Tag: Ian Blease

Ikahihifo to return to Giants

Salford Red Devils can confirm that loanee Seb Ikahihifo will return to Huddersfield Giants for 2022, after two seasons with us.

The 30-year-old arrived at the AJ Bell Stadium ahead of the 2020 season and helped Salford reach their first Challenge Cup Final in 51 years.

Ikahihifo, who made 28 appearances in a Salford shirt, said: “I’ve had a great two years here at Salford, I’ve really enjoyed playing in front of the Salford faithful who have been behind me and the team every single time we run out.

I feel like I’ve developed my game a lot here, and I’d like to thank everyone involved at the club for the last two seasons.”

Salford Red Devils head coach Richard Marshall commented: “Seb has been a valued member of our squad, his impact off the bench for the team was superb.

“He always gave 100 % and certainly left everything out on the field. We understand the move to Huddersfield suits both parties and we wish him well with the giants.”

Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease added: “I thank him for his two years of effort playing for the Red Devils. I believe we have developed him as a player and given him time to change his game and progress with us.

“I’d also like to thank Richard Thewlis and the Giants for allowing us to work with Seb these past two seasons.”

Give Ikahihifo a send-off by joining us at the annual Player Awards night on Wednesday 22nd September. Purchase a ticket HERE.

Greenwood – “I’m looking forward to the next few seasons”

Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce that James Greenwood has signed a two-year contract extension, with the option of a third.

Our number 21 joined the club permanently in 2020 having spent a short loan spell at Salford in 2015, and helped the Red Devils reach their first Challenge Cup Final since 1969 last season, scoring a try at Wembley.

Speaking on his contract extension, Greenwood, who is sponsored by Salford Rum, said: “It was a simple decision for me to extend my stay, I’ve really enjoyed my time so far at Salford.

“I’m focused on doing my part for the team and giving it 100% for the fans every game. I’m looking forward to the next few seasons as we all look to push on and improve from this year.”

Salford Red Devils head coach Richard Marshall said:  “James has been a pleasure to work with this year. It’s been no coincidence that the games we’ve played well in this season have involved James.

“I think he can further develop next year in what will be an exciting and fit pack. He could well be the cornerstone of that group after a good preseason and further emerge as a leader down the line.”

Director of Rugby and Operations, Ian Blease, said: “I’m delighted that Greeny has extended his stay here at Salford, he’s a brilliant individual and a quality player.

“I know he’s had a bit of bad luck this season with his injuries, but he’s been working hard off the field and with a good preseason, he’ll be back in top form in 2022.”

Salford Red Devils partner with Queensland club Ipswich Jets

Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce a new, exciting, and innovative partnership with Queensland rugby league outfit the Ipswich Jets.

Situated in an area of Queensland that is renowned for its cultural heritage, Ipswich Jets, like Salford, are a community orientated rugby league club, meaning both teams’ values and principles will go hand in hand. This promising linkup will allow the Red Devils and the Jets to utilise future opportunities for player exchanges and to share best practise and knowledge, which will aid coach and player development both on and off the field.

Salford Red Devils Director of Rugby and Operations, Ian Blease said: “When I was in Queensland at the back end of December 2019, I hooked up with the Ipswich Jets Chair Steven Johnson. Travelling on various journeys visiting clubs in Australia, we talked for hours on how both our clubs would benefit from a partnership and how alike our thoughts were on player development, the game in general and how both clubs were very similar on the exciting path of progress that we are both going through.

“This partnership with the Jets will give the Red Devils added elements to our newly designed player pathway and will give our young players the chance to experience rugby league in Australia, whilst also being looked after by an extremely forward thinking and player-caring club, the Ipswich Jets. From my part, this is another exciting partnership that we are building at the Salford Red Devils, with more to come in the future.

“My thanks to both Steven and Richard at the Jets for working with me on this partnership, it is exciting and innovative and will be extremely beneficial for both clubs for many years to come.”

Steven Johnson Chairman of Ipswich Jets said: ” Ipswich is the very heartland of rugby league in Queensland and has been producing the game’s finest players since 1910, from captains of Australia and Queensland, the entire front row of the 1959 Kangaroos, Langer, the Walters brothers, and now the wiz kid Sam Walker. The Ipswich Jets’ proud history of player development is built off the back of environment where the person is always before the player. Building better kids makes it easier to build better players. This partnership is a fabulous opportunity for players not just from both clubs, but for the cities we represent to be better and live their rugby leagues dreams.”

