Manuokafoa looks to down Devils

AFP| Last Updated: Apr 09, 2014, 18:49 PM IST

London: Bradford Bulls racked up a confidence-boosting Challenge Cup thrashing on Sunday but Manase Manuokafoa knows Salford Red Devils -- and one man in particular -- will be a much trickier obstacle.

The cash-strapped Bulls welcome Super League`s rich kids to Odsal on Friday seeking to end a run of four straight defeats in the competition.

Bradford`s 60-6 win against Oldham in the cup offered some light relief from their slumping league form, while Salford needed a golden-point extra time drop goal to see off Hull FC last Thursday.

It was a fit-again Rangi Chase who provided the final say for Salford and former South Sydney man Manuokafoa knows the New Zealand-born stand-off can be a game-changer.

"Rangi is back and he is a class player," he said. "He is one of the best players in the world.

"Salford are a good team -- they have got quality players all around the park. We have just got to bring our A game.

"The cup win gives us some momentum and to win the way we did is a confidence booster for the team."

A Bradford win on Friday will return Super League`s bottom club to where they started -- zero points -- after they were handed a six-point deduction in February for entering administration.Mandy Koukash, wife of Salford owner Dr Marwan, then led a takeover attempt but she was beaten to the punch by Marc Green and Manuokafoa believes the newfound stability can help the players focus again.

"It takes off a bit of pressure and stress," he said.

"We didn`t know what was going to happen and now that he has taken care of it we can focus on footy, which is what we are paid to do.

"It is a massive relief. It was just the uncertainty -- you didn`t know what was going on.

"Every point counts and it is going to matter when it comes to the play-offs at the end of the season. We are not going to give the two points away easily."

The Red Devils will also be boosted by the signing of Logan Tomkins on a month`s loan from defending Super League champions Wigan.

Tomkins, whose older brother Sam is now in the NRL with New Zealand Warriors and eldest brother Joel an England international in rugby union, is the first signing of ex-Wigan assistant turned Salford coach Iestyn Harris.

"I am confident that Logan will enjoy a successful period here with us. I know the strengths of his game well, and can`t wait for him to join us here," said Harris.

Elsewhere Widnes, the surprise packages of Super League so far this season, travel to France to face Catalan Dragons hoping to keep hold of their place in the top four.

And the news former New South Wales full-back Brett Hodgson has signed on as assistant coach is an added lift for Denis Betts`s side.

The 36-year-old, who retired as a player in 2013, has been working as a part-time coaching consultant this season with the Vikings but has signed a two-year deal to become an assistant coach.

"I`ve just been trying to get my experience across to the players and I`m just really excited by the opportunity Widnes have given me," he said.

"To be given this chance on a full-time basis from next pre-season is great for me."
Fixtures (1900GMT unless stated)


Hull FC v Huddersfield


Bradford v Salford, Castleford v St Helens, Leeds v Wakefield, Warrington v Hull K R, Wigan v London Broncos


Catalan Dragons v Widnes (1330GMT)