'Salford have been a breath of fresh air to Super League'

Ben Flower is tackled by former team-mates Lee Mossop and Gil Dudson
Ben Flower is tackled by former team-mates Lee Mossop and Gil Dudson

Salford coach Ian Watson says his team's achievement in reaching a maiden Grand Final will give hope to the rest of Super League seeking to break the monopoly of the big four.

Former Wigan props Lee Mossop and Gil Dudson were among the tryscorers against their old club and winger Krisnan Inu kicked eight goals from as many attempts in the Red Devils' 28-4 victory over the reigning champions that earns them a tilt at St Helens at Old Trafford next Saturday.

Watson's men have become only the eighth team to play in the Grand Final since its inception in 1998 and will now seek to join St Helens, Wigan, Bradford and Leeds in lifting the trophy.

"We've been a breath of fresh air in the competition and it gives other teams hope," Watson said.

"When you think about how many teams have won the Grand Final or been to the Grand Final, you can count them on one hand.

"So for Salford to do what we've done over the course of the season is a massive achievement by everybody involved.

"But what we can't do now is think that it's good enough to get there, we need to make sure we finish the job off."

Watson admits his players drew extra motivation from being written off by the critics, who expected his team to be battling with relegation rather than contesting the play-offs.

"It's a big statement from the players having been written off," Watson said. "People questioned us even being in the league at the beginning of the season and basically told us we just had to focus on finishing above London.

"But we knew what we had in our group. We had people who were competitors.

"We tried to cherry pick them out of good clubs. People probably thought they were done so to get another opportunity with Salford will probably be one of the proudest moments of their careers."

It was a desperately disappointing way for England stand-off George Williams to end his Wigan career but Jackson Hastings and Jake Bibby will get to play their final Salford games at Old Trafford before joining the Warriors next season.

Hastings, the favourite for Man of Steel, was in tears at the end after being greeted by his mother Megan, who had flown over from Australia to watch the game.

"His mum wanted to surprise him," Watson said. "She's been on the journey with him all the way through his career so it was a touching moment at the end."

"I honestly don't know how we did it, we just did it," Hastings told Sky Sports.

"I've not had these tears of happiness before but I'm so proud. It's incredible. I'm truly going to miss this."