Ian Watson: Super League needs more superstars

James Messenger

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Salford coach Ian Watson says that Super League would grow as a competition if more homegrown players were marketed as superstars.

The current rules in the top flight allow each team to have two marquee signings earning over £150,000 per year, but as of now only Leeds Rhinos have done that, with Trent Merrin and Konrad Hurrell signed up for 2019.

Earlier this week, Jackson Hastings admitted that the British game isn’t doing enough to promote their best players, stating the likes of Richie Myler and Jonny Lomax don’t generate the discussion they deserve.

Watson says that turning players into high-profile names is essential if the competition is to progress.

“100% the sport needs them,” he said. “I think rugby league needs them; I was a big fan of Ben Barba last year and the league should have used him more back then.

“We’ve got genuine superstars in our competition last year and there’ve been a lot more NRL players who’ve come over who are genuine footballers.

“We’ve got our own English superstars as well and what we need to do is to make them into bigger and better role models so that kids want to be them and fans want to come and see them.

“Hopefully, that entices better sponsorship as well and grows the sport. What we have to do as an organisation and as a sport is to promote them really well and make them in to genuine superstars.”