Category: Rugby

Ian Watson – “Absolutely phenomenal bunch of people”

With the 2020 Betfred Super League season now at an end for Salford Red Devils, head coach Ian Watson has spoken highly of his squad. 
After grinding out a 28-2o victory against Wakefield Trinity on Friday night in their last league game of the year, Watson was looking ahead to next season with positivity.
“I’m really positive about this group,” Watson said.
“They’ve really bought into being together as a team and as a club, and then on the field they’ve bought into what we’ve asked of them.
“The group of players are an absolutely phenomenal bunch of people to be around.”


The head coach shared some kind words on Flanagan, who is hanging up his boots, and on Welham, who is stepping into the Betfred Championship to play semi-professional for Featherstone Rovers, as he prepares for a career outside of the sport.
“Adrian Morley was at the club at the backend of his career when I took over and I knew we needed somebody of that kind of stature that all the boys would respect and they’d want to follow,” said Watson.
“Flash (Flanagan) was that guy and he’s done it for the last five or six years, and it’s been an absolute honour to work with him.”
He added: “Welly (Welham) is just mister reliable, I love everything he does. He does everything that supporters don’t really notice about him.”
To hear more from Ian Watson, click HERE to watch the full press conference on RDTV.
Salford Red Devils supporters can get behind Watson’s men, by purchasing their season tickets for the 2021 campaign early.
Adult prices have been reduced across all areas, making it even more affordable to watch the team next year. Further details can be found HERE.
Image credit: Steve McCormick

MATCH REPORT | WAKEFIELD TRINITY 20-28 SALFORD RED DEVILS | SATURDAY 6TH NOVEMBER

Salford Red Devils ended their 2020 Betfred Super League campaign with a win against Wakefield Trinity.
The Red Devils put on a spectacular display to establish a 22-4 half-time lead and then held off a Trinity fightback in the second-half.
This ensured Salford climbed above their opponents to finish the year in ninth place in the table, in a match which marked a 300th career appearance for Kallum Watkins and the end of Mark Flanagan’s career.
Salford opened the scoring quickly, when the team’s top try-scorer Krisnan Inu scored at the corner in the second minute of the match. He then became supplier, as he sent Niall Evalds in for a try after Tui Lolohea’s cut-out pass had created the opening.
Ed Chamberlain was then most alert to a loose ball, hacked it ahead and re-gathered to go in from long-range and continue his impressive return to action.
Trinity hit-back in the 30th minute. Ryan Hampshire supported a break by Reece Lyne to get them on the scoreboard.
Salford then restored the cushion, when an explosive break from Andy Ackers allowed him to feed Lolohea for their fourth try of the half.


Halftime: Wakefield Trinity 4-22 Salford Red Devils
Inu had what looked like a second try disallowed early in the second-half, before Tanginoa pounced on a grubber-kick to give Trinity the momentum.
Hamphire and Tanginoa then both went on to complete their braces and cut the gap to just two points.
Salford then regained control however, as a grubber-kick from Lolohea caused havoc in the in goal area and Tyrone McCarthy was able to claim his only try of the season.
Attention now turns to the 2021 campaign, with season tickets now on sale. Adult prices on season tickets have been reduced across all areas, making it even more affordable to watch the Red Devils next year. Further details can be found HERE.
Supporters can hear the post-match thoughts of head coach Ian Watson HERE on RDTV.
Fulltime: Wakefield Trinity 20-28 Salford Red Devils
Wakefield Trinity: Hampshire, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Senior, Wood, Bailey, Tanginoa, Bowes, Kopczak, Batchelor, Pitts, Arona, Walker, Fifita, Green, Battye.
Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Kear, Watkins, Chamberlain, Inu, Lolohea, Atkin, Mossop, Jones, Yates, Ormondroyd, Pauli, Flanagan, Ackers, Burke, McCarthy, Ikahihifo.
Wakefield tries: Hampshire 2, Tanginoa 2
Wakefield goals: Hampshire (2/4)
Salford tries: Watkins, Evalds, Chamberlain, McCarthy
Salford goals: Inu (3/4)
Referee: Ben Thaler
Image Credit: Steve McCormick

Watson – “They stand together”

