Salford head coach Ian Watson insists Justin Carney will be better for the experience of overcoming a tough start against a fired-up Castleford to help his side to a hard-fought 32-16 victory.
Carney left the Tigers under a cloud in the off-season and he found himself in the sin bin within five minutes of his first return to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle following an altercation with Nathan Massey.
The on-loan Australian winger was never far away from the action in a physical Super League clash and scored two tries in Salford’s first win at Castleford since 2004.
“Justin has been great this week and we spent a lot of time speaking about situations exactly like what happened,” Watson said.
“He’s a big player for us. I spoke to him all week about him playing here and he was adamant that he wanted to play.
“It’s an experience this game for him. It’s probably something he’s never faced in his life before, obviously on the back of his actions.
“To be fair to him, all week he’s been really good and said the right things, but the emotion kind of got to him. Jake Webster has slapped him across the face first on and then he’s lashed out again.
“He’s a guy who’s made a mistake but he’s a genuinely good guy.”
Josh Griffin continued his try-scoring form with a brace himself after Greg Johnson’s opener and Gareth O’Brien enjoyed a perfect afternoon with the boot as Salford bounced back from narrow defeats to Wigan and Warrington.
“We haven’t seen the game out over the last few weeks so it’s pleasing to see it out,” added Watson, who confirmed stand-off Robert Lui had sustained a knee injury.
“You know you’re in for a tough game coming to Castleford so to come here and get the two points is a massive result for us.
“Cas are a good team and they’re what we spoke about as a group at the beginning of the season – you build a squad with no idiots in the group and who all work hard for each other.
“That’s why Cas have got to where they have and is the kind of mould I’ve looked at to try to get us to be as consistent as them and finish in that top four. Daryl Powell has done a great job here.
“There aren’t many teams who come here and win. All the big sides will come here and struggle to win so it’s a big one for us, it’s massive.”