Salford need to stick together: coach

Salford head coach Ian Watson is backing his players to stand firm as they wait to discover if owner Marwan Koukash is poised to walk away from the club.

Koukash, who brought the Super League club back from the brink of financial disaster three years ago, has hinted he might quit following his failure to overturn a points deduction for breaking the Super League salary cap.

A ruling by independent arbitration service Sport Resolutions to uphold a six-point penalty, followed by a 40-14 defeat by Warrington on Thursday night, condemned the Red Devils to a bottom-four spot and a second successive battle to avoid relegation.

Salford were penalised for failing to declare payments to Tony Puletua and benefits to Lami Tasi and Theo Fages, all of whom left the club at the end of the 2015 season.

Koukash says he will discuss his future with his family, and Watson hopes to hold his own talks with his chairman to get a clearer picture.

Koukash persuaded Sheens to take on the job of director of rugby in October, while he was still technically Australia’s national coach, and he in turn appointed Watson after both had worked together on an interim basis since the departure of Iestyn Harris.

Watson says he has much sympathy for Koukash and believes others should accept their share of blame for the club’s current plight.

“I agree that people who break the rules should be made accountable but I think there are more people involved in it,” he said.

“Marwan has held his hands up and said he’s done wrong but have other people done wrong in the situation as well?

“He came in with a lot of money and I think some people have taken advantage of that. There’s agents, players, other parties involved in this and are they being held accountable?

“That might be a question for the RFL.”

Watson must now prepare his team to face Leeds, Leigh, London Broncos and three other clubs still to be determined in the qualifiers and he is confident they will once more prevail.

“If you get in tough situations, do you want to stand up and fight or cower in a corner?” he said.

“Rugby league players are all of the right mentality and we’ll see our character in action over the next few weeks and months and see what kind of group we actually are.

“I know what’s in there and the playing group know what’s in there and we’ll stand together and hopefully we’ll show what we’re about.”

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