Tag: Mark Flanagan

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

Ian Watson | “It’s our defence we take pride in”

Head Coach Ian Watson was delighted with his sides 0-46 victory over Catalans Dragons and discussed a range of pleasing aspects of the performance.

On the performance…

We felt we did a lot of positive stuff last week against St Helens. We did things that maybe the supporters don’t notice but players see in those big game and we knew coming to Catalans we’d have to be at that level of performance or above it so we kept the game plan really simple this week because we knew how good Catalans were but coming here and nilling Catalans is above what we thought we’d achieve here. The defence won the game. The way we kicked them into pockets and then we were really resilient at the back end and that won us the game. The attack is the icing on the cake for us but it’s our defence we take pride in.

On surprising people with the victory…

Every week we go in to play and I know the players and I believe we’ll beat everyone we play. It’s no surprise to me that we’ve won. We’ve got a good group but they’ve just got to grow and mature together in learning how to win the bigger games and the mentality we had against St Helens we had today as well, but we were better against Catalans. It shows we can beat teams by doing things right, but we’re used to people knocking us – it’s nothing new.

On the forward battle…

Our pack had a meeting the day before the game and said that if we were to win this game our pack needed to step up here. Lee Mossop – despite the latter not playing – led the way in that meeting, Mark Flanagan came back in and Gil Dudson has been a leader since he arrived, those guys stood up and made it clear they wanted to set a standard for the pack, and everyone has seen what they’re capable of. I thought Daniel Murray was outstanding and Ben Nakubuwai too. Adam Lawton must have come on and had to defend six goal line sets and that’s the tough part of the game and his attitude was not to be beaten there and that was the pleasing thing.

On Jake Bibby…

He was absolutely outstanding today. He’s been waiting for his chance and we’ve always had Junior Sa’u in there who always does a good job and is a leader for us. Bibby has had to be patient this season, but he’s took his chance today and put a bit of pressure in the centre positions. We’ve been waiting for Bibby to play because we sensed in pre-season, he was ready this year to step up and he’s shown a real good account of himself there.

On the halves…

I think Jackson Hastings and Rob Lui were very mature today. From the sideline you can hear them talking and Robbie was very mature in how he managed the game and he was talking to Jackson all the time, so he was helping him because we have to remember Jackson is only young and Robbie is the experienced half and he’s played outside Jonathan Thurston so he knows how to pass his maturity onto Jackson.

On preparing for Castleford…

We knew we were coming into a tough run of games but we’re confident as a group that we can perform, and we’ll be keeping our game plan really simple, so everybody knows their role. The lads deserve a lot of credit for this performance and should take the plaudits, but we’ll be back to work next week for Castleford.

On the attitude…

The pleasing stuff was when we defended a number of back-to-back sets and then went down the other end and the support play was still there. We did make an error, but our defensive line got straight back in position and that just shows your team is hungry and ready to work hard for each other.

On the travelling support…

We’ve spoken about the away fans all year and I think they’ve been outstanding at every game. You can’t knock them they were unbelievable singing the roof off the place. I know they love a good trip to Catalans, but this will be better for the result and they hope they enjoy their night.
 
Tickets for Salford Red Devils next fixture against Castleford Tigers at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday 17th March are now available from the Club Ticket Office and over the phone on 0161 786 1570. For ticket and coach details, click HERE.
Salford Red Devils next home fixture sees them welcome Wigan Warriors to the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday 24th March and you can purchase tickets from the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online HERE. For ticket prices, click HERE.

