Watson proud of Salford journey despite Grand Final defeat

Salford Red Devils head coach Ian Watson admitted his side were second best on the night but paid tribute to his players’ efforts throughout the year after they lost to St Helens in the Grand Final.

The Red Devils defied their doubters to reach Super League’s showpiece event for the first time, but were beaten 23-6 by a dominant Saints side who rarely let up from start to finish.

Watson was full of praise for Saints but also for his own players for what they have achieved in 2019.

“It’s a tough one but the best team won on the night. I’m so proud of my players, what they’ve put in has been great and it’s been a hell of a ride,” he told reporters.

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“Everyone from the backroom staff and the players have bought in to what we wanted and have been held accountable and that’s why we’ve been so successful.”

Watson also paid tribute to the Salford fans, who turned up in huge numbers at Old Trafford and throughout the play-offs, as well as Man of Steel Jackson Hastings, who will leave the club for Wigan next year.

“Our supporters have been outstanding all year and hopefully we can keep hold of a few thousand who are here tonight and become similar to what Saints are in that sense,” he added.

“Jackson will be missed, hes been a big part of what we’ve achieved but players decide to move on. We’ve got some good signings coming in next year and hopefully this experience will set us up well for the future.”