You, Me & Dupree: Salford & Hull KR At War On And Off The Field At Magic Weekend

The two sides meet at St James' with a transfer saga happening in the background
10:00, 31 May 2023

If Salford Red Devils went public about Tyler Dupree’s transfer request in order to attract more bidders, it worked. If Hull Kingston Rovers thought a second bid for the England prop’s services would be enough to drag him away from the AJ Bell, it didn’t.

And on Saturday, Betfred Super League’s latest iteration of the hugely-popular Magic Weekend begins with Dupree in action for the Red Devils against the club whose initial approaches led to the very overt fall-out between the player and a Salford outfit who might just come out of this whole episode with a good deal in the bag.

Rovers’ push to become one of the leading figures in Super League both on and off the field led to them making a reported six-figure offer for Dupree’s signature. When that was rebuffed, they improved on it. Salford’s response at the beginning of last week was seemingly definitive.


“I can confirm the club have received a transfer request from the agent of Tyler Dupree today,” said director of rugby Ian Blease in a club statement. “We have strongly refused the request, with the player still a big part of our plans going forward.

“As a club, we are committed to retaining our players and after a recent extension, Tyler is contracted until the end of 2025.”

The pot has been stirred in recent days though, with Wigan Warriors seemingly joining the race for the front-rower who made his England debut against France earlier in May. The five-time Super League champions have reportedly offered a huge cash transfer fee and also thrown in a potential loan player, knowing that the extra carrot might help to persuade Salford to sell given their uncertain financial status.

The Red Devils only signed Dupree a year ago from Widnes, bringing him into the side midway through the 2022 season for a win against Leeds Rhinos. A big transfer credit would go down as great business for the club on a 12-month turnaround, while the offer of a loan player would see them immediately off-set the loss of a first-team player and they would also be saving on the final two-and-a-half years of Dupree’s contract.


Whatever the result of this saga, Salford and Hull KR raise the curtain at St James’ Park in Newcastle with the first of three games being played on Saturday. And if Dupree is still a Salford player by the weekend, the least you’ll be able to expect from him is a 100 per cent committed performance from him if Sunday’s win over Hull FC was anything to go by.

“He’s training well, he played well, and he’s our player for the next three years,” Red Devils coach Paul Rowley said of Dupree after a try-scoring display in the 29-22 win over the Airlie Birds. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m looking forward to carrying on coaching him for the next three seasons.

“If it’s anything to do with me, [a transfer] won’t be happening. We will look after him and nurture him, and pay him what he’s worth, and that will be the door shut. That would be a strong message from our club because for so long we’ve been a selling club, so we need to back that up now.”

Salford will be looking for revenge on a Rovers side they lost 24-10 to at the AJ Bell back in February, with six wins in their last seven matches putting them in fine form heading up to the north east. KR, for their part, have lost only to Warrington Wolves and Wigan – the top two sides in Super League – in their last nine league and cup fixtures. 

It has two teams in decent form, a tussle for top-six spots, and now a bitter transfer saga built in. Saturday’s first game might be one of the Magic Weekend’s very best.


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