Salford Red Devils head coach Ian Watson has spoken highly of his men for gritting it out to the end of the season despite a plague of injury and illness in the squad.
Watson highlighted Monday’s hard-fought comeback victory against Catalans Dragons at the AJ Bell Stadium as a reflection of the work his side have been putting in.
“People don’t understand what players are going through to get fixtures played and secure their careers,” Watson said.
“They’re putting their bodies on the line to be able to do that, and again I can’t pay them enough credit at this moment in time because I see everyday how sore they are and I see what they’re like when they go on the training field.
“We can keep badgering them, saying ‘you’ve got to try harder, you’ve got to do this better,’ but when you’re physically struggling, it’s very, very difficult.”
Salford were forced to forfeit their Betfred Super League clash with Warrington Wolves last week due to not having enough fit players, but Watson believes it was the best decision in the long run.
“It was well highlighted how many players we had missing going into the Warrington game.
“The Warrington game probably would have killed us. It probably would have meant we wouldn’t have been able to fulfil the next fixture, or even the next one or the next one after that.”
🙌 𝗖𝗢𝗡𝗚𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗨𝗟𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦 to our dear friends @WarringtonRLFC!
🆚 Tonight's cancellation means the Wolves have recorded their first win against the Red Devils in six attempts!
👏 Persistence pays off!
— Salford Red Devils (@SalfordDevils) October 30, 2020
The Red Devils boss highlighted the key work his medical team had put in to make sure his squad could return to action for the Catalans game.
Watson added: “Again, when we talk about being a team here, some of the players wouldn’t have taken the field if it wasn’t for our medical team over the last few weeks.
“Our medical team – the work they’ve done – beyond and above is how to explain them at the moment in everything that they’re doing, in terms of just looking after the players and making sure that they’re right to be able to roll around again.”
Salford finished the season in style last Friday with a 28-20 win against Wakefield Trinity to end the year on a three-win streak.
Below, you can listen to Ian Watson giving a brief outline of Salford’s medical staff.