Ian Watson laughs off Castleford ‘predictable’ announcement of Niall Evalds signing

Salford coach Ian Watson believes Castleford could have been better off announcing the signing of Red Devils fullback Niall Evalds after the two teams play on Thursday.

The Tigers confirmed Evalds would be joining the club in 2021 on Sunday, four days before the teams meet.

It comes almost four months after the deal was initially agreed but Watson played down the timing, joking that it would motivate Evalds to deliver the goods.

He said: “They’re keen to sell some season tickets and make a profile of Niall. Maybe they could have released it after we played them when Niall had maybe scored three rather than the two and sold it on the back of that.

“It was predictable.

“It was released in the lockdown period that Niall was going there so it always going to come out. It comes as no surprise that it came out just before we play them. It shifts the focus somewhat.

“It’s nothing we can control. I spoke to Niall and asked how he was and how it affected him. He was aware it was coming out, he knew.

“But nothing surprises you. There is always something that crops up in rugby league. It becomes quite fun. I got a text going, ‘Did you know that was happening? Did you know that was released?’.

“I said that I didn’t and that I hadn’t really spoken to anyone about it but it is what it is. People can talk about it but we can only focus now on the game and that is what Niall is focusing on this Thursday.”

Watson insists it won’t distract his star fullback.

“I don’t think it will affect him, not after talking to him.

“If anything, Castleford putting him on the front of the season tickets might motivate him to play better.

“He has to make sure he performs to a really high standard because they will all be watching him.”