Watson challenges Salford to “break the status quo” in Super League

Ian Watson has revealed he wants his Salford side to “break the status quo” at the top of Super League over the coming years after committing his long-term future to the club last week.

Watson has agreed a new three-year deal with the Red Devils, with several key players also agreeing to stay into 2018 and beyond: Junior Sa’u, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Weller Hauraki and Lama Tasi.

And Watson cited the example Castleford have set when spelling out his vision for the future of his hometown club to League Express earlier this week.

“It’s up to us to build all the time – we have a responsibility to Salford,” he said.

“If we can keep doing that, hopefully we can be a force over these next few years. We want to crack into that top four and the fact that it’s the same teams who win competitions and get to finals.

“Castleford have started to do that but they’re a few years into their process. It’s something every team should strive for – and we definitely are doing.”

Watson is also hopeful that the club can tie down more of their out-of-contract players in the coming weeks and months as they build for the future.

“Hopefully the team and the club now starts to sell itself,” he said. “Our performances should sell it too, and tell people we’re going in the right direction.

“Whenever you come into negotiations with people there’s always casualties because it’s a salary cap sport, but we’re making sure we sort players out as quickly as we possibly can. We’re trying to get through them all and nail them down so their families know they’ve got security.”

Watson has been at Salford since September 2015 – and he insists he’s so upbeat about the future because the club is so different on and off the field from when he started as coach.

“The difference between then and now is absolutely huge,” he admitted.

“People comment now how we’re more linked to the supporters and there’s a better atmosphere about the place – and we want the club to be like that: we want to be family-orientated and somewhere people can come and enjoy themselves.

“It feels like we’re doing the right things – it’s up to us now to continue that. We’re not the finished article, not by a long, long way.”

And Watson also admitted he is a very different person to the one who was thrown in at the deep end two seasons ago.

“You learn a hell of a lot as a person while you’re on the job. It’s not too dissimilar to playing. We’re growing together as a group and I’m loving every minute of it. Salford is a massive part of my life so to continue as coach here is perfect – we’ve got big plans for this club.”