Super League Heroes – Liam Salter

07
Jul
Category: Heritage

Super League Heroes – Liam Salter

Liam Salter was born in Hull in June 1993 and was Rovers fan from a young age. As a boy, he attended games with his mother and father, who are still ardent Robins supporters. He joined the Robins’ Academy and progressed through the system to make his first team debut on the right wing in an away game against Catalan Dragons in March 2012 – becoming only the second player in the club’s history, after Michael Smith in 2005, to make his full debut for the club outside the UK.

He made 12 appearances in his debut season, having to wait until the ninth of those for his first try for the club, at Bradford on 10 August that year; immediately following this up with two at home to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in the following game.

It was in the 2013 season that Salter established himself as a first team regular at Craven Park, missing only five matches all season. That season he suffered the extremes of emotions over the Easter period; playing in his first derby game on Good Friday and helping his wing man, David Hodgson, to score two tries in a 23-10 win at the KC, before crashing down to earth on Easter Monday, as Rovers suffered their heaviest ever loss, at home to Wigan. Less than two months later, his first appearance at Magic Weekend ended in heartbreak, as the Robins, have dominated their game against the Black & Whites, were cruelly denied by refereeing decisions in the closing stages.

2014 brought another highlight, as Rovers gained full revenge on their neighbours at Magic Weekend, and Salter scored two tries in the 38-24 win. The following week he made his 50th appearance in a 48-16 home win over London Broncos, and again missed only a handful of appearances all season.

In 2015, the signing of Darryl Goulding restricted his early season appearances, and with Kieran Dixon challenging for the right wing berth, Rovers also opted to play Ken Sio at centre on half a dozen occasions. Nonetheless, Salter missed only one game in the Challenge Cup run, playing a full part in the wins over Catalan and Warrington, and earning his place in the Wembley side.

The arrival of Iain Thornley and Thomas Minns restricted his opportunities in 2016, and he appeared only three times in the first team, whilst also playing on dual registration at Newcastle Thunder. Salter also had to endure the agonies of Rovers relegation in the ‘Million Pound game’ that season from the stands.

Salter’s next appearance for the Robins, over a year after his last, was in the second row at home to Batley Bulldogs in April 2017, and he celebrated with a two-try haul. Although Minns and Thomas Heffernan were the first choice centres that season, Salter still managed 20 appearances as Rovers clinched promotion back to Super League, and he made his 100th appearance for the Robins in a 40-22 win at home to London on 2 July.

With Rovers back in Super League, 20 more appearances followed in 2018, but it was to be Salter’s last season with Rovers. Although Minns and Heffernan both played their last games for the Robins at home to Widnes in early April, Junior Vaivai made his debut the following week, ‘Bobby’ Blair made several appearances at centre, and Ben Crooks arrived to made his debut in the final league game of the season. Salter and Crooks played in the centres in the 20-16 win at the KC that day, in what was to be Salter’s last derby game. A couple of months later, he made his final appearance, like his first, also in France, on the wing in a Super Eights qualifier against Toulouse Olympique. Although Rovers lost that game, they ensured their Super League place by beating Widnes at home the following week, but Salter could only watch from the stand.

At only 25 years of age, Liam Salter was by then Rovers longest-serving player. He played in 123 games for the Robins, mainly at centre, scoring 22 tries. At six feet in height and weighing 14 and a half stones, he was an ideal build for a centre. He was a solid and reliable performer, who always gave 100% for the club. Ultimately, he achieved what many fellow supporters only dream of – playing for the club he supported as a boy, scoring tries for them in derby games, winning promotion, and playing at Wembley.

After leaving Rovers, Salter embarked on the second chapter of his rugby league career by signing for York City Knights.

 

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