Tag: Kallum Watkins

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V LEEDS (2)

Just six weeks after the Leeds Rhinos had been beaten 26-12, at the A J Bell Stadium, in Round 6, they returned for a repeat encounter, yesterday, when they, once more, had to return back over the Pennines, having lost again, and by a score remarkably similar to that first fixture.

Things had moved on apace between the two matches, though, with the visitors playing this, their first match under the supervision of brand-new coach, Rohan Smith, and the significance of any team performing under the eagle eye of a new man at the top, cannot be overstated.  All too often, this additional pressure suffices to bring out in them a sudden return to form, with an unexpected victory to welcome their new coach’s tenure at the club.

Salford, on the other hand, following a somewhat disappointing Easter weekend, at Warrington and then at home to Catalans, had suddenly produced a vein of form we had not seen in previous rounds, in the closest of contests at Wigan, and then St Helens.  Indeed, the match at St Helens could have gone either way, and many left the Totally Wicked Stadium convinced that the better team had lost.

The return of a number of players, who had missed those two outings, served to bolster them for this contest, as did the inclusion, on the bench, of new signing, Tyler Dupree, who had only completed his move to join the Reds at the start of the week, but, nevertheless, played his part in producing our fourth win of the season.

The first half produced a most intriguing contest between what, in the early stages of the game, appeared to be two evenly matched sides, and judged solely upon the very few stoppages throughout the forty, provided spectators on both sides with full value for money.

When the stalemate was eventually broken, it was Salford who took the match to another level with two extremely well-supported tries.  In fact, three of their four such scores were built on support work of the highest order, and were a sheer joy to watch, with Deon Cross, once again showing what a class act he is at centre, feeding Ken Sio for the opening try, in almost identical fashion to the one which had turned the previous Leeds encounter in Salford’s favour.

Sio was unfortunate not to increase his tally on a couple of other occasions, the clearest of which chances, unusually, saw him unable to fully control the ball as he received it.  Only two minutes after taking the lead, the Red Devils showed that they are every bit as lethal on either flank, when good work from Jack Ormoroyd put Tim Lafae in the clear, and his pass  gave Joe Burgess a clear run to the line.

It was sheer intensive pressure which produced their third score, with Leeds’s defence thrown into turmoil by Brodie Croft’s kick to the try line  being fumbled, and Andy Ackers benefiting from being in the right place at the right time to ground between the posts.

So intense had the opening forty minutes proven to be that by the middle of the second period, both sides began to look quite tired, yet were still prepared to give whatever they could to the game.  The second half was therefore a rather less spectacular affair, with a stalemate developing between the pair with errors through fatigue increasing, though, with a twelve-point lead, it was Salford in whose favour time marched on.

The acquisition of a single point, from a Marc Sneyd drop goal, was undoubtedly the most crucial event of the half, for, if the Rhinos were finding it troublesome eating into a two-score lead, they were certainly going to have problems scoring, on three occasions.  Almost as if to celebrate that fact, the Reds took the game beyond the visitors, when man of the match Croft made a clean break to set up the supporting Ryan Brierley for the final try.

Exciting, and rewarding, as their attack was, it was their absolutely magnificent defence, during the arm-wrestles which developed in both halves, that kept them in control throughout.  Two, incredible one-on-one tackles, midway through the first half, by Kallum Watkins and then Cross, close to their own line, must have been sheer inspiration to the rest of the side, particularly when the going got really tough, in the later stages.

That they kept Leeds to only a pair of tries, one in each half and  with these having relatively little impact on the game. was testament to their commitment, throughout.  Leeds might not have been at their best, but the same was also said about both Wigan and St Helens.

The common factor in all of these fixtures has been the Red Devils’ resilience in repelling and thwarting all three sides over the full eighty minutes, and while they continue to do this, they will win far more matches than they lose.

Kallum Watkins extends Salford stay

Salford Red Devils are pleased to confirm that Kallum Watkins has signed a contract extension until the end of 2023.

The England international signed for Salford, his boyhood club, towards the latter stage of the 2020 season, starting at centre for the Red Devils just over a month later in the Betfred Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.

Our number 3 returned recently to the squad after over 11 months out injured. Watkins has not only hit the ground running, he’s done so playing in the second-row, rather than recognised position of centre, due to the pile up of injuries.

Watkins said: “”I’m really pleased to extend my stay here at Salford. The club are heading in a great direction with the playing group and coaching staff we’ve got here and I’m excited to continue working with everyone.

