Irish international Tyrone McCarthy is set to compete in this season’s Super League Grand Final. McCarthy’s Salford Red Devils have been the surprise of Super League XXIV. They have now taken their incredible season one step further, emerging as a surprise contender in this season’s Grand Final.
This will be Salford’s first-ever Grand Final appearance. They overcame the challenge of Wigan Warriors this past Friday to book their place in next Saturday’s final.
Wigan are one of Super League’s most successful teams, historically. They have won the Super League on 5 occasions and they’ve been the runner-up 5 other times. Only Leeds Rhinos have won the competition more times than Wigan Warriors. Salford’s preliminary final victory sends a message of intent to their final opponents, St.Helens.
St.Helens, like Wigan, have won the competition on 5 occasions. They’ve also been runner-up 5 times. St.Helens and/or Wigan have appeared in 17 of all 21 Super League Grand Finals. Salford’s journey to the Grand Final has been inspiring. However, they still have a lot to overcome to be crowned champions.
This time last year, Salford were battling in the qualifiers to avoid relegation. Next Saturday, they will become just the 7th team to ever compete in the Super League Grand Final. Should they win, they will become just the 5th team ever to win the competition. On top of that, they would become the first team to win it for the first time since Leeds Rhinos, in 2004.
Simply reaching the final is an incredible achievement for Salford. On the pitch, they have battled against relegation in recent years. An even bigger battle has been going on behind-the-scenes at the club. Salford have had well documented financial troubles in recent years. This season will undoubtedly have been a lift to all at the club.
Head coach Ian Watson has had his say on the impact of their incredible achievement. Following Friday’s victory, he stated that their victory “breathes life into the competition”. Salford reaching the final will not just boost their club, but it will inspire all lower-level Super League clubs.
Ireland and Salford loose-forward Tyrone McCarthy will need to be prepared to play the game of his life, next Saturday. McCarthy has played under pressure, in big games before. He captained Hull KR in the 2015 Challenge Cup final.
Before that 2015 final, McCarthy humbly spoke in interviews about his time playing in Papua New Guinea. McCarthy spoke, almost in awe, about the difference in “the luxuries and nice facilities” available at Wembley, compared to his Papua New Guinea days.
He will have one more chance at the big stage next Saturday. His experience, both on the pitch and in life, will undoubtedly be invaluable to Salford.