Richard Marshall reckons Ata Hingano will prove to be a great recruit for Salford – and not just in the short term.
At this stage, the 24-year-old former New Zealand Warriors and Canberra Raiders player, who had been at Queensland side Mackay Cutters before bolstering the Red Devils’ Super League survival bid, is only signed until the end of the season.
But Salford have the option to add two more years, and their coach, who has reunited Hingano with his fellow Tongan international Tui Lolohea, is sounding an optimistic note.
“We identified Ata as a long-term project for us; he can improve us going forward, not just this year but in the future,” said Marshall, whose ninth-placed side aim to bounce back from a 38-6 loss at Leeds when they host Hull KR on Thursday (they then visit Wakefield on Monday, August 2).
Hingano made his debut off the bench at Headingley, where Marshall started with Chris Atkin and Lolohea in the halves.
Salford were 20-0 down at half-time and threatened a comeback, but lost momentum when Lolohea was shown a yellow card for dissent and forward Seb Ikahihifo followed him to the sinbin after an altercation with a Leeds player.
“We didn’t start well at all and conceded 20 points in the first half,” said Marshall, whose side are ninth.
“There were some individual moments that we were pleased about, but we were caught in the headlights a little bit.
“Our discipline cost us the game. We seem to unravel when we play Leeds – we did it three weeks ago and we have done it again.
“It is a simple lack of respect for the game, the ball and the referee. I have never seen a referee change his decision when someone answers back, and it will never happen.”
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