Watson sets the record straight after disappointing Salford defeat

Salford head coach gave a rousing post-match dressing down to the media after seeing his side drop out of the top eight.

The Red Devils lost 24-16 to Huddersfield on Friday, a fourth straight defeat for the club.

It was a toxic atmosphere at the AJ Bell Stadium at the end of the night, with fans emphatically showing their frustrations following the final hooter.

Watson himself came in for criticism from some fans, despite guiding the club through a hugely difficult period since taking over several years ago.

When asked what his message to the fans would be, Watson, who cut a frustrated figure, spoke passionately as he gave a rallying call to everyone associated with the club.

“We need them to be positive, it’s challenging on and off the field at the moment.

“Look at the teams around us, or look at the teams in Super League. Let’s say the four teams below us. Hull KR, Catalans, Huddersfield, who were below us before tonight, and Widnes. They’ve all got squads of 40-odd players, they’ve all got a scholarship programme, they’ve got genuine people they can keep rotating and compete with them in training. In that term you’ve got me, Glees (Martin Gleeson), Willie (Poching) and Greg Brown jumping in and training and competing against a Super League team, or trying.

“You’ve then got the salary cap, or supposed salary cap, that you’re playing too. We don’t play anywhere near to anyone’s salary cap, the fact we’re even clinging into that eighth place is a wrap on the boys and then when the supporters jump in on the back and say it’s not good enough, have a look at the situation we’re in and try supporting the club because at the moment we need money to come into the club so we can generate more funds and get more players.

“It’s a tough situation, we spoke about selling Gaz O’Brien. I was dead set against the opinion but Gaz obviously wanted to have a little look at somebody else. Last year we had Benny Murdoch-Masila and Gaz O’Brien. Gaz O’Brien gave us 21 try assists and about eight tries. We’ve not got that from anybody at the moment. Benny Murdoch-Masila cropped up with however many tries last year. In a tight game like that he bounces someone off and scores a try. Look at (Ben) Barba and what he’s doing for Saints at the minute. We don’t have those players and the group knows that so we have to grind results out and stick at it as a team.”

He continued: “That’s the supporters as well and from the top too. We know what situation we’re in and yeah, it’s not a great situation but it’s a challenge and something we should approach in a siege mentality, but we’re not doing that, people are jumping on the back of it, saying there’s a problem at the top end, there’s a problem there, there’s a problem here, there’s a problem with the supporters.

“People are trying to rectify issues that have been here for a long, long time and that’s it for me. You can keep trying to look for excuses, what we need to do as a coaching group and players is fix things up and win games, we need supporters to do their job and come in through the turnstiles and support the team and then we need the board to do what they’re doing which is try and regenerate the club by getting rid of debts as well. We’ll only do that by working together. Yes, it’s a tough situation but it’s not the end of the world, people face tough things in life, this is a challenge we need to accept, we need to have that resilience and siege mentality and conquer it.

“We need to all work together, at the moment the club is dealing with things that have been going on for years and years to now. We do have a good group of supporters, that hardcore who are always good. You have others who want to be dead negative and bounce off the back of everything and slag everybody off, jump on players, jump on coaches and stuff like that. Are they best not just jumping behind the team and giving them some support?

“There’s a bloke who sits next to me who is constantly, constantly going on about the team. I don’t think he’s ever said one positive comment when he’s there. You don’t like listening to it, but flipping heck, it’s your team, there might not be a team if you don’t consider supporting it.”