 

Ipswich Jets CEO Richard Hughes added: “ I was born in England and Ipswich and Salford are truly kindred cities that share the same ethos of hard work and a wonderful sense of community. I can see just how the partnership between the Ipswich Jets and the Salford Red Devils can do not just for our clubs, but to grow the game.

“We are a big brand in Queensland sport and are renowned as the innovators of rugby league throughout the game. For us, the chance to create opportunities for players and to share knowledge and resources is exciting, and working with the Salford Red Devils’ unique platforms, these opportunities will be created not just for players and staff, but for our communities in the roles we both play in the fields of education, vocation and wellbeing.”

Salford welcome first three players through Wales RL partnership

Salford Red Devils are delighted to welcome the first three players through our Wales RL partnership.
Ieuan Roberts, Jake Lee and Joe Coope-Franklin will join the club’s Reserve Squad for 2022. Ieuan, Jacob and Joseph visited the AJ Bell Stadium yesterday to meet key club staff and tour the stadium, in advance of their move to the North West next month.
The players will join the Reserve Squad for pre-season training, combining their rugby development with their studies at the University of Central Lancashire.  They have been identified by Paul Rowley, Stuart Wilkinson and Ian Blease during national training camps and their performances within the Wales International Pathway programme.
Paul Trainor, Executive Director of the club said “We are really pleased to welcome Ieuan, Jake and Joe to the club. They have greatly impressed Paul, Stuart and Ian during their visits to Wales. It was great to meet the lads and their families to discuss the plans that will be in place for when they join the Reserve set up for pre-season.”
Paul Rowley, Head of Talent and Pathways said: “Our Welsh partnership has gone from strength to strength and these boys are another example of that.
“From talent identification and development by Stu Wilkinson to housing and educational support by Paul Trainor, these boys have been given a wonderful opportunity to continue the tradition of Welsh stars pulling on the Salford jersey.
“We have complete confidence that each of the lads have both the ability and strength of character to be successful RL players and are very confident these athletes will be the first of many as our work in Wales continues.”
Mark Jones, Head Coach of the Wales RL National Development Academy, added: “Coleg Cymoedd partnership with Salford Red Devils & Wales RL is truly flourishing and I am elated for Ieuan, Jake, Joe & Ryan who are the first players to come through this new rugby league pathway. They are a testament to all the hard work the Salford, Cymoedd & Wales RL staff have put in over the last 12 months.”

SALFORD SIGN YOUNG HOOKER AMIR BOUROUH

Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce the signing of Wigan Warriors hooker Amir Bourouh on a two-year deal, with the option of a further year.

The 20-year-old made his Betfred Super League debut against Salford in 2019 for Wigan, going on to make 7 appearances for the Warriors before being loaned out to Betfred Championship side Halifax Panthers this year.

Bourouh, who will arrive at Salford at the end of the year, has impressed during his 11 appearances for Halifax, scoring two tries and picking up a Man of the Match award in the Panthers’ 17-16 victory over Widnes Vikings in July.

Speaking on signing for the club, Bourouh said: “I’m really excited to play for the club and in front of the Salford fans.

“After speaking with Richard (Marshall) and Ian (Blease) and seeing their ambition for the future, my decision was easily made.

“I want to challenge myself in the Super League and hopefully contribute to success in years to come.”

Salford Red Devils head coach Richard Marshall, who was head coach at Halifax from 2015 to 2019, said: “Amir is a promising young hooker who I’ve been monitoring for a while. He’s shone during his loan spell at Halifax and after speaking with my connections there, they were very impressed with him and couldn’t speak highly enough of his qualities.

“There was quite a bit of interest in Amir and we are certainly pleased he has chosen us to continue his development. He will work really well with Andy Ackers and I am looking forward to working with him over preseason and beyond.”

Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease added: “I was so excited when I watched Amir live this season, more so in a player that I’ve not seen for some time.

“He’s a young gun looking to progress at Super League level but we will look after him the ‘Salford Way’ and let him develop his true potential with us in the long term deal we have agreed.

