Salford Red Devils boss Paul Rowley has celebrated the return of Kallum Watkins after his 326 days out with injury, despite his side’s 10-36 loss to Catalans Dragons on Monday afternoon.
In Round 9, the hosts came out firing and quickly took the lead through Deon Cross, but the French outfit soon took back control of the game and showed the attacking flair which has taken them to 3rd in the Betfred Super League.
With multiple injuries hampering the club’s efforts, Matt Costello was recalled from his loan at Newcastle Thunder to start and play 80 minutes, just two days after playing another game in the North East.
Speaking to the press after the match, Paul Rowley was quick to praise the centre’s effort levels and had time to welcome back Kallum Watkins, who last appeared for the Red Devils over 11 months ago.
Rowley said: “Positives were Cozzy’s (Costello) effort. I guess instead of that it’s more of an appreciation and recognition, so fair dos to him.
“Kallum looks every bit like an international player, he was brilliant. I’m so pleased for him really more than anything and I don’t mind celebrating that fact amongst a bad day. That’s a real positive for himself – for the club too obviously – but mainly for himself.”
Salford have games coming thick and fast, with tough trips to the top two teams in the Betfred Super League – Wigan Warriors and St Helens – next to navigate.
Looking ahead to the game against the Wigan Warriors, Rowley was asked about how his players have coped through such a demanding Easter schedule and if they are ready to attack another tough run.
He said: “That’s the sport, that’s rugby, that’s Super League – it doesn’t get any easier. It’s important that we don’t get fractured, that we remain confident and trust one another and keep working hard.
“So, I guess the benefit of our team is that they do work hard, the fundamentals, and character traits are all there. I guess the one thing we don’t do well is learn lessons, but that’s what we speak about.
The head coach concluded: “Even though it’s hard coming and talking to the press, the chat to the players is ten times more difficult, especially with the effort they put in during the week and at the weekends, but that’s the facts.”
Written by: Harry Siddall
Image credit: Steve McCormick