Ian Watson | “We have to believe we’re a good team”

Head Coach Ian Watson was pleased to see his sides display against Castleford Tigers while also feeling frustrated that they didn’t come away from the Mend-A-Hose Jungle with a victory.
He gave his thoughts on a number of subjects in the post-match press conference.
On the performance…
There were a few little errors and defensive lapses and I think they gave Castleford the win. The one thing I have said to the boys is that we have to believe we are a good team and we’re showing it now against Castleford away from home and against St Helens at home which was a game we learnt a lot from. We are quite a young team but we’ve got to believe that we can come to Castleford and win and I think we just didn’t start the game with that mentality as we put them on the front foot and they started playing like a top team does putting you under pressure and getting repeat sets which Paul McShane was central to. Once we got the game in the balance a little bit, we started to control that and got on the front foot and dictating field position as well. It’s our own fault we’ve lost the game.
On the difference between the sides…
They’ve been a top team for the last few years. We’re still quite a young team in many ways with our spine being quite young with Joey Lussick and Jackson Hastings in there. We just need to be a little bit more patient at times instead of chasing the game. Paul McShane did that really well, they started completing sets and earning repeat sets through goal line drop-outs. They persisted and sometimes you just have to deal with that and try and turn the tide, but I want to give massive credit to our players for competing. I do think that game will hit home with the lads to see they’re a good side coming to Castleford and almost winning the game.
On the start to the season…
Yeah, we’re happy with the start to the season but we want more – everybody always wants more. We all want to win every game we go into but I’m hoping the games we’ve played, and the performances and results can kick us on for the remainder of the season. We can show everyone what we’re about then and show that we’re a team that can be contenders. I think if we go about games the way we have in spells and piece that together we’ll be a strong team and we’ll trouble a few more this season.
On Adam Walker…
I thought he looked dangerously with ball in hand and defensively I thought there were a few times where he lounged in but that’s fatigue and taking that into contact. We’ll see how it pans out when he’s got match fitness. He will get better, and he’ll be a great addition for us.
On the result…
I think we’re really disappointed with the result because we know we’ve let an opportunity slip through our own little errors and misreads. I think we’re good enough to compete with these teams now, but we just need to believe that we are good enough on a regular basis, but we need to show that next week against Wigan Warriors when they come to the The Salford Stadium. I think we’ve had a tough month here with St Helens, then Catalans away and now Castleford away so we can’t wait to get back to the The Salford Stadium and show what we’ve learnt from the last three games.
On Jake Bibby’s performance…
Jake Bibby is a great kid and he’s had to wait for his opportunity to get into the team. He’s got the shirt at the moment if I’m honest as he’s doing fantastic in both attack and defence. We always knew defensively he was brilliant, and we’ve worked on the attacking side of his game – he’s been working closely with Martin Gleeson and spending a lot of time with him. He’s showing us what he’s learned over the last couple of years.
On a possible sin-bin offence by Alex Foster…
I thought so at the time but that’s not the reason we’ve lost the game. We need to be smarter in certain areas so I can’t use that as a reason as to why we weren’t victorious. It was definitely a good contest.
Tickets are available for Salford Red Devils next home game against Wigan Warriors at 3pm on Sunday 22nd April. You can buy tickets from the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or by buying online HERE. You will save money buying in advance!

Ian Watson | “I thought we looked quite smooth”

Salford Red Devils got 2019 off to a great start with a 54-6 victory over local rivals Swinton Lions and Head Coach Ian Watson was pleased with various aspects of his side’s performance.

On the game…

I thought it was a good performance and we did what we’ve worked on in the pre-season. We got out of our own half a little bit too easily as we got quite a few penalties on tackle three. I’d have like to see a little more of an arm-wrestle to see more of what we have worked on. But everything that was put in front of the boys they reacted really well to especially when we were making all the changes to mix it up a bit people got plenty of game time.

