Red Devils powerhouse forward Ben Murdoch-Masila faces a lengthy injury layoff in the region of ten weeks after damaging knee ligaments in the opening minutes of Salford’s first friendly of pre-season last weekend.
A scan confirmed the extent of the damage that will leave the big-man on the sidelines for the opening weeks of the 2017 campaign but Head Coach Ian Watson believes the opportunity is now there for somebody to step in and make an early claim for the position.
“It’s disappointing to lose Ben at this stage but we all know we are in a game when this kind of thing happens. We are a tight-knit squad and all it means is that there is now a chance for somebody to step in and prove themselves. This is what we are looking for the lads to do. There is a starting spot free and a couple more games for somebody to grab it.
“Friendly games aren’t pointless pre-season matchups. The only way to prepare correctly to beat Wigan in the opening game is to play rugby. If we want them guys to be combat-ready we have to play real games in the build-up to the start of the season.
The Red Devils play Halifax away this Sunday before playing their final warm-up game at the The Salford Stadium on 29 January 3pm. Click TICKETS to buy yours today.
With Thursday’s big game at the The Salford Stadium against the Wolves looking, we caught up with Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson so gauge the mood in the camp.
Press PLAY below.
Salford coach Ian Watson was left to rue a refereeing blunder that cost his side the chance of an historic result against new Super League leaders Wigan.
The Red Devils, who have lost all 19 matches with the Warriors at the DW Stadium, had fought their way back from 16-2 down to draw level thanks to three tries in a 17-minute spell from Junior Sa’u, Josh Griffin and Ben Murdoch-Masila only to concede four minutes from the end to go down 20-16.
However, referee George Stokes and his touch judges failed to spot a knock-on by Wigan forward Taulima Tautai in the build-up to the match-winning try by winger Dom Manfredi.
“I’m really disappointed with the way it ended because it looked like we should have had a share of the points,” Watson said.
“The fact he knocked on at the last play-the-ball before the score doesn’t help and the fact that we could see it in the stand and the referee and his officials can’t is a big disappointment.”
Salford had taken an early lead with a penalty goal from Gareth O’Brien but two tries from winger Oliver Gildart put Wigan into a 10-6 interval lead and the game looked to be over when centre Anthony Gelling went over three minutes into the second half.
“We gave them too much respect in the first half and you can’t do that to teams like Wigan,” Watson said. “You can’t feel them out, you’ve got to attack them from the off.
“But in the second half, you saw what we could do when we have the right mind-set. The guys realised at half-time that we hadn’t played well but we were still in the game.
“We just didn’t have enough to come through the other side. It was bitter-sweet, we felt we had them on the ropes but we didn’t have enough to finish them off. Good teams like Wigan find a way to win and we’ve still got to progress to that stage.”
On Thursday 18th February at 10am, the North Queensland Cowboys will take part in an opposed training session vs the Red Devils. The NRL Premiers side features a number of Australian and New Zealand international stars, including 2015 Golden Boot winner Johnathan Thurston who was also the man behind the phenomenal golden point drop goal that led the Cowboys to their first NRL victory.
The following day, the 19th February at 10am Grand Finalists Brisbane Broncos will visit the The Salford Stadium for their Captain’s run. The Broncos side features the likes of Anthony Milford, Sam Thaiday and Corey Parker. Wayne Bennett, Head Coach of the Brisbane side and newly appointed England Head Coach will also be attendance. Former Salford player Greg Eden has also been named in the Broncos squad to face Wigan and he’ll return to the The Salford Stadium.
Last year we welcomed the Broncos ahead of their victory against Wigan Warriors and the event was well attended by rugby league fans from across the country. We’re therefore excited to have both the Broncos and the Cowboys joining the team here in Salford.
Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson said, ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for our squad to learn from some of the best rugby league players in the world. It’ll be a great experience for the whole team but especially for some of the younger squad members.’
Director of Rugby, Tim Sheens said, ‘It’s great that we’ve been able to organise these events here at the stadium. To have both teams from what is arguably one of the best, if not the best NRL Grand Final in history training here is fantastic. It’s a great chance for all fans of rugby league to come and witness these players in the flesh and see their skill.’
U16s will gain free entry to both events and Red Devils Season Ticket holders can visit the training sessions free of charge. There will be the chance to watch them train, get photos and autographs with the players.
We’re also offering any fans free entry to the event on production of a ticket for this Sunday’s Widnes Vikings game here at the The Salford Stadium.
Non Season Ticket holders and fans from other clubs can gain entry to the event for just £3 per Adult.
The training sessions are extra preparation for the Red Devils side ahead of their home tie vs Widnes Vikings on Sunday 21st February, KO 3pm. Tickets for this game will also be on sale at the The Salford Stadium during the event.
See Ian Watson’s full press conference after last night’s fantastic win over St Helens at the The Salford Stadium.
The Red Devils are delighted to announce that Ryan Lannon has signed a new three year contract which will see him remain at the club until the end of the 2018 season.
Ryan joined the Red Devils academy after spending time at Ince Rose Bridge ARLFC. During his time in the academy set up, the 20-year-old has continually impressed and this earnt him the U19s Captaincy last year. In 2015, Lannon began training with the first team squad earlier and was soon drafted in to games, making five Super League appearances against Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Tigers, Hull FC, Wakefield Wildcats and Hull KR.
He did extremely well last season to balance first team duties, alongside being a great leader of the U19s team, taking skills and his experienced with the first team squad to improve in the academy competition. He has impressed the coaching staff and fans with his performances.
Lannon made another appearance in the pre-season victory against Wigan Warriors scoring a fantastic try. He’s also been nominated as a ‘Rookie of the Year’ by League Express.
Head Coach Ian Watson said, ‘Ryan Lannon is a great signing for us and shows the club’s commitment to producing our own players through the youth set up. I’m really excited to watch how Ryan’s career develops over this coming season and the future.’
Ryan has also been named in this week’s 19 Man Squad to face St Helens. For the full squad announcement visit – http://www.reddevilsrugby.co.uk/19-man-squad-to-face-saints/
Salford head coach Ian Watson admitted the Red Devils were their own worst enemies on an opening night to forget.
“We gave Hull too much ball and made silly errors,” he said.
“Defensively, they were just running over us and it became a snowball effect. They were just playing too quick for us and we weren’t adapting to that. They played really well, Hull.
“We’re confident in the ability we’ve got in there but we need to work hard on doing the little things really well for each other and working hard as a team.
“We need to come out against St Helens (on Thursday) with the right mentality defensively. If you don’t defend, you’re not going to win anything.”