Paul Rowley immensely proud of Salford side in defeat

Josh McAllister
Paul Rowley Salford Red Devils SWpix

Photo: Fabrice Rodriguez/SWpix

Salford head coach Paul Rowley was an immensely proud coach following his side’s semi-final defeat to St Helens. 

The Red Devils were knocked out of the competition by St Helens with a 19-12 scoreline at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Against all odds, Salford continued to prove people wrong all season, defeating Huddersfield in the eliminators to claim their spot in the semi-finals against the Saints. 

“I’m proud every day of this group,” said Rowley immediately after the game. “We’ve been on a decent journey this year and it cumulated in a decent occasion today. Two sets of fans did the game justice and it was a big stage. We just fell short, and that’s quite heartbreaking.

“I thought Saints expectedly came out really aggressive and dominated all the first half. I think they had around 12 sets on our line and we had one but we scored and that probably tells you everything. 

“Give us a bit more of that territory and maybe Brodie and Andy, we would have scored more. But that’s more what ifs. 

“I thought we were resilient and tough. There was a lot to be pleased about. You can’t question the character and if you have a side with character then you give yourself a chance.

“St Helens played aggressive and played tough and came up with some really great plays to get the game won.” 

Paul Rowley on potential penalty-try and Andy Ackers

Centre Tim Lafai was prevented from a try-scoring opportunity late in the second half that could have had a massive impact on the game. The outcome saw Tommy Makinson sent to the sin-bin, but Rowley believed it should have been a penalty try. 

“Yes, is the short answer,” he said when asked. “It’s a tough one because I do, but there’s no point sitting here talking ifs and buts. For me, I’m concentrating on what we did do and controlling the controllables.”

The side also lost influential hooker Andy Ackers just two minutes into the clash due to a head knock.

Asked how that impacted the game, Rowley said: “It was massive. The best hooker in the competition this year and we lose him. On the back of losing Brodie Croft, we go all year with a settled spine and then when it matters, we lose them to concussions. 

“It was a huge blow is the simple answer.”

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