In recent years Salford Red Devils have pulled off some unlikely signings which have led them to huge success.
Perhaps the best signing they ever made was that of eventual Man of Steel and Wigan Warriors star Jackson Hastings.
Speaking to Roar, Ian Blease explained how this signing was made:
“I remember chatting to Jackson with Ian Watson,” recalled Blease. “Watto said ‘just go out there and play. Run. He came in, loved it and ended up running too much! We thought he was going to get hurt.”
Meanwhile, he explained how the club’s philosophy led to them signing current Man of Steel Brodie Croft:
“There was a couple of clubs in for him but at that time, he had a huge question mark. Nobody even knew what his best position would be.
“But he was quick, he had good skill and he’s a rugby nerd, so I knew that if we put the right people around him, he’d fly just like Jackson did.”
Similarly, Salford’s attitude so them bring in Tim Lafai:
“I’m not ageist,” said Blease. “For me, if you look at the player’s body and the physical records that are available, you can make a judgement.
“Tim Lafai is a great example. He’s 32 but hasn’t played in the NRL for a couple of years so his body was still good.
“Some clubs don’t want certain players over a certain age, but I’ve never been like that. You’ve got to do your background work and get your physio involved.
“Age is not a main driver. I have an eye on it, of course I do, and more people have mentioned it this year. But I’m comfortable with it.”