It’s been a tough last 12 months for me personally, but everyone at the club have supported me and pushed me to get back on the pitch and I’m really happy to be back playing. I want to focus on keeping fit now and doing my best to represent Salford both on and off the field.”

Head coach Paul Rowley commented: “It’s fantastic news that Kallum has committed his future to the club. He’s been fantastic on and off the field and is exactly the calibre of player and more importantly person that we want in our organisation. He’s an international athlete and a role model to all aspiring future Red Devils. I know I speak on behalf of everyone at the club in saying it’s a pleasure and privilege to have Kallum in our group.

Director of rugby and operations, Ian Blease, added: “It’s fantastic for Salford that we’ve got Kallum with us for at least another season. Kallum is the definition of a true professional who leads by example both on and off the field and despite a pretty tough year for him personally with injuries, his experience, talent and knowledge of the game has really strengthened our squad.

It’s great to see Kallum back on the field and his return to the squad has really gave us that shot in the arm we need as we get into the thick of the season.”

Join Watkins on Sunday 15th May for our Round 12 home clash with Leeds Rhinos. Tickets on sale HERE.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V CATALANS

 

Returning to the A J Bell for only their fourth home fixture of the season, the Salford Red Devils will undoubtedly have been hoping for a turnaround in fortunes after three successive away fixtures in which they had come out second best, when they took on the Catalans Dragons, in Easter Monday’s encounter.

Unfortunately, on the day, this did not turn out to be the case, and the visiting Frenchmen returned home to Perpignan with the two league points to promote further their Super League title aspirations.

That seemed far from likely in the opening stages however, as Salford opened the game with aplomb, dominating possession and turning their most advantageous field position into points, with the first of their tries coming in the fourth minute from Ryan Brierley’s kick over the line, to which Deon Cross won the race to ground.

Indeed, the visitors had really looked at sixes and sevens during that opening onslaught, conceding three set-restarts and a penalty, but once the Red Devils had put in their end-of-set kick after the restart, the visitors began to enjoy a share of possession, and chalk up scores of their own.

What will have disappointed the home fans particularly was the way in which Salford contributed to their own downfall, with unforced individual errors, a number of which led directly, or indirectly, to the Dragons’ six tries, all of which were converted.

Two back-to-back penalties, both towards the end of sets-of-six, set up the visitors for their first, on nine minutes, and then, nine minutes later, they forced a goal-line drop-out, which was followed by their being awarded two further penalties, one of which came on the last tackle of their set.  That was more than enough possession for them to go over again and double their score.

The error, which will have caused most annoyance in the Salford ranks, however, was from a penalty awarded to the Dragons at a scrum for the Reds failing to have secured the ball in readiness to feed it in. The shot-clock sounded, while they were still recovering it, and, from the ensuing penalty, Catalans rang up their third try to bring a 6-18 half-time score.

Twelve points is by no means a match-winning lead and there must have still been hopes of a resurgent home side overturning this, particularly against an opposition depleted by a sin-binning, immediately before the interval.  Far from that, however, it was the twelve-man French side which opened the scoring, following a Salford handling error close to their own line, with the ball firting out into the grateful hands of Whitley with the line at his mercy.

It was not until the sixty-fifth minute that Salford were able to add to their opening score, with their second coming after Marc Sneyd had instigated it with one of his favourite chip and chases, which so used to delight spectators of our Youth team, back in the late noughties.  Brierley regathered before putting in a kick ahead of his own for Sio to add to his growing number of tries for the season.

This, however, was merely sandwiched between two further tries by the visitors, the final one of which came as a result of yet another unforced error, this time an incorrect play-the-ball, which gave the Dragons possession to notch one more.

Standing up to a side as big and physical as the French side is, is a considerable task, particularly with the spate of injuries currently plaguing the Red Devils.  The effort they put in to doing this was tremendous, and the go forward provided by Sam Luckley was significant, as was that of the returning Kallum Watkins, in the unaccustomed role of second row following his introduction off the bench shortly before half time.  With the return eventually of others, that effort will hopefully be turned into victories.

Group vaccinations in the Red Devils camp via NHS Salford CCG

With a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Betfred Super League that has affected several clubs, including the Red Devils, a number of Salford players and staff members received their vaccinations on Tuesday through the NHS Salford CCG’s mobile vaccination clinic. 