Salford Red Devils head coach Ian Watson has heaped the praise onto his players for the collective effort they have put in over the past few weeks.
The Red Devils scored six second-half tries against the Dragons on Monday afternoon to turn the game on its head, and have impressed their head coach going into their final fixture.
Watson said: “I think we’ve responded the right way in the last two weeks, and I think individual players have responded really well.
“The group is about each other, that’s how this group has been built.
“The one thing that they do, they stand together. Amongst everything else, whatever is thrown at them, they stand together.”
With their 2020 Betfred Super League season ending in this evening’s match agains Wakefield Trinity, Watson wants to build on the fantastic support that the Salford fans have given ahead of next year.
“Our supporters have been outstanding this year in donating their season tickets – the sponsors sticking by us. We need that and we need more of them as well to come forward,” Watson added.
“If we want to be classed as a top club, the only way we’re going to do it at Salford is by us all being in it together.”
Salford Red Devils supporters can get behind Watson’s men, by purchasing their season tickets  for the 2021 campaign early.
Adult prices have been reduced across all areas, making it even more affordable to watch the team next year. Further details can be found HERE.

IAN WATSON – “The Club and the team have unfinished business”

Salford Red Devils head coach Ian Watson has made his intentions for the 2021 season clear.

Watson’s side will play their final match of the current campaign on Friday, with season tickets for 2021 now already on sale.

“Reaching two major finals has been a massive achievement and shows the direction in which the Club is heading, but that’s not enough for us as a group,” said Watson.

“The Club and the team have unfinished business and next year, we want to aim to lift silverware.

“The support we’ve been shown during these challenging times, especially by all those who chose to donate on their season tickets, has given us much more stability to plan for next year.

“Without them, there’s no way we could have brought in someone of the calibre of Kallum Watkins, which for me is a statement signing.

“I’m really excited about some of our other recruitment as well and with their support, hopefully we can bring in a couple more of the key targets we’ve identified.

“The progression of our current group has shown what we’re building and I have no doubt that with a few additions, we will all be together as we had wanted to be so desperately this year, to celebrate a momentous occasion.”


With restrictions keeping supporters out of stadiums for the majority of 2020 campaign, the Club cannot wait to reunite in 2021.

Adult prices on season tickets have been reduced across all areas, making it even more affordable to watch Watson’s men next year. Further details can be found HERE.

Betfred Super League to Move to Revised Play-Off Structure

The 2020 Betfred Super League season will be reshaped through November in response to the impact of Covid-19 cases at two clubs.
This means Salford Red Devils’ match against Wakefield Trinity on Friday, which has returned to a 5.30pm kick-off time, will be both teams’ final outing of the 2020 regular season.
After Wigan Warriors’ shot at the League Leaders’ Shield on Friday evening, four elimination Play-Offs will determine the make-up of the Grand Final on Friday 27 November.
Following the confirmation yesterday (Monday) that Castleford Tigers are unable to play for at least another week after further positive tests, fixture planning for the remaining three rounds of the regular season was further complicated by news of a number of positive tests at Hull KR who this morning advised that they would not be able to fulfil the remaining three matches.
The Super League and RFL Boards have agreed on a revised format and Operational Rules (respectively), which will see the regular season wrapped up within the next four days, after which the top six teams in the table will qualify for the Play-Offs. The club that finishes seventh – either Salford Red Devils or Huddersfield Giants – will remain on standby.
As a consequence of the change in the Regular Season structure, the previous requirement for a Club to complete a minimum number of games (15) has been removed.
The two remaining Super League fixtures, both Round 20 matches to be played at Emerald Headingley on Friday 6 November, will see Wakefield Trinity and the Red Devils conclude their campaigns at 5.30pm on Sky Sports, which will be followed by the Warriors v Giants at 745pm, a fixture which will determine who wins the League Leaders’ Shield.
The St Helens and Catalans Dragons fixture, scheduled for Thursday 5 November in Perpignan, will be cancelled, with both teams having already qualified for the top six, and due to the imminent national lockdown and heightened concerns over international travel.
The Warriors hold top spot with a winning percentage of 75% after last Friday’s compelling derby victory at St Helens – but will face Giants knowing that defeat would hand the League Leaders’ Shield to Saints for a third consecutive season (on points difference percentage).
The top two teams will sit out the first round of the Play-Offs, while those finishing third to sixth in the table on win percentage move into the elimination matches. Those games will be played on November 12 and 13.
The winners will then face first and second in the semi-finals on November 19 and 20, at home venues, to determine who plays in the Betfred Super League Grand Final at the KCOM Stadium on Friday 27 November.
Super League Head of Commercial Rhodri Jones said: “The revised format to the play-off schedule provides fans and Sky Sports with an extended series of exciting knockout matches to finish the season.
“Nothing has been predictable in this 2020 season and we hope players, supporters and the media will appreciate why we have made this change.
“We believe this revised structure provides the best and fairest way to ensure the two most deserving teams reach the Grand Final.
“I’m sure everyone will be excited about five huge games, set to deliver an even more exciting climax to the 2020 season.”
The five clubs at the bottom of the table after this week’s fixtures will stay on their current win percentages with the remaining fixtures struck out.
Remaining fixtures – all live on Sky Sports and available by the Our League app.
Friday 6 November (Emerald Headingley Stadium).
Wakefield Trinity v Salford Red Devils – 530pm
Wigan Warriors v Huddersfield Giants – 745pm
November 12 (Venue TBC) – Play-Offs Round 1 – 7:45pm. 3rd v 6th
November 13 (Venue TBC) – Play-Offs Round 1 – 7:45pm. 4th v 5th
November 19 – Semi-Finals (Venue of 1st)
1st v lowest-placed Play-Off winner
November 20 – Semi-Finals (Venue of 2nd)
2nd v highest-placed Play-Off winner
Friday 27 November: Betfred Super League Grand Final (KCOM Stadium, Hull)

