Sunday night hurt. After a wait that took years Wembley was almost in our grasp but when it came to the hooter it had evaded us again. It hurt.
Monday morning was perhaps worse. The heads were aching and the throats were sore. Nearly 5000 Salford Red Devils fans roared themselves hoarse for two hours. Monday morning felt like those tackles, those big hits, and ultimately the despair of semi-final defeat had been inflicted on all of us personally.
We’d lost the biggest game many of us had seen. But you have to be in those big games to win or lose them.
The journey this Club and our team is taking will look back on the Challenge Cup semi-final as a milestone – a waypoint on the road to becoming a major force in the game. While it may or may not be true that you have to lose a big game to win one, ultimately the experience that the team takes from semi-final heartbreak will serve every single one of them better when the next big game arrives. There will be no 20 year wait this time. There’s not even 20 days.
Every Salford fan that packed the West and North Stands at the Halliwell Jones yesterday will always be a part of this journey. We all stood together as the heavens opened, shoulder to shoulder in defeat with the players.
That was then. Now, we need you to stand with the team again.
The next seven games are all massive; all part of the journey. One that could end at Old Trafford in the Grand Final in our very first Super 8s campaign.
Tonight, the next stage of the journey begins, taking what we have learned and focusing on the next big game. It’s not a semi-final, but is on the road to one. Castleford Tigers – runaway leaders of the competition may believe, probably correctly, that they have one foot in the Grand Final. They have earned the right to think that, but first they are going to come up against us at the The Salford Stadium. We have already beaten them here this season. Most other teams can’t say that.
Ian Watson said on Sunday, “We’ve spoken about being on a journey for a while now both as a group and as a club. We’ve spoken about where we want to be and this is where we want to be – in the big games”
We know many that were there are not regulars at our home games. We also know that most of them came with our regular fans. Now, already, it is time to bring them with you again when we play Cas as week on Friday. The next important game on this journey.
Over the next 10 days we will give you great reasons to make sure you don’t miss this epic encounter. Watch this space.
Stay with us for the trip. The end might just be worth it.
Buy your tickets for Salford Red Devils v Castleford Tigers online HERE.
The journey starts here