Kallum Watkins, Rhys Williams, Jack Ormondroyd, Ryan Lannon and Jack Wells went down to the mobile clinic outside the Lowry in Salford this week, as well as our head of S&C Gareth Whittaker and our head of performance analysis, Chris Nelson. A number of players and staff had already had one or both of their jabs, with more group testing planned with NHS Salford CCG in the near future.

Salford Red Devils doctor Tim Sandels commented: “So I’ve been liaising with Richard Whitehead from the NHS Salford team to organise a squad covid-19 vaccination clinic. It’s been really important to get this done and great we managed it.

“The importance of covid vaccinations in the squad is key at trying to reduce covid-19 illness severity and also to reduce potential transmission within the sporting environment. Everyone involved at the clinic were great and it is brilliant that this first wave of players got their vaccines.

“It will hopefully have a positive impact on the community too to see the city’s only elite level sports club taking the pandemic seriously and getting their athletes vaccinated. We’re all just trying to work together and return to normality.”

Jack Wells is one of the youngest players in the squad this year, and he recognises the importance of getting vaccinated.

The 23-year-old said: “As a young athlete at the beginning of my career, I want to be playing at the top level for as long as I can. However, the risk of long COVID could really have an effect on me, such as cause me to develop long-term respiratory problems.

“That’s why I understand how important it is to get vaccinated, for my own health and also for the health of everyone else who I could transmit it to if I tested positive.

“Everyone seems to talk about how vital it is for the older generation to get their jabs, but it’s just as vital for us younger ones in helping stop the spread of this virus.”

All Salford residents over 18 years old, aged 16/17 years old and have an underlying health condition, or a carer either paid or unpaid can book their Covid-19 vaccine appointments here, or attend a walk-in clinic. NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) shares daily updates and details on walk-in clinics on their social media and their Covid-19 vaccine walk-in page.

The national booking system is also available for anyone to book or manage their appointment.

Watkins – “We can go there and get the job done”

Salford Red Devils’ Kallum Watkins believes Salford can rise to the challenge of St Helens ahead of their Round 1 clash with the reigning champions on Friday.

The England centre, who joined his boyhood club back in September, thinks the Red Devils have every reason to be confident that they can take victory from Saints in the opening round of the Betfred Super League.

Following a promising pre-season, a strong start to the campaign will be key to fulfilling Watkins’ wider ambition to bring silverware to the AJ Bell Stadium.

Watkins said: “It is exciting, you have got to take it as a challenge.

“For us, it has been a really good pre-season and we are confident that we can go into Friday and win.

“We are going up against the champions, there is no two ways about it, they are champions for a reason, they are a quality side and they have been the best side for the past two/three years.

“We have got a good squad, we have just got to believe in ourselves as a group that we can go there and get the job done.”

Watkins, who started in the 2017 World Cup final for England, is also harbouring aspirations that he will return to the international fold and knows that delivering key performances for Salford will be crucial to that.

“I want to be consistent in my game and make sure I am preparing as best as possible,” he explained.

“In terms of recovery, there is going to be times where we are playing a few games in a short space of time.

“I want to be successful with this club, I want to win trophies and I want to build on the ambition of what they want to achieve.

“Obviously with the World Cup coming up as well and the last time I played in an England shirt was the World Cup Final.

“Injury and performance has pushed that aside over the years so that is another goal for me to go for but I have got to prove that by putting my all on the field.”

Salford Red Devils’ Betfred Super League season opener kicks off at 6pm tomorrow evening at the Emerald Headingley Stadium, live on Sky Sports and on Our League for season ticket holders.

Written by: Will Dickson

MATCH REPORT | SALFORD RED DEVILS 20-6 WIGAN WARRIORS | SUNDAY 14TH MARCH 2021

Salford Red Devils ran out 20-6 winners in a preseason friendly against neighbours Wigan Warriors at the AJ Bell Stadium.

In what was Salford’s first runout of 2021 and head coach Richard Marshall’s maiden game in charge, the Mother’s Day meeting with Wigan proved a solid test for the Red Devils who looked comfortable for the majority of the game.

After some back-and-forth play in the opening period, Kallum Watkins opened the scoring in the 19th minute after getting onto the end of a neat grubber kick from Tui Lolohea.

The visitors responded with a try of their own minutes later, Sam Powell powering over the Salford line from close range to get Wigan on the scoreboard.

Just before the half-hour mark, Ken Sio made sure Salford went into the break in front in what was almost a carbon copy of Watkins’ try. Lolohea breached the Wigan line with another clever grubber kick that Sio was able to reach first and ground down the right.