MATCH REPORT | SALFORD RED DEVILS 42-24 CATALANS DRAGONS | MONDAY 2ND NOVEMBER

A dominant second-half display from Salford Red Devils saw them run out 42-24 winners against Catalans Dragons, on their return to the AJ Bell Stadium.
Despite trailing by 12 points at half-time, six tries in the second forty made sure the tie ended well and truly in Salford’s favour.
It was Catalans Dragons who found themselves on the scoreboard first. Their pressure was too much for the Salford line, which was broken by Paul Seguier to give the visitors the lead after 11 minutes.
From the restart, Catalans doubled their lead as Israel Folau broke clear and with a turn of blistering pace, was able to feed Tom Davies who went over next to the sticks.
Ian Watson’s men finally picked up their first try of the afternoon in the 25th minute. After some neat passing down the left, Tui Lolohea sent a looping pass out to Krisnan Inu, who slid in at the corner unopposed.
The Dragons responded just after the half-hour mark. This time Sam Kasiano reacted first to a loose ball and grounded to the left of the sticks.
Salford thought they had cut the visitors’ lead just before half-time, but Tyrone McCarthy saw his try ruled out for offside.
Half-time: Salford Red Devils 6-18 Catalans Dragons
Salford started the second forty a lot better. Kallum Watkins went down the right and found Rhys Williams on his inside to cut the deficit to six points in the 42nd minute.
Inu completed a brace in the 48th minute, with another simple try. This time it was Kris Welham who set the number five up to stroll over down the left.
The Red Devils turned the tie on its head in the 51st minute and took the lead for the first time through Lolohea, after Watkins’ explosive pace down the right created a gap for Dan Sarginson to feed Lolohea.
Watkins picked up a try of his own moments later, gathering a Pauli Pauli offload down the middle and breezing through the Dragons’ defence once again to ground the ball between the sticks.
Just after the hour mark, Lolohea doubled his try tally for the afternoon with a strong and determined run through the middle that saw him deservedly make it to the whitewash.
Inu completed his hat-trick inside the last five minutes, set up by Sarginson as Salford outnumbered the Dragons down the left.
Catalans got themselves a try on the hooter through David Mead, but it was nothing more than a consolation.
Fulltime: Salford Red Devils 42-24 Catalans Dragons
Salford Red Devils: Sarginson, Williams, Watkins, Welham, Inu, Lolohea, Atkin, Mossop, Lussick, Yates, Ormondroyd, Pauli, Burke.
Catalans Dragons: Mead, Davies, Langi, Folau, Yaha, Maloney, Drinkwater, Casty, Mcilorum, Moa, Seguier, Jullien, Garcia
Salford tries: Inu (3), Williams, Lolohea (2), Watkins
Salford goals: Inu (7/7)
Catalans tries: Seguier, Davies, Kasiano, Mead
Catalans goals: Maloney (4/4)
Referee: Jack Smith
Image credit: Steve McCormick

CASTLEFORD TIGERS FIXTURE CANCELLED

Next week’s match between Salford Red Devils and Castleford Tigers has been cancelled.
The Tigers’ next two fixtures, against Leeds Rhinos this Friday and Salford Red Devils next Monday, have been cancelled after four more players tested positive for Covid-19 during their latest round of testing.
Castleford’s game against Huddersfield Giants that was scheduled for last Friday was cancelled after 13 players received positive results following testing last Tuesday.
After the latest positive results, the RFL’s Multiple Cases Group has extended the shutdown of the club.
No decision has yet been made on Castleford’s Round 22 fixture against Wakefield Trinity, with two further rounds of testing to be carried out this week.
Salford Red Devils would like to wish all those impacted a Castleford the best with their recoveries.