I can’t wait to start to develop something special at the club with Amir, he’s got it all. We will give him the platform to get to the top.”

Bourouh is the latest addition to Marshall’s squad ahead of the 2022 season, with halfbacks Ata Hingano and Brodie Croft also recently signing for Salford.

Red Devils recruitment is brought to you by Morson.

SALFORD WIN THE RACE FOR BRISBANE HALFBACK BRODIE CROFT

Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce that Brisbane Broncos halfback Brodie Croft has signed on a two-year deal.

The Red Devils had competition for Croft’s signature but the 24-year-old has chosen Salford as his new home and will arrive at the end of the year.

The Australian made his NRL professional debut in 2016 for Melbourne Storm, where he spent three years in the halves before moving to Brisbane Broncos in 2019.

Croft won the World Club Challenge with Melbourne in 2018 and was part of the Storm side that made the NRL Grand Final that year.

Croft has featured quite predominantly for the Broncos since his debut in 2020 and will bring with him into Richard Marshall’s squad some valuable experience despite still being quite young.

On signing for Salford, Croft said: “I’m super excited about this opportunity to join the Red Devils. Rich (Richard Marshall) has been very thorough and bold with the ambitions going forward at the club and I cannot wait to get started. My partner Safina, son Haris and myself are looking forward to moving at the end of the year to begin this new journey together!

I’m also really looking forward to meeting the Salford faithful next season, who I’ve heard are some of the loudest and most passionate fans in the league. I see the restrictions have just lifted in the UK, which is great news! It would be great to see as many people in the stands again as possible, to help the club come out of the pandemic together and finish the year strong both on and off the field.”

Speaking on the acquisition of Croft, Salford Red Devils head coach Richard Marshall said: “We’re delighted to get Brodie over the line as he’s been a player we’ve been working on for a while now.

Brodie has consistently competed at the top level in the NRL and he will add further quality in the halves for us. Despite his talent, he is still quite young so he will only develop and improve.

Having spoken to Brodie at length, he is looking forward to coming over to represent the Red Devils. He will certainly improve our squad and his attention to detail and knowledge of our team is impressive already.”

Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease played a pivotal role in bringing Croft to Salford, and added: “Brodie coming to the Red Devils is up there with any singing in recent times for this club. It has taken a long period of time to get this deal done but I am so pleased to get a player of Brodies quality and class officially across the line.

 “Brodie can come to the Red Devils and enjoy his rugby league again, he is still only a young half back and after speaking with him over the last few weeks he has the determination to come to the club and push us on with our ambition, it will be tremendous to see him don the Red Devils shirt next season and beyond.”

Red Devils recruitment is brought to you by our official club partner Morson.

CAPTAIN LEE MOSSOP FORCED TO RETIRE THROUGH MEDICAL ORDERS

Salford Red Devils can confirm that skipper Lee Mossop has been forced to retire with immediate effect following medical orders.

Prop Mossop joined Salford in 2017 from Wigan Warriors and became captain in 2018. Throughout his career, Mossop has had 11 reconstruction operations on his shoulders to try and prolong his career as much as possible.

Although we are sad to see our skipper go, we have, and will, fully support Moose in the next stages of his life as he prepares for a career outside of rugby league.

Walking into the AJ Bell Stadium off the back of the 2016 campaign that almost saw Salford relegated to the Betfred Championship, Mossop played a pivotal role in changing the fortunes at the club with the recent success of the last two years.

In 79 appearances for the Red Devils, the prop scored 7 tries – a few of those in big games.

Moose captained Salford to our first ever Grand Final in 2019, scoring a massive try against his former club Wigan at the DW Stadium in the Semi-Final.

The following season, the 32-year-old led Salford out at Wembley for their first Betfred Challenge Cup Final appearance in 51 years.

Speaking on his retirement and his time at the club, Mossop said: “It’s with great sadness that today I have to announce my retirement from rugby league. It’s been no secret that I have struggled with shoulder issues the majority of my career but after seeing the surgeon last week, he has told me there are no more surgeries he can offer to help prolong my career anymore and instead, it will be one final operation to give me a better quality of life with my wife and young children.

“I’d like to thank firstly my family and friends who have supported me through my career, the clubs and supporters I have represented and the players who I have shared a field with.

