Salford Red Devils’ attacking flair might have helped Paul Rowley win the Betfred Coach of the Month award for July.
But, as the Red Devils aim to keep their push for the play-offs alive in August, one of Rowley’s right-hand men, Kurt Haggerty, says no-nonsense defending is at the heart of their approach.
Salford, where Danny Orr is also on the coaching staff, went into their round 22 trip to Leeds occupying the sixth and final play-off spot on points difference from Hull.
That’s after wins in four out of five fixtures in July, at Warrington (32-24), against Catalans at the AJ Bell Stadium (32-6), away to Toulouse (24-11) and at home to St Helens (44-12).
Their only defeat was against their former coach Ian Watson and Huddersfield, who won 30-18 at the Magic Weekend and who visit the AJ Bell for this Saturday’s Channel 4 showdown.
The victory over St Helens, in particular, had people talking after the Red Devils ran in eight tries to condemn the reigning champions to only a fourth league loss this year.
“We need to get straight back to our defensive focus – that’s the big challenge,” said Haggerty.
“Of course we work on our attack. People say it’s off the cuff, but in fact we put in hours and hours of work on the training field and in formulating our plans.
“But every week, our game is built around defence, and hopefully we do the pretty stuff on the back of it.”
Haggerty joined Salford over the close-season after spending the latter part of the 2021 campaign as interim coach of Leigh.
“It’s been great working with Paul, who I’ve known a long time, and I have learned a lot,” he added.
“It was great to see him get some recognition through the monthly award, and it was well deserved.”
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