RYAN Brierley insists there has been no comedown as reality bites for Salford, he was grounded anyway.
Years spent watching the Red Devils from the terraces have taught him not to get ahead of himself.
Ryan Brierley insists he did not get ahead of himself as Salford get off to a slow startSWPIX.COM
Paul Rowley’s men pushed now world champions St Helens all the way in last year’s Super League semi-final and a settled squad led to hopes they could kick on.
But successive losses to Hull KR and Warrington, along with several injuries that have robbed them of the likes of Ollie Partington, Joe Burgess, Dan Sarginson, Alex Gerrard and Sam Stone, have tempered expectations.
However, full back Brierley saw all too often as he cheered them on what the real priority should be.
He said: “It’s hard as there’s a realism that we spend one of the least amounts in Super League. Ultimately, this club’s first goal will always be to avoid relegation.
“Everybody, though, wants to win. There’s that ambition within every player – we all want to win something.
“We want to win every game but Super League’s not like that, it’s hard.
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“I suppose teams will know more about us, but I’d like to think we’ve got Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.
“It was nice to have a settled squad. I’ve been in teams where it wasn’t and it took a few weeks for things to come together but a settled squad helped with bedding in.”
Salford’s squad may be settled but Rowley’s team certainly has not been. He has only named a 19-man squad for today’s trip to Hull FC and does not have the bodies to put his players through the desired training sessions.
He said: “We can’t do repetitions, we don’t have 13 v 13 so it’s hard to condition yourself when you’re training with 11 players at times in pre-season.
Brierley spent many seasons cheering Salford on from the terracesRYAN BRIERLEY
“We get that from games so I’d like to think if we come through them healthy enough, they’ll condition us – you saw that last year.
“But we’ve been brilliant in matches for long periods in games but not long enough, we’ve then fallen off a cliff at times.
“There have been improvements, the way you show them for longer is by getting reps in. We get to do that in games, so it’s always going to be learning the hard way.”
Today’s match sees Rowley go up against a man he learned plenty from in Hull coach Tony Smith, who took charge of him at Huddersfield.
And as well as looking back, it is a glimpse into the future as it is the first Super League match to be broadcast on a pay-per-view stream.
Salford boss Paul Rowley admits he learned plenty from today’s opposite number Tony SmithSALFORD RED DEVILS/STEVE MCCORMICK
Rowley added: “I definitely took something from Tony, more on the man management side of things.
“I felt he managed me really well and I had a personal commitment to him when I played there, I wanted to win for him.
“That’s quite a strong emotion when you want to play for your coach and Tony has a knack of doing that. I’d like to think I’ve taken that into my coaching career.
“And while the stream doesn’t really mean anything to us – we just get on a bus, go to Hull and play a game of rugby – but anything this sport can do to increase revenue and eyeballs on the sport is a positive thing.”