Ian Watson pulls no punches with star player set to be dropped

Ian Watson was not happy with his side after they lost to St Helens at the Magic Weekend.

It was less about the result and more about the manner of the defeat.

They were beaten 48-6 by the Champions despite leading 6-0.

Speaking after the game, Watson questioned why his side were so flat in the second half.

“In a game like when you was a kid you’d have died to play in a game like this. To play in a venue like this and to be in a game against a team like Saint, where you can go and compete and challenge yourself against the best players in the competition, they’re the games you want to play in aren’t they?” he said on BBC Radio Leeds.

“So, it seems strange that all of a sudden we came in quite flat at half time. I can’t put my finger on that because last week our attitude to go on the defence was outstanding. But that’s probably been us, we’ve been really consistent in what we’ve done.

“Yet we preach while doing the same things and maybe a little bit has come down to that of personnel. Potentially next week we might have our main spine out on the field which will help. And then hopefully they can stay firm and we can start building a little bit on there.”

This last comment was in reference to the potential return of Oliver Russell.

This came as Watson revealed that the only member of the spine who was secured in his place in the side was Theo Fages which means one of Jake Connor and Tui Lolohea is set to be axed.

“You know what it’s like if you keep changing and swapping players in and around, it’s tough and we’ve tried to get a settled team, but when we’ve tried to get a settled team, there’s certain individuals that haven’t performed and they’ve fell below certain standards,” he said.

“So then there’s other players who are waiting in the wing to come in and perform, and then either they’ve come in and not performed, or they’ve made certain silly errors, and you’ve had to kind of change them on the back end of that, or you give them another game to fix it up and they still haven’t done on the back end of there.

“So yeah, there’s lots of things we can look at and blame and make excuses and stuff like that, it just is what it is. We need to make sure that we improve going forward from here. Like I say, bringing a few players back will help. Everyone’s got to be on the same page.

“There might be individuals that look at themselves and think that they’re way, way off, or they might think they’re doing alright. But as you can see today, there’s some individuals that are way off the mark at the moment.

“That’s for either them to get better or us to replace them and make a choice whether they’re right for us going forward. Because what you generally know about our teams, and they’ve won this year, it’s all stemmed off the back of defence. That wasn’t stemmed off of defence today.

“Yeah, you have to go through little bits like this and it’s not nice as a coach, you don’t want to have to drop players, you want them to look after their own job and do their job well.

“You want to share in their happiness, but unfortunately sometimes players go through a little bit of a dip, whether it’s through form or something that’s happening even away from rugby. And like I say, it’s a cutthroat business and you have to do that as well. At times you have to make those calls on people.