfpack & Leigh Centurions before returning to Salford ahead of last season. Now 36, Sidlow took his appearance tally for the Red Devils up to 111 with 13 games played in 2023, though he is yet to feature this term through injury.

11. Matty Ashurst

Matty Ashurst
Matty Ashurst in action for Salford City Reds in 2013

Wakefield captain Ashurst – now 34 – is currently in his 10th season with Trinity having signed for them from Salford back in 2015. The back-rower, a Chorley Panthers & Wigan St Patrick’s junior, had spent three seasons with the City Reds/Red Devils having joined them from Saints ahead of the 2012 campaign.

He racked up 75 appearances for the Greater Manchester outfit across those three seasons before departing for Belle Vue, and now has over 200 Wakefield appearances on his CV, reaching the milestone of 350 in his career at Wembley earlier this month as he captained Trinity to glory in the 1895 Cup final against Sheffield Eagles.

12. Vinnie Anderson

Six-time Kiwi international Anderson, born in Auckland, was Salford’s other try-scorer in this game. His two years with the City Reds came to an end come the conclusion of the 2012 campaign amid financial issues at the club. He’d also pulled on a shirt for both Saints & Warrington Wolves in Super League after making the move over from NRL outfit New Zealand Warriors.

The 45-year-old linked up with French Elite Championship side AS Carcassonne after his exit from Salford, and would also go on to take up a player-coach role at Villegailhenc-Aragon XIII. Anderson only retired last year at the age of 44, given a hero’s farewell with the performance of the haka. If anyone knows what he’s been up to since hanging up his boots, let us know!

13. Stephen Wild

Luke Patten, James Roby, Stephen Wild
Salford City Reds duo Luke Patten (left) & Stephen Wild (right) fail in their attempt to stop St Helens ace James Roby scoring a try at Langtree Park in February 2012

Wigan-born utility Wild – who debuted with the Warriors – spent three seasons with the City Reds/Red Devils, joining in 2011 and leaving at the end of the 2013 campaign when he linked up with North Wales Crusaders. The 43-year-old, a Wigan St Patrick’s junior, represented England, Great Britain & Lancashire before signing for Salford from Huddersfield.

His 74 appearances for the Greater Manchester outfit is the lowest tally in the colours of any of the four clubs he played for in his career, going on to feature 85 times for Crusaders and taking his career appearance tally up to 392. Wild is now the director of his mind, body & health wellbeing company.

14. Ben Gledhill (Interchange)

A product of Castleford Tigers’ academy, 34-year-old Gledhill’s career in professional rugby league was a short one, making 48 appearances between four clubs in four seasons. 14 of those came for Salford between 2012 and 2013, scoring his only career try for them.

The prop spent the back end of the 2012 campaign in the second tier with Sheffield before switching codes to rugby union and playing for Darlington RUFC. When he returned to league a couple of years later, it was at community level, joining Dewsbury-based Shaw Cross Sharks. If you know what he’s up to now, let us know!

15. Iafeta Palea’aesina (Interchange)

Iafeta Palea'aesina
Iafeta Palea’aesina in action for Salford City Reds in 2012

Auckland-born ex-New Zealand Warriors ace Palea’aesina made 45 appearances for the City Reds between 2011 and 2012 having joined from Wigan. He had a brief stint in the French Elite with Limoux Grizzlies before returning to Super League with Hull FC, who the powerhouse went on to make 50 appearances for.

After rounding off his career at Doncaster, the four-time Kiwi international became Hull’s Player Welfare Manager, and was with the Airlie Birds until last December. Having turned 41 in February, Palea’aesina is still in Hull, working for a local scaffolding company.

16. Jordan James (Interchange)

A 28-time Wales international, Bath-born James made a total of 325 career appearances including 45 for Salford between 2012 and 2013. The City Reds/Red Devils were one of nine clubs he donned a shirt for, and when he departed, he re-joined Wigan.

Going on to take up a role as an under-19s coach with the Warriors, the forward – an ex-Royal Marine Commando – rounded off his playing days with Swinton Lions in 2015, ad is now a barber!

17. Chris Nero (Interchange)

Chris Nero
Chris Nero in action for Salford City Reds in 2012

Nero played a handful of NRL games for St George Illawarra before moving to Super League with Huddersfield in 2004. He also played for Bradford prior to joining Salford in 2011, and went on to make 52 appearances for the City Reds/Red Devils before departing the club in 2013 after sustaining a neck injury.

The Sydney-born ace – who has Italian heritage – is now 43 and back home in Australia. If anyone knows what he’s up to now, let us know!

Head coach: Phil Veivers

Queensland-born Veivers was promoted from assistant and handed the Salford job on an interim basis when Shaun McRae became ill in 2011. Eventually made permanent, the 60-year-old was sacked just four games into the 2013 season.

His only other head coach role since was with Workington, in charge of the Cumbrian outfit from 2014 to 2016. And having been on the RFL’s Match Review Panel, Veivers is now a keynote speaker on mental health, and holds a role as a wellbeing & lifestyle coach.

St Helens’ line-up from their first trip to the AJ Bell Stadium in 2012

Mike Rush
Mike Rush stepped in as interim head coach for St Helens during the 2012 season following the departure of Royce Simmons

Starting 13: Paul Wellens, Tommy Makinson, Michael Shenton, Josh Jones, Francis Meli, Lance Hohaia, Jonny Lomax, Tony Puletua, James Roby, Anthony Laffranchi, Chris Flannery, Iosia Soliola, Jon Wilkin

Interchanges: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paul Clough, Lee Gaskell, Mark Flanagan

Head coach: Mike Rush