O’Brien fights off illness for resilient Salford

Salford coach Ian Watson revealed matchwinner Gareth O’Brien shrugged off illness to play a decisive role in his side’s 12-6 win over Leigh on Friday.

Watson revealed that as of this morning, O’Brien wasn’t going to play, but in a testament to the Red Devils’ spirit he put his hand up to play and do a job.

Speaking to the press after the game, Watson said: “Gaz wasn’t playing at half six this morning. He had been ill all night, but he put his hand up and said he’ll be good and he’ll do a job, and he had a good dig.

“It’s something we’ve built up this season about being resilient and smart. Last year we had a lot of close games and we didn’t come through them as we liked.”

It was a scrappy, error-strewn game at the AJ Bell Stadium that was only decided 13 minutes from time and extends Salford run to five straight wins.

O’Brien’s try came off a set play orchestrated by Robert Lui that sought to expose two back-rowers in the Leigh left side following the injury to Mitch Brown.

Watson added: “We wanted to play on that but just didn’t get in to position enough. As soon as Rob did it, he created it really well

The contest was always going to be about the middles. Leigh are an aggressive type of team that we haven’t really faced, and the middles stood up well.

“It was important we completed our sets. Michael Dobson controlled the game massively, and his kicking at their end of the field, he’s probably the best seven in the league at doing that.”

Salford face a tricky Easter Monday assignment as they travel to Catalans.

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