On adapting following the changes…

I thought we looked quite smooth even when Jackson [Hastings] and Rob [Lui] came off and we put Niall [Evalds] into the halves. We’ve done a bit of practice in training running with different combinations just in case anything happens. We know we’ve got a small squad, but we’ve got players who can play in different positions and that was on show for us against Swinton. 

On Connor Davies-Aspey’s debut…

I was really pleased for him. He’s a baby, to be fair, and I thought he did great. He made a couple of breaks and a little bit of inexperience cost him from making a try for Jansin [Turgut] but he created a nice try for Derrell [Olpherts]. I’m sure he’ll be telling everyone about nearly getting his ribs knocked out as well, but I thought it was great for a young kid to come in and do that.

On fellow triallist – Calvin Wellington…

Calvin did really well coming in at left centre. He has the ability to play on both sides and he transfers the ball really well, but he suits us with him not having a preference as to which side he plays on.

On the players who didn’t feature…

All going well they should be included next weekend against Wigan. With the game being a little different at the moment with the stop clock we wanted our middles to get decent minutes and get used to how it feels to be under the pump and play under the stop clock. That’s why we didn’t make a change in the first half and then let the middles run for a full forty in the second half, also.

On how the players handled the stop clock…

We’ve got players here who are big enough and fit enough to play long minutes if you look at the first half, we had Mark Flanagan, Lee Mossop and Gil Dudson who all did a full forty and handled it really comfortably.

On the stop clock…

It flowed a lot better today. I thought the first ten minutes went really quickly, it used to take a long time to get to the ten-minute mark in some games but today I thought the stop clock helped today and it sped the game up. My thing with it was when you’re watching a game on Sky Sports, they were finishing way beyond 10pm and the game was getting dragged out longer and longer, but I think the stop clock kind of drags that back in really rather than it being stop-start. Hopefully, it’ll make the Betfred Super League more entertaining.

On goal kicking…

No, we’ve no issues there. Ed [Chamberlain] practices religiously so we’ve not got much of a problem with that. It was fairly windy when Ed was out there kicking today. The good thing is last year I don’t think we had a single goal kicker for the majority but now we’ve got a handful of genuine goal kickers – Ed, Jackson, Rob, Joey [Lussick] and Niall likes to put a kick in every now and again. So, we’ve no worries in that department.
Tickets for Salford Red Devils’ next pre-season friendly are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online HERE. For a reminder of ticket prices, click HERE.
Salford Red Devils 2019 Season Tickets are still available to purchase from the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online HERE. You can spread the cost via Direct Debit payments, for more details, click HERE.

Willie Poching | “Lot of resilience and character”

Following an important victory over Hull Kingston Rovers in the Red Devils opening qualifiers fixture, Assistant Coach Willie Poching feels this will have an impact on his sides confidence.
“It’s been a little while since we’ve won on the bounce – two in a row – so we’re pretty pleased with the start to the Super 8s campaign for us.
“If you’ve been involved in this competition before you understand the importance of trying to get the wins but trying to get them early, so we can’t understate the importance of this win.
“As well as being in the position that we are with only having three home games to pick up an away victory is a big bonus for us. It puts us in a good position confidence wise.
“The guys showed a lot of resilience and character tonight.”
Watch Willie Poching’s full post-match press conference below:

Ian Watson | “I think that resilience showed”

Head Coach Ian Watson was thrilled with the resilience his side displayed as they overcame Leeds Rhinos for just the third time in the Betfred Super League despite spending sixty minutes with twelve men. 
Watson said: “The boys have been goods all the way through the season they’ve always been on the same page alongside what the Club has been going through and the situations we’ve faced but they’ve stayed really strong as a group.
“Even when we’ve lost they’ve come in trying to improve and wanting to get better and I think that resilience showed when we went down to twelve men with how hard they worked for each other.
“We just need to build on that now and take it forward.
“When we complete sets we’ll cause any team issues and that’s what we did. If you look at our games when we complete sets, we normally win games – that’s the key for us.”
Watch Ian Watson’s full post-match press conference below where he also discusses the impressive debut of Jackson Hastings, the imminent arrival of Joey Lussick and how he is expecting some players to return from injury for The Qualifiers.
Full video below:

