Salford injury woes continue

Published: Sunday 26th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Salford boss Iestyn Harris admits he may have to call on his 38-year-old assistant coach Ian Watson for next Friday’s trip to Hull after picking up more injuries in Sunday’s 22-20 home defeat by Castleford.

Already without four players through suspension and another eight because of injury, Watson stepped up his training in the week in readiness to come out of retirement.

In the event, Harris was able to muster 17 players with the addition of Wigan loan duo Oliver Gildart and James Greenwood but the Red Devils look to have lost Adrian Morley (ankle), Wayne Godwin (concussion) and Liam Hood (suspected broken thumb) and have a doubt over Kevin Locke, who played for an hour with a groin injury.

“He was pretty close to playing today and he’ll be closer next week,” Harris said of Wales international half-back Watson. “He’s been upping his training just in case. We’re potentially without a nine.

“We had a lot of guys out there who were busted. We only had one change at the end and Scott Taylor did 80 minutes today, which was a terrific effort.

“Liam Hood has gone to hospital, Mozza has turned an ankle and Goodwin got smacked around the head and looks as though he’s going to come under the concussion rule.”

Despite all the adversity, Salford battled all the way and for long periods looked the better team, with Locke scoring two of their four tries after switching between wing and stand-off to telling effect.

“We’re really disappointed not to win but the effort was terrific,” Harris said. “We had a lot of players out of position and we had to find a way to attack because we only had one half. We caused them some trouble, it was one of those games that got away from us.”

Gildart, an 18-year-old centre, caught the eye on his Super League debut with a series of penetrative runs, one of which created a try for Locke.

“I was impressed with him at Wigan,” said Harris, a former assistant coach with the Warriors. ” I knew his quality and he showed some nice touches today.”

Castleford’s former Salford centre Ashley Gibson scored two tries against his old club to cancel out the home side’s 10-0 lead but he was upstaged by teenage winger Ash Robson, who followed up a speculative kick from Ben Roberts to score the all-important try on his Super League debut.

“I thought he was good,” said Tigers coach Daryl Powell. “He demonstrated the energy he’s shown in the Under-19s to score his try. He hadn’t played much on the wing but I thought it was a good opportunity and I thought he handled it well.”

Robson’s 64th-minute try put Castleford 22-10 up but they could never shake off their determined opponents and Powell admitted it was a disappointing performance from his side.

“We weren’t great,” he said. “Everybody will say Salford had a lot of people missing and I suppose all the pressure was on us.

“I don’t think we played well at all but there were some games earlier in year when we should have won and didn’t. It was scratchy from us.

“It was a wierd sort of game. Neither side looked really comfortable.”

The glut of injuries even extended to referee George Stokes, who damaged an ankle seven minutes from the end and was replaced by reserve official Chris Leatherbarrow.

Published: Sunday 26th April 2015 by The News Editor

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