MATCH REPORT | SALFORD RED DEVILS 12-10 ST HELENS | MONDAY 26TH OCTOBER

A try in each half from Pauli Pauli and Krisnan Inu saw Salford Red Devils secure a hard-fought victory against Betfred Super League leaders St Helens.
Despite trailing after three minutes, a try from Pauli Pauli on the verge of half-time meant it was all to play for in the second forty.
With Salford still behind and just under five minutes remaining, Krisnan Inu, on his 250th career appearance, found the line down the left-flank to give Ian Watson’s men the win.
Saints got off to the perfect start, Dom Peyroux made an aggressive break and found Josh Eaves on his inside, who grounded the ball to the left of the sticks in what was his first senior try on his debut.
The league leaders extended their lead, with two penalty kicks from Lewis Dodd to create a 10-point gap.
Salford finally got themselves onto the scoreboard in the 39th minute, and had Pauli Pauli to thank, as the Australian powered through Dodd to ground the ball and put his side within four points of their opponents at the break.
Halftime: Salford Red Devils 6-10 St Helens
Saints thought they had extended their lead in the 56th minute when Tom Nisbet collected a neat Jack Welsby pass and went over in the corner, but the try was ruled out as Nisbet had lost control of the ball when it was grounded.
It was in fact Salford who would find the try-line next, and did so in style thanks to Inu, who received the ball on the left flank, bounced out of Welsby’s tackle and somehow got the better of a handful of Saints players to dive over with four minutes to go on the clock. Inu then converted his own try in impressive style to take the lead.
Josh Simm nearly stole it for St Helens, out wide with a minute remaining, but Dan Sarginson stepped up to pull off a massive last-ditch tackle on his return to the side, that ensured Watson’s men would return home as victors.
Fulltime: Salford Red Devils 12-10 St. Helens
Salford Red Devils: Sarginson, Williams, Chamberlain, Kear, Inu; Lolohea, Atkin; Mossop, Ackers, Yates, McCarthy, Pauli, Burke
St. Helens: Costello, Nisbet, Davies, Simm, Rizzelli; Dodd, Welsby; Batchelor, Eaves, Walmsley, Peyroux, Paulo, Graham
Salford tries: Pauli Pauli, Inu
Salford goals: Inu (2/2)
St. Helens tries: Eaves
St. Helens goals: Dodd (3/3)
Referee: Ben Thaler
Image Credit: Steve McCormick

Salford Red Devils vs Catalans Dragons Fixture Details

Salford Red Devils will host Catalans Dragons at the AJ Bell Stadium on Monday 2 November.

The Betfred Super League fixture will kick-off at 3pm, and will be available to watch live on OurLeague for all Salford Red Devils season ticket holders.

The match will see the Red Devils walkout at their home ground for the first time since September.

