David Clegg Meets With Assistant Coach, Willie Poching, Ahead Of Saturday’s Home Super 8s Fixture With Huddersfield
There cannot be a more fitting additional name to any club than Huddersfield’s choice of ‘Giants’, because true to that title, the absolutely massive packs that they have recruited over the past fifteen years have become renowned across Super League.
For a Salford pack, already short of some of their biggest forwards, such as Lee Mossop and Lama Tasi, Saturday’s home fixture is going to be a significant test for what will be a rather more lightweight group than we would have wished to have been the case. Assistant Coach, Willie Poching sees this issue as much more than just one of size.
“We’ve not only lost size with their absence, we’ve also lost their physical presence and experience,” he points out. “Nevertheless, as always, it will be an opportunity for someone else to take on their mantle. In fact, it’s more than an opportunity, it is their obligation to the team to do so.”
Having already completed the double over Saturday’s visitors, and with home advantage, this game would look to be one from which the Red Devils could gain their first ever Super 8s win.
“We have three opportunities to post wins, starting with this one,” he insists. “After the Wakefield setback, we’ve got to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down, and show some real grit to make amends for that. None of us wants the season to end on a sour note, so we need to turn things around, and go out fighting.”
Looking back over the past few weeks, it has shown how much more intense this part of the season is, than any other.
“We have the best eight teams of Super League involved, so you would expect that,” Willie agrees. “We have fought really hard to be one of them, and had we been offered this at the start of the year we would have grasped it with both hands, just for the challenge of playing week in week out against the likes of Wigan, Leeds, and St Helens.
“The position changed as the season went on, though, and as it did, so too did our goals. Not achieving those has been disappointing because we were within touching distance of something really great. That we didn’t quite manage any of it will, at least, have provided some lessons to learn for both players and coaches alike.”
Part of the problem could well be traced to our previous lack of experience in this competition, and, this season, it has proved to be too big a challenge to retain such a high level of intensity, past the regular season.
“The bigger clubs manage to do so every year, though, as it is expected of them,” counters Willie. “We have to change that because this is where we belong, and where we must be every single year.
“To be in the top eight next year we have to expect to be there by knocking over the bigger teams more regularly.
Apart from Huddersfield’s massive pack to contend with, on Saturday, there is also the not inconsiderable problem of Danny Brough, who cannot be allowed any opportunity to run, or exploit his many other talents. In our last outing against Wakefield this is something we singularly failed to do, with their halves.
“We had a plan to do so, but failed to execute it well enough, or for long enough,” Willie maintains. “Danny Brough is a most wily individual, who will exploit any opportunity to the full.
“He has been fantastic for his club, and when he’s on form so is the whole team. It will be a priority for us to be on our guard against him. We will just have to be ready for them to come and have a crack at us.”
Referee – Mr J Child
Touch Judges – G Jones, P Marklove
In-Goal Judges – J Jones, J Stearne
Reserve Ref – D Martin