Super League 2019 Preview: Salford confident despite thin squad

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Salford coach Ian Watson continues to build his team despite the financial restrictions placed on them.

The Red Devils have been forced to balance the books by losing some players, though their major news over the off-season was the retention of the impressive Jackson Hastings, who will carry a lot of their hopes on his shoulders this season.

The worry for Watson is if injuries hit, the squad is thin, and with no academy to bolster those numbers, and it would appear no budget to add further numbers, it’s a risk – especially with automatic relegation back in the equation.

That said, Watson has probably been one of the best pound-for-pound coach in Super League in the past few seasons, he will just need to find some more consistency than they managed last season.

Watson said: “We’re probably a little bit short in a couple of areas and we’d like to boost our squad, but obviously finances dictate that.

“Either way, with the squad we’ve got, I’m very confident and very excited for the season to start.

“It takes time to build a team. People think you can just buy a team and throw it straight out there, but it’s about building relationships.

“Over the last few years we’ve brought in Mark Flanagan, Lee Mossop, people like Rob Lui and now Jackson (Hastings) and Ken Sio, and we’ve started to add quality and build our squad.

“We’ve had to be really smart and try to get competitors and winners in, and it takes you time to do that. It takes a few years to do it. Look at Castleford, how long they’ve taken to build a team and they’re nearly there but Daryl (Powell) will tell you he’s still building his team as well.”

Coach: Ian Watson
Assistant: Martin Gleeson
Captain: Lee Mossop
Key Man: Jackson Hastings
One to Watch: Adam Lawton

Ins: Ed Chamberlain (Widnes), Joey Lussick (Manly), Ken Sio (Newcastle), Greg Burke (Widnes), Jansin Turgut (Hull), Adam Lawton (unattached), Gil Dudson (Widnes), Adam Walker (unattached)

Outs: Lama Tasi (Warrington), Ryan Lannon, Weller Hauraki (both Hull KR), Jack Littlejohn (released), Craig Kopczak (Wakefield), Levy Nzoungou (Hull), Luke Burgess (retired), Kris Brining (York), Gavin Bennion (Swinton)

Squad: 1 Niall Evalds, 2 Ed Chamberlain, 3 Kris Welham, 4 Junior Sa’u, 5 Jake Bibby, 6  Rob Lui, 8 Lee Mossop, 9 Josh Wood, 10 Gil Dudson, 11 Josh Jones, 12 George Griffin, 13 Mark Flanagan, 14 Joey Lussick, 15 Adam Walker, 16 Greg Burke, 17 Tyrone McCarthy, 18  Ben Nakubuwai, 19 Logan Tomkins, 20 Daniel Murray, 21 Greg Johnson, 22 Derrell Olpherts, 23 Ken Sio, 24 Jansin Turgut, 25 Adam Lawton, 31 Jackson Hastings

Prediction: 11th