Community | Salford Red Devils celebrate World Book week at St Phillip’s

Earlier this week Salford Red Devils visited local primary school St Phillip’s C of E to read to the children as part of the World Book Week.
Salford stars Rob Lui, Joey Lussick, Mark Flanagan, Ken Sio, Lee Mossop and Greg Burke were accompanied by Head Coach Ian Watson and read to age groups from Reception to Year 5. The Red Devils were promoting reading at a young age and the importance of having male role models to the next generation.
The lads read books on a range of topics from dinosaurs to grandparents with Greg Burke getting through three books and Rob Lui staying behind to continue reading to his class who loved the ‘Star Man’s’ entertainment.
Head Coach, Ian Watson, said: “It’s fantastic to have the lads out in the community and doing activities with youngsters such as reading to them as part of World Book Week.
“We’ve got a great group of players at the moment who are more than willing to put themselves out into the community of Salford and promote fantastic initiatives such as this.
“It is important that children are reading from a young age and having positive male role models showing them that reading is enjoyable and beneficial can only help promote that in and around Salford.”
 
Remember, if you have a child under the age of 11, they can claim a FREE Junior Season Ticket for the remainder of our 2019 Betfred Super League season. Just visit the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office or call 0161 786 1570 now.

Squad | Ian Watson names 19-man for trip to Catalans

Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad to travel to Perpignan to face Catalans Dragons on Saturday 9th March.
Ed Chamberlain – who has missed the early weeks of the season through injury – is named in the squad and could make his first competitive appearance of the 2019 season.
Jake Bibby is also looking to make his first start of the 2019 Betfred Super League season. Mark Flanagan will be looking to come back into the starting team as will George Griffin who missed last week’s game against St Helens after pulling up in the warm-up.
Lee Mossop misses the game after picking an injury in last Thursday’s game against St Helens.
Here is the full 19-man squad:

Ian Watson | “We’re confident in the teams ability to learn”

Head Coach Ian Watson was pleased with the effort from his side and feels the Red Devils can learn a lot from their opponents St Helens.
He also touched on a number of other topics in his post-match press conference.

On the game…

Credit to St Helens on how good they were defensively – that was the key. I thought just they were really consistent in turning us over in a pocket and were really consistent with their line speed and intensity in defence and knowing when to drop off and be really disciplined and not give penalties away coming out of yardage. Their defence was outstanding, and it was something we spoke about at half-time and that we needed to be better at and learn a lesson from a champion team. I think we did do that in the second half, and we were miles better at it and that’s credit to the players. I thought there was a lot of effort and endeavour from our lads.

On learning from St Helens… 

That’s a key thing for us and I think it’s what we’re trying to learn as a group. We’ve got a group in now who understand how we want to play and what we want to be known as. Saints have taught us a lesson in how we want to set about defensively really and to have that patient approach but I suppose that’s why they’re consistently playing in semi-finals and play-offs and until we buy into that and are as good as them at that we won’t get to those semi-finals at this point but we’re confident in the players’ ability to learn and to go forward from here.

On the injuries…

Teams pick up injuries, it wasn’t why we lost the game. Losing George Griffin and Lee Mossop obviously disrupts things but big credit to Daniel Murray he was 18th man and he’s been told to jump in on short notice and stood up against Alex Walmsley and Luke Thompson. Lee Mossop looks like he’s torn his hamstring and is the worst of them all. George Griffin felt it pulling up and when he hit a shield, he felt a pain go through it, so we won’t know how bad that one is until he gets assessed next week.

On the defensive efforts…

Jackson’s trackback try-saving tackle was special as was Ken Sio and Niall Evalds’ effort on Tommy Makinson. We encourage those kinds of efforts from our players because it shows a real desire and work ethic within your team.

On the start to the season…

It’s been a good start and I’d say this performance was good, it’s given us something to build on. I’d say the disappointing performance was the Leeds one for us. I don’t think we represented ourselves well in the Leeds game, but I thought against St Helens we dug in and a lot of other teams may have cracked a lot earlier than what we did. We just need to learn to not get bored doing things and be a little more patient in our approach.

On squad depth…

I’m confident in the squad we have particularly with our middles. We’ve got Adam Lawton who is developing really well playing down at Rochdale Hornets at the moment and his movements have been looking a lot better in those games we’ve been watching. We’ve also got Daniel Murray and Mark Flanagan didn’t play this weekend either so there are guys to drop in there and I don’t think we’re in a desperate situation just yet.
 