I joined this club in 2017, planning on only being here one year as I thought I’d be forced to retire then but with a lot of hard work from the coaches and physio staff here, I’ve managed to represent this club for almost 5 seasons and been lucky enough to make some unbelievable memories for a club that I now love!

“I was lucky enough to lead this team out in a Grand Final with my little girls, which will always be one of my main highlights of my career. The fans have been fantastic to play in front of and the most passionate I have met.

“On behalf of me and my family, I thank Salford Red Devils and everyone associated with it for 5 incredible years. We will always owe a debt of gratitude to you.”

Salford Red Devils head coach Richard Marshall said: “What a fantastic career Lee leaves behind. Any good leader or captain’s purpose is to leave the shirt, club and environment in a better place. Well Moose ticks all those boxes. Since my first week at the club he has been a pleasure to work with. His passion for the team is unwavering. He leads by example both on and off the field.

This has not been an easy decision and more so when it’s taken out of your hands. He told me a few weeks ago that this was likely to end his career but said he would wear the shirt for as long as possible. Unfortunately, the time came when he couldn’t carry on. The consultant was adamant he had to finish due to chronic shoulder problems that have plagued him for several years. Being the true professional he is, he tore up preseason and started well. However, the game is unforgiving and it was simply too much to keep backing up.

“Lee leaves behind a great career and memories of trophy wins, overseas success and international honours. He should be proud of all he has achieved and more so the person he is today which has been shaped by all his experiences. We wish himself Chloe, Eden , Nancy and Flynn all the success in the future and a wonderful restful retirement.”

Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease added: “This is really sad news for Lee and the club, but I would like to put on record how Lee has been the ultimate skipper and supreme professional for the club since his arrival in 2017. I spoke to Lee retiring early in the week and I was truly gutted for him. It was a very emotional dressing room after the game on Friday against Wigan when he told the rest of team that he was hanging his boots up for good immediately. To see professional rugby league players sharing that emotion with Lee will be something that we all remember forever .

“As a natural leader, Lee has epitomised our club’s desire and ambition to compete at the highest level, not forgetting Lee leading us to our first Grand Final appearance and our first Challenge Cup appearance for over 50 years. Lee knows he is making the right decision for himself and his family now so he can have a quality of life after rugby. I totally respect his decision and it will be a hard task to replace a leader like Moose.”

“I’m enjoying my rugby” – Rhys Williams extends contract

Salford Red Devils are pleased to announce that winger Rhys Williams has extended his contract until at least the end of the 2023 season. 

The Welshman joined the club from London Broncos ahead of the 2020 season and helped Salford reach their first Betfred Challenge Cup Final in 51 years, scoring one of the most standout Wembley tries in the history of the competition.

In 38 appearances, Williams has scored 11 tries for Salford and has been one of the most consistent players in the squad since his arrival last year.

Speaking on why he decided to extend his stay, Williams said: “I’m enjoying my rugby. As long as I’m happy and I’m enjoying being around the team and working hard for them, then that’s good enough for me.

“I pride myself on my consistency and professionalism, and I aim to continue bringing that every week to put in a good performance come game day.”

The 31-year-old has had little experience of the Salford faithful before COVID-19 hit, so Williams is looking forward to playing in front of unrestricted crowds again.

I’m very excited. It was hard times with no crowds, especially at Wembley, so to get out on front of the fans is such a buzz and another reason why I wanted to commit to another 2 years.”

Speaking on Rhys’  contract extension, head coach Richard Marshall said: “I’m delighted to have Rhys extend his stay here at Salford, as one of my main goals for 2022 and onwards is to keep the core of our squad together.

“Rhys is an established international player and is consistently good on the wing each week. I’m looking forward to building on the great relationship I already have with him.”

Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease added: “I am delighted in getting Rhys to agree a new deal with the Salford Red Devils. Rhys has been up there as one of our best players for the last few years and has been a tremendous acquisition for the club since we signed him.

“An ultimate professional with ambition to win every game, he is a player with an exemplary attitude, with total and absolute commitment for our club.  I am so pleased that I’ve been able to agree the deal that will keep Rhys at the club for the next two years.”

Join Rhys at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday 13th August when we host Huddersfield Giants for Round 19 of the Betfred Super League. Buy your tickets HERE.

