Watson and Salford keeping their feet on the ground

Published: Thursday 30th March 2017 by The News Editor

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Salford coach Ian Watson insists his team will not be getting carried away after climbing up to third in the Betfred Super League with a 22-14 win over St Helens.

Skipper Michael Dobson contributed 16 points with two tries and four goals as the Red Devils made it three wins in a row for the first time for almost two years.

Salford’s fifth win from eight matches came a week after Watson and six of his leading players signed new contracts and provided further evidence that the club are on the up following their close shave with relegation last year.

“We’re moving forward, we just don’t want to lose sight on the focus,” Watson said. ” We won’t get carried away.

“The big thing for us is working hard and sticking to the process of getting where we want to be. We’ll take it week by week.”

Salford led 14-0 after prop Craig Kopczak, one of the players to extend his contract with the club, scored one try and made another for Dobson but St Helens struck back with two tries in eight minutes from Alex Walmsley and Ryan Morgan to set up an exciting finish.

The Red Devils were forced to play the last 10 minutes with 12 men after Robert Lui was sin-binned for preventing a quick restart but they continued to produce some outstanding defence to keep their opponents out and clinched the win with Dobson’s second try six minutes from the end.

“I’m made up with the performance,” Watson said. “We spoke about how we needed to get in the arm wrestle and I believe we did that well, especially in the first half.”

Salford’s desperation to defend their line was epitomised by loose forward Mark Flanagan’s efforts in tracking back to pull off a try-saving tackle on winger Morgan.

“That was the big thing for me,” Watson said. “Flash’s effort summed us up, it was about us never giving in and digging deep.”

St Helens were boosted by the return of England full-back Jonny Lomax, who scored a late consolation try, alongside scrum-half Matty Smith but coach Keiron Cunningham was forced to reshuffle his line-up after losing stand-off Theo Fages with a head injury just a minute into the game.

“In the opening 20 to 25 minutes we weren’t great but credit goes to the players for hanging in there,” Cunningham said.

“Losing Theo really hurt us. We had to move people about and it wasn’t working. Our attack was a little bit clunky so we shifted people around at half-time and it seemed to work.

“Salford are a good side and they played some good stuff. Their structures are good and the boys seem like they enjoy doing what they are doing.

“The game could easily have gone either way. I thought we were fighting to the end and we had a chance of winning the game. We were a little bit panicky and came up with errors which hurt us in the end.

“I’m happy with certain aspects of the game, how we responded and how much intensity we showed in the second stanza. You have to ask why we don’t start with that intensity.

“We let ourselves down in the opening gambit. In these tight games you’ve got to start from minute one.”

Published: Thursday 30th March 2017 by The News Editor

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