A Debrief With The Devil
Posted on 17th November 2017 at 13:12
Off the back of last week’s victory we jumped at the chance to go back to Salford Red Devils Academy and get a word with the man of the match; forward 2nd year player Sam Bardsley (circled in the team photo). It was a very busy visit as not only did we get to discuss the game with Sam, we also got the opportunity to sit in on a training session and observe the coaches in action! With so much to talk about it’s been tough to condense into one blog but we’ve done our best...
We’ll kick off (see what we did there haha!) with our interview with Sam....
Could you give us a brief overview of the game last week?
It was difficult to start with, I think we went 18 points down so we had to overcome that but together we did enough to win.
Did you have a team talk at halftime to get you all refocused on the second half considering in the first half you had ended up 18 points down?
No because it was always changing, It changed every 10 minutes, like they were winning then we were drawing then they went up again and then we eventually won, so it was sort of every set it changed which meant it was hard to have a plan for.
As we were at the game we also couldn’t help but notice the coaches were always offside does that have an impact?
Yes, definitely. They’re always there... Ben, Junaid, Danny and Neil, shouting abuse (laughs) they’re all very involved in the games.
What made you pick Salford Red Devils Academy?
I live just down the road and I support Salford and I only wanted to do a sports course anyway so it was perfect really and it was better than going to the community college in like Eccles or something- I mean all your mates may go there but you make mates here so that doesn’t make a difference.
The facilities are amazing here too aren’t they? (just where we’re sat now you can see all the trophies in the cabinets).
Yeah there’s not many are there (laughs!) and they’re all ancient aren’t they! (Hmmm some may say historical there Sam haha!)
Would you recommend Salford as an academy to other people?
Yeah, like if you’re interested in Rugby then it’s perfect.
And how did you hear about the academy? Did someone come to your school and give a talk?
No I was on the U16's programme and then Neil came and told me he would like me to progress onto the academy and it’s just flown from there.
Did you know anyone from school or anyone who had come here prior to you?
Not at the time no, I mean I knew some of them before but I didn’t put two and two together, like I knew some of them who’d left school but I didn’t know where they’d gone and then it was only when I came to my first year here that I saw them as second years.
What advice would you give to someone who’s leaving school and has college in their mind as an option but is also considering the academy route?
I’d say it’s down to each individual but if you like sport, and particularly rugby you’d come here. But I also know you do others for Football, I don’t know where they are as they’re all over the place- is it MIFA you do? (That would be correct Sam!) Basically if its sport you’re interested in then an academy like one of these Onside ones would be perfect. But if you’re interested in art or something then obviously don’t come here!
What about Danny as a coach? What’s he like?
Danny? Big and daft (laughs). He’s good, he’s always around us lads and he joins in training sometimes. He can be serious when it’s needed but then he can always have a laugh as well, so he can be both strict and fun- it changes. This is good really. That way we learn different styles.
What would you say is your favourite part of being in the academy?
Just playing, week in, week out. I mean you’ve got to also do the work obviously but I don’t think you could make it any more fun than the tutors do.
Have you met any of the professional first team from Salford Red Devils?
Yeah, they’re always around and Jack (another leaner from the academy) trains with them each day. They’re all dead friendly and stuff, just like normal blokes and they don’t really separate themselves from us- we generally share the same space.
Do they share any techniques, styles or tips with you as young players?
Well we don’t see them that much that we’re always together but yeah if we see them they do say stuff like ‘oh you could do this better’ then we obviously take their advice!
And in your free time when you’re not training and studying here at the academy what do you get up to?
I have a job labouring, so Thursday, Friday and sometimes Saturday but with it coming up to Christmas you sort of get pushed into Christmas temp work. Its very tiring, I’m not being a builder haha! it’s alright for money- better than 9-5 shift but I hate it. I mean the life that they have is awful.
I couldn’t work like that outside I’d be too cold!
It is cold! Freezing! And they all moan at me because I’m there in my coat, my jumper and my jacket.
And as you are a 2nd year student can I ask what your plans are for after this course has finished?
Oh I don’t know, I have this conversation with my Dad all the time.
Have I morphed into him there?
(laughs) yep! I haven’t got a clue, I don’t really like the idea of university, not a uni fan but I’ll definitely carry on with the Rugby
Do you follow Onside Education on social media- our official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages?
I don’t, no (laughs)
Well are you going to start now there is a new social media coordinator managing and updating the accounts (*cough* yours truly *cough*)?
Yeah alright (laughs) (Update he since has- thanks Sam haha!)
We’ll make sure to put lots of pictures up of the games- is that something you think that you and the other lads would be interested in? If the pictures of you all playing are for example put up in albums on Facebook?
Oh yes definitely! We’re all vain here (laughs) we’d all really like to look at them.
As if that wasn’t enough to be keeping us busy we also got the opportunity to sit in on a training session (there were a few walking wounded who were exempt from training but for the others it was down to the gym!). This was great for us to observe and we got some fantastic footage of the kind of exercises Danny and the other coaches do to put the players through their paces! Keep an eye on our social media pages as we will be sharing some of our footage in the near future! The exercises were tough, fun and very creative....we’ll just drop one hint...sock wrestling ;) and that’s all we’ll say until we share the footage....
Overall our visit to the academy was great fun and we already can’t wait for our next visit! And again we’ll say that Salford Red Devils are currently recruiting for their 2018/19 season so if you are interested in playing Rugby at this historic venue with this exceptional team then get in touch now by emailing Salford Red Devils Education Academy manager Neil Blackburn at email@example.com or calling him for an informal chat on 01617861591.
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