‘At the time it got under my skin’ – Ian Blease addresses Jon Wilkin’s comments about Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils have arguably been one of the surprise packages of 2022.

After being written off by all and sundry at the beginning of the year, Paul Rowley’s men have gone from flirting with relegation to getting to a Super League semi-final play-off – and have done it in the greatest style possible.

With free-flowing movement involving the likes of Andy Ackers, Brodie Croft and Ryan Brierley, the Red Devils have cast aside the likes of Castleford Tigers, St Helens and Catalans Dragons with ease in 2022.

Now, it’s the turn of the reigning champions once more on Saturday afternoon, but this time it on the turf of the Totally Wicked Stadium.

However, during this season, Salford have still had their critics – not least Sky Sports pundit Jon Wilkin who, earlier in the year when describing the Red Devils, believed they had no ‘backbone’, no ‘minerals’ and no ‘steel’ to get them into the play-offs.

That prompted criticism from all in the rugby league fraternity, but none more so than Salford Director of Rugby Ian Blease who has now addressed those comments on Sky Sports: The Verdict alongside Wilkin.

“At the time it got under my skin a little bit,” Blease said.

“I know Jon through years gone by and Jon had things to say at that time and that’s his job but I knew what was going on behind the scenes.

“Anyone who has taken to the pitch has got the backbone and has a bit of steel about them.

“Things don’t go right completely in a season, but I knew that the guys had the minerals to get on that roll.

“Thanks to Jon he’s helped us get on that roll!” Blease joked.

It remains to be seen whether or not that Salford roll will continue this weekend, but a Grand Final is within touching distance.

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