Watson delight with Ikahihifo

Ian Watson is still getting his head around the fact that he’s managed to sign Seb Ikahihifo.

The Salford head coach has long admired the prop forward, who has joined the club on a season-long loan from Huddersfield.

A Dream Team member in 2017, Ikahihifo has struggled to recapture that form since then.

But working with the Red Devils has reinforced Watson’s belief that Ikahihifo is one of the most destructive players in the game.

“I’m honestly made up that we’ve got Seb,” said Watson.

“I’ve been an admirer of his for years; I tried to sign him when we had big Ben (Murdoch-Masila) and I’m so happy we’ve managed to get hold of him now.”

When asked how he would ensure he rediscovers his best form at Salford, Watson said: “We’ve got to keep him happy and interested in playing the game the right way.

“We have to play to his strengths. It’s working with his strengths rather than worrying about his weaknesses. But the big one for us is working with strengths. His leg speed and acceleration is just out of this world. He’s going to cause team a whole lot of problems; we just didn’t have anyone like him last year.”

Another big man in Salford’s new look pack is Pauli Pauli, who Watson has been delighted with after the early stages of pre-season.

The powerhouse came into pre-season early off his own accord, and has hit the ground running since.

“Me and GB (Greg Brown) met Pauli and it was his idea to come in early.

“We told him we’d give him the time as he’d just had a baby but he wanted to do it and come in straightaway.

“He had two weeks off, max, and was in before everyone else. We spoke about what we wanted from him and where we could get him.

“He’s working really hard. We’re not worried about his weight, we’re focused on his condition and movement. We’ve signed him because he’s explosive and big. We want to get him where he can play big minutes and so far he’s been outstanding.

“He’ll tell you it hasn’t been a walk in the park. He gets through the conditioning and is bouncing and laughing after.”

© League Express (Mon 16th Dec 2019)