A TRIBUTE TO DAVID FELL

It is with great sadness that we pay this tribute to our former utility back, David Fell, following a tragic accident, on Friday 23rd July, at the cruelly early age of fifty-five.

David was born on the 25th April 1966, and hailed from Wigan.  His early playing days were in rugby union with Orrell, through whose youth ranks he progressed before being signed by Salford, on a five-year contract, in October 1989, aged 23.

His first team debut came a few weeks later, on November 12th, when he turned out in the centre to face Leeds, at The Willows, where the visitors ran out winners with the final score of 18-38.

He became a regular in the side over the next couple of seasons, with his ability to play in most positions in the back line, but particularly as an inside back at centre or stand-off.  In the sixty-one games in which he started, eight were at fullback, 24 were in the centre, 19 were as stand-off half, and 10 saw him at scrum-half.  He also came off the bench, as substitute, for a further 12 games.

One of his great assets as a player, was his ability to anticipate opportunities for scoring tries, which he exploited by following his forwards around the field, accruing a total of 29 of them, and a points haul of 116.  The 1990/91 season was undoubtedly his best in which he played 38 games and helped the team become Second Division Champions.

The highlight of his time at Salford came in that same season in the final of the Lancashire Cup, against Widnes, at Central Park, Wigan.  Having dominated the game throughout, as a result of David’s and scrum-half, Steve Kerry’s half-back partnership, Salford’s hearts were broken in the last two minutes by a converted Widnes try, which won them the trophy.  David, nevertheless, was most deservedly awarded Man of the Match for his highly impressive performance.

A change of coach at the start of the 1993 season saw a change in his fortunes with the club, and he transferred to Rochdale Hornets, mid-way through the season, in January 1994, before moving on, two years later to join Chorley Borough, in December 1995 for the truncated season ahead of the change to summer rugby.

Salford director of rugby & operations, Ian Blease, had the pleasure and privilege of playing alongside David at Salford, and he had this to say: “David was a great guy, and a really talented rugby player.  He was one of a group of highly talented rugby union converts from Orrell, including Peter Williams and John Gilfillan, who all signed at pretty much the same time as each other and did much to boost the team here at Salford.

“David was the sort of person who fitted in so well with the group of players here, and we all became an especially close-knit team, so much so that we have kept in touch with one another over the years, and more recently have had our own WhatsApp group, of which David was an instrumental part.

“The news, this weekend, has had that WhatsApp group operating flat out, so great was the respect that we had for him as a person and a player.  All of us are absolutely devastated about the news and what has happened to our friend and former teammate.  Steve Gibson, in Australia, for example, was up throughout the night, expressing his grief.

“Our grief, we realise however, is nothing like that which his family must be going through, and we want them to know that they are in the thoughts of everyone here at Salford, and our sympathy and condolences go out to them, especially.”

Atkin pens new deal

Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce that Chris Atkin has signed a two-year contract extension with the option for a third. 

Atkin has impressed since he arrived from Hull Kingston Rovers last year, and despite what has been a slow start to the season for the Red Devils, the 28-year-old has been one of Salford’s standout performers in 2021.

The number 18 has got himself on the scoreboard a handful of times already this season, recently scoring the winning drop goal in a hard-fought away victory over Ian Watson’s Huddersfield Giants.

Speaking on extending his Salford stay, Atkin said: “It was an easy decision to make when I sat down with the club. Salford has quickly become my home since I arrived here last year and everyone at Salford has always made me feel welcome and valued, our loyal fans included.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here so far, we’ve got a brilliant setup at Salford and I’m really looking forward to the future.”

Speaking on Atkin’s contract extension, head coach Richard Marshall said: “I’m really pleased to see Chris pen a new deal with us, he’s a quality player and a brilliant individual off the field.

“He’s been one of our most improved players this year and has really bought into our plans and the direction that our club is heading.”

Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease added: “To have Chris with us for the next two years, possibly three, is fantastic news for all involved at Salford.

“Chris is a key member of the squad and it’s great to know that he will continue to be!

“We are continuing our search for more additions for 2022 as we aim to push on from our success in recent years.”

Join Atkin at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday afternoon, by purchasing a ticket for our Betfred Super League away clash against Castleford Tigers.