Salford coach Ian Watson reveals how he used to pass on his problems to another local lad


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Red Devils boss played in the same amateur side as the famed prop, who was slightly bigger than he was

IAN Watson hopes to turn the clock back at Salford almost 50 years but does not need to look far to glimpse into his own past.

And the Salford coach has revealed how he used to pass on his on-pitch problems to someone who became a feared hardman – Adrian Morley.

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Ian Watson could take Salford to Wembley for the first time since 1969

Local lad Watson once played as a youngster at Eccles, whose pitch is literally the other side of the M60 motorway from the Red Devils’ AJ Bell stadium.

He still keeps in contact with some of his former team-mates and coaches, many of whom will be cheering his side on against Wigan on Sunday.

And he recalled how as a little half-back or hooker, he often used to report any issues to Moz, who later established himself as an icon in Super League, the NRL and for England and Great Britain.

Ian Watson Salford

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Ian Watson played for local amateur side Eccles as a youngster

“Moz was always the one you had to keep an eye on,” Salford coach Watson said.

“If anyone hit me, I’d tell Moz and he’d probably end up getting sent off!

“They’re known as Eccles and Salford Roosters now and there were some good players in that side – John McAtee, who played for St Helens, Nathan McAvoy and Moz.

“I speak to the old guys I used to play with all the time – one of the lads I played with, Dave Ratcliffe’s son, Jack, is actually in our scholarship here and trains with the first team.

Adrian Morley bowed out of rugby league

Adrian Morley is a Salford lad who ended his playing career with the club

“It makes me feel old when you think he’s 16-years-old!”

If form was an indicator of how semi-finals will play out, Wigan fans may as well book their Wembley hotels now.

Salford have lost their last three in Super League, conceding 113 points and failing to get on the scoresheet at Leigh.

Watson admits Manu Vatuvei and Tyrone McCarthy may make their debuts after he decided chucking them straight in at Leigh days after getting off planes from New Zealand and Australia was too big a risk.

Adrian Morley has retired for his son

Morley was one of the best props in rugby league – but Ian Watson remembers him as the person he would turn to if he was targeted

But he revealed to SunSport the main message behind their preparations for their first semi-final in 19 years – no regrets.

He added: “The main thing is no regrets. Everyone wants to put their best foot forward and if we come off the pitch knowing we’ve given our best and we’ve been beaten by a better team, so be it.

“But if we do our job and give 100 per cent effort, I’m sure we’ll be pretty successful at weekend.

“It’s about keeping a level playing field and not playing the game too early. We’ve trained well for a month, which is why our performances at the weekends have surprised me, but there’s been good things in them too.

New Salford winger Manu Vatuvei could make his debut in a Challenge Cup semi-final

New Salford winger Manu Vatuvei could make his debut in a Challenge Cup semi-final

“We just need to get better and put it all out there on Sunday.”

Salford have sold all of their 4,600 ticket allocation for the Warrington clash but SunSport can reveal one fan will miss out if they reach Wembley.

Leicester City assistant boss Michael Appleton is a huge supporter after growing up in the shadow of their former home at The Willows.

But should Watson’s men do it, he will not be able to go to Wembley as the Foxes have a game on August 26 – at a certain club named Manchester United!

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