Paul Rowley believes his Salford Red Devils side will soon be back to winning ways, and says he won’t be changing much ahead of their trip to Huddersfield Giants on Friday night, despite having lost their last seven.
Six of those seven defeats have come in Super League, meaning that now with just six games remaining until the cut-off, they’re still in the pack chasing the play-off spots.
The run began with defeat to eventual finalists Hull KR in the Challenge Cup, and is yet to end. Before this dip in form though, Salford had been going well and had won eight of their nine previous games in all competitions.
That may be why the boss isn’t losing sleep about the slump they currently find themselves in, and why last week was one with few bodies in the building.
‘It’s important to be mentally healthy’ – Paul Rowley details choice to give squad time off
Rowley said: “(We’ve got to) keep working hard, we didn’t do a lot wrong in our last game.
“Defeats come in many shapes and different types. You can be defeated and be nowhere near in a contest, and I can’t recall being in that situation too often if you take the Catalans game out.
“We’d consider ourselves unlucky in aspects of certain games (along this run), but you’ve just got to keep working hard and keep believing.
“If the spirit’s good and you don’t get disheartened, you’ll realise its sport and this sort of thing can happen. There’s no dramas from where we’re concerned.
“We had a week off for the cup which has enabled us to give the lads some time off and a bit of a break, so most of them have had a holiday. We’re back in though now and we’ve had a good couple of sessions.
“You’re never really going to make much gain in terms of the physical side of things, so it’s more important to manage your team and make sure that everyone is fit and healthy.
“I guess that’s important in being mentally healthy too, so it was a good opportunity and we felt it was one we’d take. Some teams have maybe trained through it, but we understand our group and what best serves us, so that break is what we went with.”
Salford Red Devils chief discusses Super League permutations
A win for Salford on Friday night at the John Smith’s Stadium would not only end their losing run, it would possibly end any real hopes opponents Huddersfield still harbour of making the top six.
Rowley didn’t rebuke that suggestion in Tuesday’s press conference, and encouraged his side to use the possibility of eliminating a rival from the mini-competition which exists on the ladder, in terms of the play-off race, to their advantage.
Sunday’s defeat to St Helens leaves Ian Watson’s Giants three places below the Red Devils in 10th, but that gap is only two competition points, representative of how tight the competition is this year.
The Salford chief added: “Everybody’s been looking at the permutations every week this year because the changes have been quite dramatic on a regular basis.
“You can jump three of four places, or drop the same, with just one win or a loss. The difference now is that the clock’s ticking and the chances will become less and less, so we’ve got to start taking ours when they come around.
“With all those permutations, we’ve got an opportunity to do something (on Friday night), and for that reason, it’s a really important game.”