Paul Rowley on who has impressed during pre-season and new half-back partnership

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  • Paul Rowley
    English rugby league footballer and coach

Salford head coach Paul Rowley has praised new signing Deon Cross as someone who has impressed during the club’s pre-season.

Cross made the switch from Widnes during the off-season on a one-year deal, with the option of a second.

The winger began his career at Rochdale in 2018, before moving to Barrow in 2019 for one season. He signed with Widnes ahead of the 2020 season, and completed his dream Super League move to Salford in October.

He linked up with new coach Rowley during pre-season, and received shirt number 28 for the 2022 campaign.

Paul Rowley delighted with Deon Cross

“I think he’s been really good,” said Rowley on Cross.

“We were quite tough on him at the beginning in a productive manner. I think he has been, again like most of the lads, really receptive and really coachable and adaptable.

“I think these last few weeks he’s really shown his true worth. He’s been fantastic.”

Salford to have new half-back partnership in 2022

2022 will see the Red Devils combine a new partnership in the halves. Brodie Croft has made the move from the NRL on a two-year deal. Marc Sneyd also returns from Hull for the upcoming Super League campaign.

“It’s been really good. Excellent, to be honest,” Rowley said on his new partnership.

“It’s a new spine with a new full-back and two new halves. They have a lot of dialogue, they’re very conscientious. They’re talking on and off the field, fixing things and asking questions and finding solutions.

“There’s lots and lots of good signs. Obviously the ability is there for all to see and all with different attributes.

“It’s a great fit.”

Read more: Salford move came out of nowhere, admits Marc Sneyd

Salford set for debutants against Swinton

Salford are set to host League 1’s Swinton in their first pre-season fixture this Saturday at the AJ Bell Stadium.

While up to 11 players may miss out due to injuries and Covid, Rowley revealed that a handful of the new faces will make their first appearance.

“We’ll be stretched in terms of numbers, it’s not ideal,” he said.

“But I do believe that we’ve had a really successful pre-season that’s brought a few people in like Deon Cross, who has proven invaluable and can play a number of positions.

“We’ll see players like that, who might not have got a shout just as early, to stake a claim for a starting position in that first fixture against Castleford.

“Other than that, I think it’s more of a physical box ticker for us. Progression in terms of what we’ve done in running and things that you can only get from actually playing the game, so like repetition and in game fitness. That will be our main objective and it gives a start point, in terms of teaching video and something to work on for the next three weeks.”

Brodie Croft, Sita Akauola, King Vuniyayawa and Shane Wright are all expected to pull on the Salford shirt for the first time against Swinton.

READ MORE: Three Challenge Cup fixtures to be shown live this weekend

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