Watson happy with Red Devils display against Leigh

Salford head coach Ian Watson is happy where his Red Devils side are after today’s friendly win over Leigh Centurions.

Two tries from new signing Rhys Williams helped last year’s Grand Finalists to a commanding 40-14 win over the Championship outfit at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Joey Lussick, Ken Sio, James Greenwood, Josh Johnson and Ed Chamberlain scored the hosts other tries, with Tui Lolohea (3/4) and Krisnan Inu (3/3) kicking the goals.

Despite the comfortable margin of victory, Watson was still not entirely convinced by Salford’s display in their second run out of pre-season.

“In the first 50 minutes I thought we were good and looked composed,” he said “In the second half we fell away from that but we were making a lot of changes.

“It was important for our second game we played a team like Leigh, which is a step up and I expect them to go really well this year with the way John (Duffy) sets them up.”

Coming out for the second half with a comfortable 22-6 advantage, two early second half tries from Brad Holroyd and Junior Sa’u put Leigh within eight points of the new-look Red Devils.

Despite recovering to restore their healthy advantage by full-time, Watson is well aware his team have plenty to work on ahead of their next game against Warrington.

“We can’t be a team making that many errors coming out of yardage,” he said. “You’re just asking your middles to do more work on defence on your own goal line.

“The mistakes gave Leigh the chance to get back in the game but in the end it worked out really well as it was a good test for our goal-line defence.

“Leigh are a good side and they throw a lot of shapes at you. There were a couple of decisions we got wrong that we can work on.”

A number of new faces took to the AJ Bell Stadium for the first time this afternoon, notably that of experienced half-back Kevin Brown.

The former England international linked up with Lolohea in the halves and his display was one of many that caught the eye of the Salford boss.

“Kev looked really good. He and Tui combined really well which they did last week, although they only had a small amount of time together then.

“Chris Atkin has been training really well and he and Tui linked up really well last week against Swinton, but Kevin was always going to start this game.

“That’s what you want though as a coach. You don’t want to be struggling to find a player to put in. You want players who are going to be able to step in and perform as well as the other guys.”

Whilst hailing the impact of signings Rhys Williams, Sebastine Ikahihifo and Jack Ormondroyd, Watson saved special praise for ‘new leader’ Joey Lussick, who dictated the pace of the game for large parts.

“He’s really stood up in terms of leadership this year. Obviously last year we had Jacko (Jackson Hastings) and he spoke for everyone.

“But with him leaving we needed some players to step up and Joey has stepped up and his development in talking and leading will really help us.

“It’s good for him to take on more responsibility and he’s playing off the back of a big pack, so he will be even better than last year.”

Salford play their final game of pre-season against Warrington in 12 days before they face St Helens in the first game of the new Super League season on Friday 31st January.

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