Half-time: Red Devils 12 – 6 Warriors

Salford came out looking strong in the second forty with some of the new boys like Elijah Taylor and Jack Wells adding some freshness to the lineup.

Watkins had a great chance to double his try tally in the 54th minute but was pushed into touch just before he could ground the ball in the right corner.

It was Morgan Escare, against his old club, who extended Salford’s lead though in the 64th minute. Jack Wells opened up the Wigan defence with a neat grubber kick of his own that Escare chased down, grounding the ball on the right flank.

With less than five minutes to go, Krisnan Inu finished off what was a solid performance from the Red Devils with a try of his own, barging over on the left.

The game provided a good chance for Richard Marshall to experiment with his new side and puts Salford in good stead for the season opener against St. Helens in just under two weeks time.

Fulltime: Red Devils 20 – 6 Warriors

Salford Red Devils: Escare, Sio, Watkins, Sarginson, Inu, Lolohea, Brown, Ormondroyd, Ackers, Ikahihifo, Lann0n, Pauli, Addy, Atkin, Costello, Aspey, Johnson, Livett, Taylor, Roberts, Wells, Williams, Greenwood.

Wigan Warriors: Hardaker, Hanley, Isa, McDonnell, Bibby, Leuluai, Smith, Singleton, Powell, Partington, Bateman, Farrell, Havard, Bullock, Byrne, Clark, Clubb, Halsall, Sutton, Kilner, Nicholson, O’Neill, Roden, Shorrocks, Smithies.

Salford tries: Watkins, Sio, Escare, Inu

Salford goals: Inu (2/4)

Wigan tries: Powell

Wigan goals: Hardaker

Referee: Christopher Kendall

Image credit: Steve McCormick

 

Squad Builder relaunched for 2021

Salford Red Devils are excited to announce the relaunch of our Squad Builder scheme ahead of the 2021 season.

Since the scheme was introduced ahead of the 2019 season, Squad Builder members have helped bring some big names to the AJ Bell who have had an impact on the Club’s recent progression, with Kallum Watkins the most recent addition.

In the past two seasons we have found ourselves in back-to-back major finals which is a testament to the Club and all its supporters.

Behind-closed-doors games last year made it challenging as many of our income streams were restricted. But, thanks to you, the fans, who helped out massively with season ticket donations, virtual matchdays and Squad Builder, we not only survived but we reached Wembley for the first time in over 50 years.

Head coach Richard Marshall has collated a strong backroom team and has further aspirations for our already established squad, so we appeal to you once again to help build further on the progress we have made by becoming a 2021 Squad Builder member.

Salford Red Devils Managing Director Paul King said: “Now more than ever the Club needs the fans to once again get behind us and help create the environment to breed further success.

“The global pandemic has been challenging, we appreciate fully how incredibly difficult it is for everyone right now but I urge you, if possible, support this initiative to enable the Club not only to survive but to thrive.

“We have all greatly enjoyed our recent successes on the field of play, with the continued support of our loyal fanbase we believe we can kick on and continue to challenge for honours in 2021.”

This year we are giving all Squad Builder members free RDTV from February 21st 2021 through to February 22nd 2022, where members will be able to see all club features, press conferences and previous games.

Squad Builder also gives you the opportunity to bring a friend to games, with game vouchers issued once we are aware of the fixtures and have identified what matches these vouchers can be valid for.

For Gold Squad Builder members, we will be issuing a limited edition signed Salford Red Devils ball in approximately July of this year.

All members will also receive a Squad Builder t-shirt and we will be in contact regarding sizes in the near future.

We hope to be able to offer much more as the season develops and restrictions are lifted and we thank you all once again for your incredible support both on and off the terraces. We can’t wait to have you back with us in person!

Due to government restrictions supporters are not allowed to attend the ticket office in person. However, Squad Builder can be paid for outright online now and from the AJ Bell Stadium ticket office from 9am tomorrow by calling 0161 786 1570, and selecting 1 for tickets and 1 for Salford Red Devils, or by emailing ticketoffice@ajbellstadium.co.uk ,

Monthly Direct Debit payments can also be made, meaning supporters can spread their payments, with the final payment being on the August 15th 2021. This can be done also by following the methods above.

The Squad Builder price categories are split into Gold, Silver and Bronze, to allow fans with different financial situations to support the club accordingly.

The ticket office is open for phone calls and emails from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.