Tickets for Salford Red Devils next two home fixtures against Wigan Warriors on 24th March and Hull FC on 7th April are both available to purchase at the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 7861 570 or online HERE. You can SAVE money by purchasing in advance!

Squad | Ian Watson makes one change to 19-man squad

Head Coach Ian Watson has made just one change to the 19-man squad as Salford Red Devils prepare for Saturday’s trip to KCOM Craven Park to face Hull Kingston Rovers.
Daniel Murray has entered the side and is in contention to make his first Betfred Super League appearance of 2019. Tyrone McCarthy will be looking to force his way into the starting side for the first time this year against one of his former clubs while Jake Bibby is also challenging for a spot in the team.
Ken Sio will make his first visit back to KCOM Craven Park since leaving Hull Kingston Rovers back in 2016.
Tickets for Saturday’s game against Hull Kingston Rovers are still available from the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office and over the phone on 0161 786 1570. You can also book coach travel for this fixture by visiting the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office and over the phone on 0161 786 1570. Salford Red Devils retain 25% of any early ticket purchase. To see ticket prices and coach pick-up times and points, click HERE.
The full squad is as follows:

Ian Watson | “Teams who defend well win games and competitions”

Salford Red Devils moved to the top of the Betfred Super League table following a 24-0 victory over London Broncos and Head Coach Ian Watson was pleased with various aspects of the win. 

On the result following a tough week…

Happy to get the week over with really. We’ve had a tough week. A lot of the lads have been down with the flu, so much so that I had to cancel training on Thursday afternoon. Rob Lui was a doubt for the game as he was struggling with it on Saturday. What the lads have done is outstanding earning the victory over London.

On the game…

We knew not to underestimate London. Both times we’ve played them while I’ve been here, and we’ve played them in The Qualifiers we’ve been beat. We know they’re a dogged team and we knew that it didn’t matter if we got a lead on them whether that be 6-0 or 18-0 like Wakefield found out last week. You have to defend well and be on it to beat London, every week you’ve got to be right to play a team like London, so we knew exactly what they’d bring and the fact that we’ve done the job proves that we’re a better team than we were last year.

On the defence… 

We spoke a lot about the defence in the build-up, history shows you that teams who defend well win games and competitions. It is something we’ve worked really hard on. I thought it was led really well by Niall Evalds from the back who is the boss of our defensive line and I thought his goal-line efforts were outstanding. To defend as well as we did do as a team and keep London Broncos to a nil was a massive effect and it bodes well for the team.

On proving people wrong…

If you listen to the pundits on Sky Sports the other day, we shouldn’t be in the league the way they were talking but that’s for people to have their opinions. People said us and London would be down there and getting relegated. We’re only two games in and we’re not getting carried away, but we’ll see who is right at the end of the season.

On next week’s game against Leeds…

They’ll be coming here ready to play and they’ll be fired up. They’ve got a new coach and despite losing their opening two games they’ll come to play and they’re still a strong team. They’ve had a tough opening with the games that they’ve had but we’re confident as a group, we don’t need to shout about it we just need to go about our business and do the job.

On the new signings…

That was a big thing for us – would our new signings make the team better? They definitely have done on and off the field. Ken Sio is great around the place and is brilliant with the younger guys, he’s fitted in well. Greg Burke is like a new signing this year as well alongside Gil Dudson and they’ve all added to us and given us a better edge to us as a team.

On any injury concerns… 

No, I think we’ve come through okay. Mark Flanagan didn’t come back on due to back spasms but I think that’s just old age with Flash!
 
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. Season Tickets will now be at a reduced price on a pro-rata basis.

Talking Points | Huddersfield Giants 14-34 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils opened their 2019 Betfred Super League season with an impressive victory over Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium and there were plenty of talking points from the game.