THE LANCE TODD TROPHY 2020

It always used to be the late Gus Risman’s concluding comment, having presided once again, as Chairman of the Red Devils Association, over the presentation of the Lance Todd Trophy to the player voted the best in that year’s Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, that hopefully the following year would see the recipient being either a Salford player, or a Salford born player.
As we all know, that sadly never happened, but it would surely have astonished Gus were he to have known that it would be nearly forty years after his passing before there would even be the likelihood of it being a Salford player.
This year’s Final, therefore, had not only the relish of our fifty-one year wait to return to Wembley, but also the added spice of the possibility that one of our players might actually fulfil Gus Risman’s dream.
For this is no ordinary Man of the Match award. This is the Lance Todd Trophy whose history goes back to 1946, long before regular awards were ever first countenanced in the early seventies, and alongside the Harry Sunderland Trophy (for the outstanding player in the Championship Final), was one of the two major individual awards available to players of that post-war generation.
It was however, of the two, always the Lance Todd Trophy which was the pinnacle of any player’s ambition.
In the words of former recipient, Alex Murphy: “There are those players who get to play at Wembley, which is a great honour, but there are far fewer ever get to win the Lance Todd Trophy.”
So with hope burning bright in my heart, I determined to follow through the behind the scenes process, with the aid of Gary Carter of The Sun newspaper, as it is members of the media who democratically select the winner on the day.
Having been involved in the process for a number of years, Gary is all too aware of the history and exceedingly high profile of the award, and therefore the responsibility which goes with his judgement.
“I never come to a Final with a prior opinion as to who might win it. I always start the game with an open mind, and just watch to see which players come to the fore,” said Carter, prior to this year’s final.
“As far as the possibility of a Salford player winning it, with the game so evenly balanced, I would say that the odds are even that this year it could go to a player on either side.
“It frequently turns out to be the halfbacks, fullbacks, or wingers who get the award, but there have been occasions, such as with Jeff Lima, a prop, who have won it, so it isn’t necessarily going to be someone from one of the expected positions. As far as I’m concerned, whoever is the best player on the day gets my vote.
“It will very much depend upon how the game goes, as to when I will finalise my choice. If, for example, it’s 30-0 by half time, it would be logical to be looking at each player’s contribution to the team in the lead, and moving towards a choice from them. Normally though, it would be about an hour into the game before I will start noticing individuals who have played well, and will then start evaluating one against another.
“I also keep referring back to my notes as reminders as to what has taken place, and with whom. Usually though, it’s three-quarters of the way in when the game changes and you can see who is responsible for that.
“The most obvious winner there has ever been, for me, was Tom Briscoe when he scored those five tries. You just can’t overlook something like that. Even a hat-trick would warrant the scorer not being over-looked.
“What makes this award stand out above all other Man of the Match awards is the fact that it is here at Wembley. Whoever wins it today will be Man of the Match – at Wembley, in the Cup Final. Only the very best players tend to perform on the biggest of occasions, so this is a game which separates the good players from the very best. There are certainly players of that calibre in the Salford team, who could turn the game.”
Three hours later, and the Leeds fullback, Richie Myler, had been voted the Lance Todd Trophy winner, and Gary returned to explain how the process had resulted in this.
“I voted for Richard Myler, and I came around to making the decision as early as half-time. He was certainly most impressive during the first half and his only error in the second half was letting one kick bounce, which gave Salford a try.
“It wasn’t only what he did as a player, it was the way he just talked Leeds through the game.  He made individual contributions with ball in hand, and without ball in hand he was preventing Niall Evalds from scoring by leaping in the air to take Niall’s kick from over his head, and then returning the ball upfield for about ten to twenty metres. That was an absolutely key contribution, but he also assisted in a couple of tries as well.
“Although he was the stand-out player, had Leeds lost I think Niall Evalds, who had made a similar contribution to the Salford side, would have come into close contention, and I would probably have voted for him. It was always going to be one of those two, though Kallum Watkins had a noticeably good game, too.
“The voting slips were collected from us 75 minutes into the game, and the results were:
1 Richard Myler  12 votes
2 Luke Gale   8 votes
3= Niall Evalds   2 votes Ash Handley  2 votes
 
Carter added: “The voting is confined to members of the Rugby League Writers & Broadcaster Association, though because of the Covid situation, not all of them were able to attend, so there was the opportunity for the others to vote online, which some of them did.”
The task of organising the presentation of the trophy now rests with the Salford Red Devils Ex-Players Association, through the Salford Red Devils Foundation, and in particular John Blackburn. For him, the restrictions of Covid19 instigated a complete departure from previous seasons, and a total rethink of how to proceed this year, as he now explains:
“Normally it would have started with us picking up the trophy from last year’s winner, Daryl Clark, but we were unable to do that, so the RFL did that for us and took it down to Wembley. We would usually have done that also, and the sponsor would have gone down at the same time.
“At the end of the game, there could be no actual presentations as such, so Richard Myler had to collect it from a table once his name had been announced as the winner. It was all rather surreal really.
“At the present time, we are unable to hold the usual Lance Todd Presentation Dinner where the presentation of the trophy would have actually taken place, and where we would also have presented him with a Lance Todd Winners tie. Last year’s winner would normally undertake the presentation, and he would, in turn have been presented with a replica of the trophy to keep.
“Hopefully in the summer we will do some kind of celebration dinner for Richard and get a few former winners to come along to join us.”