Ian Watson pays tribute to the retiring Mark Flanagan

Salford coach Ian Watson paid tribute to retiring forward Mark Flanagan after their season came to an end with a 28-20 win over Wakefield.

Flanagan, 32, retires one shy of 250 first grade appearances for the Red Devils, St Helens, Wigan and Wests Tigers.

He moved to Salford from St Helens ahead of the 2016 season, with Watson telling Sky Sports that he was the exact sort of player he wanted to build his new era around.

Watson said: “Flash has been sensational for us. As a person, he works really hard for his team-mates and never quits.

“When I first came into the job, that was something I wanted to bring into the club and it’s been an absolute honour to have worked with him.

“Flash was at St Helens at the time and we got a whisper they might be letting him go and he was the guy we wanted to mould our club on.

“I think Flash could coach, do whatever he wanted. I think he would be outstanding on Sky Sports! He speaks sense, he’s a really clever guy. I think he can be a great ambassador for the game.”

A former Saddleworth junior, Flanagan is the son of former Great Britain international Terry Flanagan.

He came through the junior ranks at Bradford before moving to Wigan in 2007. After making just 10 appearances for the Warriors, he landed a move to the NRL with Wests where he played 27 times under Tim Sheens.

In 2014, he was part of the Super League winning St Helens side, while off the field, he opened a coffee shop with former Saints team mate Jon Wilkin.

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