Andy Ackers has been at the Salford Red Devils since midway through the 2020 Super League season, but it may never have been that way.
Following the demise of the Toronto Wolfpack – whom Ackers had plied his trade with between 2018 and 2020 – the hooker had been attracting a number of other top-flight clubs, but it was Salford that he chose.
“There were numerous clubs interested,” Ackers revealed to Serious About Rugby League.
“But I chose Salford to work under Paul Rowley again who was assistant at the time and also Ian Watson who I have worked with in the past too.”
For Ackers, it was entirely the right decision and, despite being out of contract at the end of 2022, he has professed just how happy he is heading into the 2022 Super League season.
“I enjoy it at Salford – it’s a great club with a brilliant history.
“I am out of contract yes but I just hope to perform at my best and take it one step up this year and be the best I can be at all times and be the best professional I can be.
“I want do all the unheard work behind the scenes right what the fans and people don’t see. My mind set is different this year round I’m happy off the field which is a massive advantage.
“If I can do that stuff right and stay as fit as I can be, I think I will perform much better than I have in the past.”
Ackers is keen to pick up as much as possible from new boss Rowley having done the same from his old boss Richard Marshall.
“It’s always good when a new coach comes in as I’m someone with a mind like a sponge.
“In that sense, I love learning and wanting to get better so when Rich (previous Salford boss Richard Marshall) came in I was intrigued on his philosophy on the game.”
28-year-old Ackers was previously a key cog in the Toronto Wolfpack wheel, making 66 appearances for the Canadian side between 2018 and 2020 – where he first met Rowley.
“Toronto was the best place I’ve ever been.
“It was sad to leave but I had to look after me and my family and look elsewhere as the situation with everything behind the scenes regarding pay etc. wasn’t the best.
“But, I loved my time there the first year under Paul Rowley who I learned a lot from and become great friends with.
“And then I also got to work under under Brian McDermott in the second year, who I also learned a lot from on and off the field.”
Back to his current club and form, Ackers is determined to go to the next level on both a personal and team front.
With Salford reaching both the Super League Grand Final and Challenge Cup Final in recent seasons, the next step is to go that one step further and lift a major piece of silverware.
On a personal note it’s to put himself in the frame for a potential England call-up at the end of the upcoming season, though he knows the challenges he faces of achieving that.
“I think this season is massive for me,” said Ackers. “Like all players I want to achieve the biggest and best things in my career and I feel like I’m settled now but I’m certainly still motivated.
“I want to win trophies, I want to represent my country. I have made it to this level so why not got to the top and compete with the very best? I’m excited about this season and I can’t wait to get going.”