Dangerous left-hand side

The Red Devils ran in seven tries in their 14-34 victory with five coming down the left-hand side. Two of Niall Evalds’ three tries were down the left-hand flank while Junior Sa’u opened the scoring and Ken Sio grabbed a brace on his debut on the same side.
Jackson Hastings and Evalds combined on numerous occasions throughout the game after quick ball from the likes of Greg Burke, Mark Flanagan and Joey Lussick. Evalds was the standout performer cutting through the Giants line on numerous occasions as well as setting up one of Sio’s two tries.


Sa’u had to leave the field midway through the first half with a rib injury with Jansin Turgut moving into the centres. The Turkish international looked just as comfortable as Sa’u as he set up the first of Sio’s double.

Mossop’s massive minutes

In his post-match press conference, Head Coach Ian Watson pointed to Captain Lee Mossop as a massive contributor to the victory as the prop-forward played sixty minutes for the Red Devils.

Mossop was a constant presence in the middle of the park. The former England international got through a lot of hard yards while keeping a powerful Giants pack quiet for the most part. 

Huddersfield – Happy hunting ground 

Last night’s victory marked the sixth consecutive victory at the John Smith’s Stadium for the Red Devils. It is also now the third consecutive season in which Salford’s first away victory of the Betfred Super League season has come at the John Smith’s Stadium.


It is also Salford’s first victory in Round One of the Betfred Super League since 2014 when the Red Devils overcame Wakefield Trinity 18-14 at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The away following

The Salford Red Devils faithful turned out in strong numbers for the opening game of the 2019 Betfred Super League season with both Ian Watson and Niall Evalds praising the following from the supporters.


The away following was extremely similar to that of last season’s trip to Halifax and were loud and proud throughout. The Red Devils host London Broncos on Sunday 10th February and will be looking for some more terrific support.

Ian Watson | “I can’t wait for the season to start”

Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson has given his thoughts on a range of topics ahead of this year’s opening game of the Betfred Super League season against Huddersfield Giants.
On getting the season underway…
“I just can’t wait for it to get started, though it does seem a bit earlier these days. The most important thing is that the guys have had sufficient time to recover, mentally and physically, and then get back into pre-season to the work that needs to be done there.”
On the new players in the pack…
“Adam [Lawton] is bigger than the units we had last season, while Gil Dudson has come in and set some really standards. He is really standing out as a leader among our middles, alongside Mark Flanagan and Lee Mossop.
“Jansin Turgut will also provide some pace, aggression and ball handling skill to our outer edge.”
On Jake Bibby…
“They are no longer kids now. They are fully fledged first teamers, which is what we kept instilling into them last season and they did in fact grow into that tole as they showed through some really good performances.
“We have already seen a difference in Jake Bibby during this close season compared with last year’s and the players are now seeing him as a genuine contender to hold down a place in the team.
“That is a big positive for both him and the team and he deserves a lot of credit for the way he has conducted himself through this last twelve months.”
On Daniel Murray…
“We’ll be looking to him to be challenging the likes of Lee Mossop and Gil Dudson who, at the moment, have the advantage over him with their longstanding experience. But we shall be looking at Dan, along with Ben Nakubuwai, to be playing more games this coming year and stamping their authority on the team.”
On the transition from last season…
“We have got to kick on like we did that other time. It is all well and good performing in The Qualifiers but we now have to do it against the likes of St Helens, Wigan and Wakefield.
“We are a strong, capable group with the ability to do this, and if we manage each game carefully and get something out of each of them, that momentum will continue to be generated and will take us forward.
On the loop fixtures…
“We have to play all the teams in the league at some point, so we are not going to be worrying about which team is coming up when. We are just going to focus on ourselves and what we can deliver, and we are most confident within the group that we can do well.
“We know that we shall be facing certain additional challenges with having extra games against Wigan, Warrington and Leeds, to name just a few, together with an additional trip all the way down to London. Those are the fixtures and it is our job to go out there and compete in all of them.”
On the shot clock…
“Everything is going to take place in a lot shorter time period, and at a whole lot quicker pace than previously, particularly with the number of interchanges also being reduced even further, from ten to eight.
“It is absolutely great for us, because our middle men are athletic, and we also have a number of forwards who regularly play a large number of minutes anyway, so we are more than happy with these changes.”
 
