Salford Red Devils coach Ian Watson slams referee after Super League loss to Leeds

Salford coach Ian Watson accused referee Marcus Griffiths of “ruining” the game as Leeds overturned an 8-0 deficit to win 22-8 at the AJ Bell Stadium.

In a scathing attack on the match officials and also Head of Officials Steve Ganson, Watson accused Griffiths of “washing his hands of Salford” because the home fans turned against him.

Watson highlighted an incident in the second half when Salford full-back Niall Evalds appeared to be tackled in the air taking a high kick.

  • Salford 8-22 Leeds
  • Super League table

No penalty was given and Watson felt it was the catalyst for several big calls to go against his team.

“There are things that happened in that second half that are way beyond our control,” said Watson.

“Ten times out of 10 if that tackle on Evalds was on Sky, that’s a penalty. I’d like Ganson to explain that to me and contact us – he needs to come back to me.

“In this game, things are getting tighter and tighter – we’re talking about people’s livelihoods. People who are in charge of the games have got to be doing it the right way and I felt the game was ruined.

“As soon as the crowd went berserk at the referee, he just washed his hands of Salford and refereed the game in a totally different manner.

We’re not Wigan or St Helens so we’re not important enough to deal with.

Ian Watson

“That’s what I’m not happy about. People ask for your opinion – you should be able to give your opinion.

“Ganson needs to get in touch with me and tell me why he’s putting people in charge of a game who can’t control the game.

“I contacted him (Ganson) a few times last year and he never got back to me. We’re not Wigan or St Helens so we’re not important enough to deal with.”

Of his team’s performance, Watson said: “I thought our effort was outstanding. We played well in the first half but clocked off for one part of it.”

Salford, who have won just once this season, led 8-0 just before half-time but Leeds scored 22 unanswered points to secure a hard-fought win in difficult conditions.

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Tries either side of half-time from Luke Gale and Luke Briscoe turned the game in Leeds’ favour after Salford scored unconverted tries through Evalds and Tui Lolohea.

The second half was to prove a different story as Leeds ground down Salford in worsening conditions. Further tries from Mikolaj Oledzk and Jack Walker confirmed victory for the Rhinos.

Leeds coach Richard Agar was happy to be taking the two points back to West Yorkshire and was impressed with the character shown by his team.

He said: “It was a game of two halves for us. We were really scrappy and poor in the first half but the try just before half-time was a big moment.

“Sometimes you just have to adapt your style of football to conditions and we got it better in the second half. The introduction of Richie Myler and (Adam) Cuthbertson really helped us.

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