MARK FLANAGAN, a key figure in Salford Red Devils’ spectacular revival, has just signed a new contract with the BetFred Super League club.
The 29-year-old loose forward, who began his playing days at Saddleworth Rangers, will be staying with Salford until at least 2020.
Mark, who joined Salford from St Helens last year, is delighted to be remaining as he explained: “I spoke to other clubs, but wanted to stay.
“These are exciting times as Salford are third in the table and through to the semi finals of the Challenge Cup.”
Mark, who was this season appointed Salford vice captain, admitted it has been a roller-coaster short spell at Salford who last season escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth, something he described as a “hiccup”.
Salford trailed by eight points with 90 seconds left, but two unconverted tries tied the game and they won 19-18 through a golden point in extra time.
He said: “We were not far from being relegated and it was nerve-wracking to play in what was described as the £1million game that we won to stay up.
“I have been asked what the difference has been this season, and it is probably the fact we have signed a couple of quality players. We also have a tight-knit group with a great work ethic.
“I knew we would have a good season, but not this good. Maybe it was the fear of being so close to being relegated that has spurred us on this season and made us knuckle down and not take anything for granted.”
Mark, was brought up in Grasscroft, admitted it was a big shout to leave a club like St Helens for Salford.
He explained: “I had worked previously with people at Salford and bought into their vision, and I am excited by what lies in store for the club.
“I’m really looking forward to the next three years, as we’ve shown at the start of this season we’ve got a quality side and we’re starting to build something, so staying was a no brainer.”
Head Coach Ian Watson is delighted to have secured his services long term, saying: “We’re really pleased that Mark has decided to continue his career with Salford.
“His form would have attracted interest from elsewhere but he’s a really important part of what we do, so it’s a really good re-signing for us.
“Flash is one out main leaders, he’s uncompromising in defence, and he’s a really good ball playing loose forward. He’s part of the glue that holds this team together.”
Salford CEO Ian Blease feels his experience is invaluable: “Mark brings the experience of winning things with him, and with the team challenging at the top of the table, that is exactly what we need in the club as we look to achieve our goals.”
Mark, who began his career at Wigan, has also played for Wests Tigers in Australia’s NRL.
“That is the toughest league in the world and it was a great experience to play for them. I have also won a Grand Final with St Helens so I have been lucky to experience some good times in the game,” he added.