Salford Red Devils director of rugby on potential Super League takeover bid as he explains recruitment policy and spare quota spot

IT’S fair to say that the Salford Red Devils have been making waves in recent years – on and off the field in Super League.

After hiring former Leigh Leopards boss Paul Rowley as head coach, Salford have gone from strength to strength on the pitch, reaching the semi-finals of the Super League play-offs in 2022.

Off the field, too, cogs have been whirring as the club looks to secure investment with one of those potentially interested being local businessman Sebastian Gerrard.

Director of rugby, Ian Blease, has explained that, whilst Gerrard will not be number one at purchasing the AJ Bell Stadium, he is hoping that the businessman will help the Red Devils financially.

“Seb has been informed by the council that he isn’t the preferred bidder because the council are purchasing it themselves now which I think is a great idea,” Blease told League Express.

“I’ve known Seb for a while so we will see what happens. Will he help us? I don’t know yet but I hope at some stage he will come and help us but you never know.”

The work being done off the field is a credit to Blease, the board and the coaching staff and it’s no surprise that all of those involved in the recruitment process have been able to find hidden gems such as Jackson Hastings and Brodie Croft.

In terms of identifying those to bring to Salford, Blease detailed just how rigorous the process is, taking advice from two clubs in the NRL to help him along.

“From the coaching team, there is a lot of analysis done in the background; it’s not just about stats on the rugby pitch, it’s about the background, what type of human being you are, what your family is like and whether or not you get up to any mischief! But all clubs do that,” Blease continued.

“I visited a few clubs in Australia and I listened to what they said and I’ve tried to get the right people more than anything. They’ve got to be able to play rugby but I think that process stems back to when I first came to the club and it was me on the phone to agents but it’s a bit vice-versa now because they know our coaches will give them a chance.

“We’ve got geniuses in the coaching staff and they will bring the best out of a player and if he wants an opportunity at a club then Salford is the club to do that.

“We’ve got a quota spot left going into the season and it’s good to have that because our off-field ambitions do match our on-field ambitions, but that takes time and it’s not easy.