Ian Watson | “That’s the level we’ve got to get used to playing at”

Head Coach Ian Watson remained upbeat despite a 0-30 defeat at Wigan and was pleased with the resiliency shown following large periods of defence at the DW Stadium.
Watson said: “In the second half we defended 28 sets and we only had ball in hand for 11.
“Wigan were really good and showed a patient mentality by getting a lot of repeat sets which meant we had to defend a lot and that’s what winning teams do.
“That’s something we can learn from Wigan. We need to learn to be better with the ball, we turned over too much ball with our errors, but these came on the back of a lot of defending.
“I thought our defensive systems were a lot better which I know is a bit weird when you concede that many points, but they were a lot better tonight. Especially in the first 25 minutes where the game was a real arm-wrestle.
“Wigan are used to being at that intense level and that’s what we’re trying to educate some of our younger guys to be at that level, so they can consistently grind out in games.
“That’s the level we’ve got to get used to playing at.”
You can watch the full post-match press conference here:

Ian Watson – "I'm proud of the effort"

Salford Red Devils Ian Watson was ‘proud’ of his sides efforts against St Helens in the final game of the season after spending 45 minutes with twelve men.
Watson said: “I’m proud of our effort and I thought we had a really good dig – I thought in the opening exchanges we were absolutely outstanding.
“We’ve spoken over the past few weeks about getting our swagger back and we did with how we played moving the ball and being a footballing team. We did it against Huddersfield and last night in the first half particularly.
“We looked a really good team but overall I think today typified what we spoke about as a group that real grit how they backed each other up, how they worked for each other especially when we went down to 12 men.
“The grit in our defence was unbelievable we had to do about seven defensive goal-line shots to do and managed them really well. That typifies the spirit we’ve got in these players.
“We went down to 12, we didn’t panic and we worked really well together as one defensive line where you thought they’d be able to put more points on us – that’s a credit to our resilience.
Watson also spoke about the big decisions regarding Jordan Walne’s injury at the hands of Alex Walmsley and Ryan Lannon’s red card.
“If Liam Watts’ the other week is a sending off Alex Walmsley’s is probably a sending off but I don’t think he’s maliciously gone at it. I only got one glimpse of it on the big scree and I know he gets him flush because Jordan Walne couldn’t come back on and that made it more difficult for us with one less substitution.
“Ryan Lannon’s red is an example of a young kid getting frustrated and maybe if there had been a sin-bin on the back of the elbow maybe Lannon doesn’t do that but there was clear frustration there from a young lad. He’s done a dumb thing and he’ll learn from it and I know for a fact Lannon will be better from it.”

Weller Hauraki – "They got a roll on"

Red Devils forward Weller Hauraki was ‘disappointed’ with the teams performance against Leeds and feels his former side managed to outmuscle Salford down the middle.
Hauraki, sponsored by PH Services, said: “It was really disappointing particularly after last week’s result against Huddersfield.
“We just couldn’t control their forwards. They were smashing it up the middle and the ruck was too fast for us and this allowed them to get on top and they got a roll on.
“We spent long periods defending which is always difficult and maybe this meant our energy levels just weren’t there when it was our turn to go forward.
“Despite defending a lot we did spend some time on their line but the momentum of the game was against us and we couldn’t get over the line whereas they did when they came down our end.
“We just weren’t at the races and it’s cost us.
“We’ve had a good season and obviously for the top four now to be out of reach is disappointing but we just need to finish on a high in our last game and our last one of the season in front of the home fans.
“It’s been a successful season, I believe, we’ve grown as a team and a club and are moving forward so there are always positives.”
Tickets are on sale for our final home game of the season against St Helens and can be purchased over the phone, at the Club Ticket Office or online here. Fans can also watch our end of season awards for an extra £5 in the 1873 suite post-game. Season Ticket holders can also take advantage of our hospitality deal for the last game of the season here. Season Tickets are valid for all Super 8s home games.

