3 Oct 2019
Watson's massive underdog story
Ian Watson has called on his Salford players to give one last push as they bid to complete the ultimate underdog fairy-tale and reach the Betfred Super League Grand Final.
Salford are just 80 minutes from Old Trafford and facing St Helens as they look to complete one of the most remarkable turnarounds in sport.
Just 12 months ago the club finished second from bottom and eventually stayed up after another arduous battle through the Qualifiers.
And at the start of this season the Red Devils were written off along with London Broncos as relegation fodder, but they have defied the odds to get to the point where Wigan Warriors stand in their way of achieving their dream.
Watson said: “If we win this week and make it to the Grand Final then it will be a massive underdog story.
“Everyone wrote us off at the beginning of the season and said the players were not good enough and we were not good enough as a club to even be competing in Super League.
“There were people who questioned us playing in the Super League and just said we would be competing against London to avoid relegation.
“But that is not what we are about as players and as a club and I think we have shown that. There is a game here now that we have to nail off in order to achieve our ultimate goal.”
Wigan beat Salford 18-12 two weeks ago in the earlier rounds of the play-offs – but this time it is winner takes all with one side going through to the Grand Final.
And Watson is in no doubt where the game will be won and lost and believes that the defeat actually helped his side as they prepare for this week’s clash.
He added: “The defeat a couple of weeks ago to Wigan has helped us a lot.
“It has shown us a few areas where we need to improve in play-off football – we have some good players who have played in some big matches but that game taught us a valuable lesson in what the play-offs are about.
“With Wigan losing at St Helens last week and us beating Castleford it has changed things a bit and the momentum is with us. But the week before it would have been vice versa when Wigan beat us.
“But this is a new game and it is a one-off game to try and get us to where we want to get to and that is Old Trafford and the Grand Final.
“If we defend well and control the ball then we will be going to the Grand Final. Defence will win you the game, 100 per cent.
“Controlling the ball helps because it does not fatigue you as much but it is the defence that will win the game.”
The Betfred Super League Grand Final is the biggest night in Super League and takes place at Old Trafford, the iconic home of Manchester United on Saturday 12 October (6pm KO). Secure your seat by visiting https://www.superleague.co.uk/tickets/grand-final