Tickets for Friday’s game against Huddersfield Giants at John Smiths Stadium are available from the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office and over the phone on 0161 786 1570. Ticket prices will rise on gameday so we advise supporters to purchase in advance. Salford Red Devils also retain 25% of any purchase from the AJ Bell Stadium.
Coach travel is also available to Friday’s game and can be booked at the AJ Bell Stadium or over the phone on 0161 786 1570. All ticket prices and coach details can be found HERE.

Talking Points | Salford Red Devils 52-6 Swinton Lions

Following Salford Red Devils’ comfortable victory over Swinton Lions in their first game of 2019, we take a look at some of the talking points from the fixture.
Attacking threat
The Red Devils ran in eleven tries in a controlled performance against Swinton and the attacking skill Ian Watson’s men possess was on show throughout. Junior Sa’u, Greg Johnson and Joey Lussick all profited from the attacking display crossing for braces while there was also another five Red Devils on the scoresheet.
Sa’u and Johnson’s tries all came on the back of some quick hands out wide. However, there was a number of occasions when Salford broke from deep thanks to the likes of Mark Flanagan, Niall Evalds, Jackson Hastings and young debutant Connor Davies-Aspey.
Flanagan – who began at loose-forward but went on to operate as half – linked up well with Evalds on a number of occasions which led to some great Red Devils tries. Hastings went through the line in almost identical fashion to his debut against Leeds Rhinos last year to set up Sa’u’s second try.
If the Red Devils can continue to cause problems from all over the field, we could see some more excellent tries throughout 2019.
Connor Davies-Aspey
Salford Red Devils Academy player Connor Davies-Aspey was awarded a one-month trial earlier this week and he certainly made the most of his opportunity against Swinton with an impressive cameo in the final twenty minutes of the game.
Davies-Aspey came onto the field and managed to make three clean breaks. His break in the final ten minutes put winger Derrell Olpherts over in the corner and he was close to finishing the game with two try-assists however pulled the trigger a second too early on his pass to Jansin Turgut just minutes earlier.
Head Coach Ian Watson praised the young hooker in his post-match press conference saying it ‘was great for young kid to come in and do that’. Read more of Ian Watson’s reaction here.
Davies-Aspey has certainly put himself in contention for a place in the squad next weekend as the Red Devils face current Betfred Super League champions Wigan Warriors in a pre-season friendly at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Versatility and depth
After the interval, Ian Watson made four changes to the starting side with Greg Johnson and Derrell Olpherts coming onto the field in place of Ed Chamberlain and Jake Bibby. Both Johnson and Olpherts would go on to score in the second half showing the quality of the Red Devils’ options on the wing this season.
In the pack, the likes of Tyrone McCarthy and Ben Nakubuwai entered the fray and made an impact following impressive forty-minute stints from Lee Mossop and new recruit Gil Dudson in the first half.
Half-back duo Jackson Hastings and Rob Lui both left the field midway through the second half with Mark Flanagan, Joey Lussick and Niall Evalds jumping into the halves. Salford’s try-scoring form didn’t slow down, and the Red Devils continued to look smooth in the absence of a permanent half-back.
The crowd 
On a cold January afternoon fans of both Salford Red Devils and Swinton Lions braved the conditions to watch their sides putting together a solid showing for a pre-season friendly with 1798 people in attendance.
Salford vs Swinton is a fixture – that was Head Coach Ian Watson pointed out earlier in the week – doesn’t happen too often anymore so it has become somewhat of a sought-after attraction. Our Betfred Championship visitors brought a strong following down the road to the AJ Bell Stadium this weekend while our loyal Red Devils were in fine voice as always showing the passion for the game in the local area.
Next weekend, the Red Devils host another local side in Wigan Warriors, and we’ll be hoping for a similarly strong turnout.
 

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.