Ian Watson – "They were too good and too quick"

The Red Devils top four hopes were brought to an end at Headingley as they fell to a 44-2 defeat against Leeds Rhinos.
Head Coach Ian Watson thinks his side ‘had a dig’ but in the end Leeds were too clever and too quick in and around the ruck and this proved crucial.
“We’d spoken about controlling the speed of the ruck and getting on top of that and we did in the early stages of each half.
“But as soon as they got us once around the ruck with a quick play-the-ball they got quicker around the ruck in the first half and scored off it twice.
“Then we kind of addressed it at half-time and said how we wanted to defend and in the second half we were probing we just needed to get some points there.
“They went down the other end and scored on us and then we were always on the back foot from there and they started getting the ruck real quick again.
“When you’ve got players like Rob Burrow, Matt Parcell and Danny McGuire they just play really quick on you from dummy half and split you open.
“Leeds defended well as they always do at this time of the season they scrambled well for each other as a team and we just couldn’t turn the screw and get some points on the board.
“I think if we’d have got one try we would have got some more points on the board afterwards at the backend because we’d have opened them up.
“We just weren’t smart enough in certain areas and any kind of opportunity we had we missed and any they got they took.
“They were too good and too quick around the ruck. There were positives that we controlled it for periods of the game but as soon as they got on top of us they pulled away and they’re looking really good to be fair.”
Tickets are on sale for our final home game of the season against St Helens and can be purchased over the phone, at the Club Ticket Office or online here. Fans can also watch our end of season awards for an extra £5 in the 1873 suite post-game. Season Ticket holders can also take advantage of our hospitality deal for the last game of the season here. Season Tickets are valid for all Super 8s home games.

Niall Evalds – "We came back firing this weekend"

Salford Red Devils full-back Niall Evalds feels the side played some fantastic rugby on their way to a 52-14 victory over Huddersfield Giants on Saturday afternoon.
Evalds, sponsored by the Dog and Partridge and Sounds of Salford, said: “We came back firing this weekend.
“We played some fast attractive rugby and everyone put the effort in and worked hard in defence. We went back to doing everything we did earlier in the season and did what made us successful.
“We were on top from the first ten minutes and our intensity early on set the tone for the rest of the game.
“We managed to score a few early tries which always helps but we were really working hard for each other and I think that shows in the final scoreline.
“They had to rely on Danny Brough’s kicking game to try and get them out of trouble so a lot of credit has to go to the forwards.”
Evalds forced his way into the first team earlier in the season and has maintained his place over the past few months even sitting as Salford’s top Super League try-scorer alongside Ben Murdoch-Masila with 14.
Evalds said: “It was a tough first half of the season for me – I hate it when I’m not playing.
“But, to be back out there regularly with the boys in the second half of the season is a lot better and I’m happy with how it’s going on a personal level.”

Manu Vatuvei – "It was important for the fans"

Manu Vatuvei crossed for two tries in the Red Devils destruction of Huddersfield and ‘The Beast’ knows a win was crucial but the lads couldn’t have done it without the fans.
Vatuvei said: “It was important for the boys, obviously, but it was more important for the fans who turn out every week and support us.
“They’ve been the best fans the last couple of weeks and they’ve stuck by us and waited for us to get this win and it’s good to get a win.
“Hopefully we build on this now and carry it on going into our final two games of the season and I’m looking forward to facing Leeds away next weekend.
The New Zealand international featured in his first victory for the Red Devils and explained how he is really excited at the prospect of moving Salford forward and how much he’s enjoying life at the The Salford Stadium.
Vatuvei said: “I’m loving it here. The coaching staff are brilliant, the players have taken me into the team and the fans have embraced me and I love coming out and doing it for all of them.
“Despite our results there’s a really good feeling here at Salford that we can go on and challenge in the next few seasons and this win was definitely needed.
“Let’s hope we can continue to do what we did against Huddersfield and get some more wins before the end of the season.”

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