It’s been a disappointing start to the season for The Dragons. In 2017 they narrowly avoided relegation after beating Leigh in the Million Pound game in a year of real underachievement.
Head coach Steve McNamara has plenty of experience having played at the top level for his home town Hull as well as over 100 matches for Bradford before stints at Wakefield and Huddersfield. Steve was a quality goal kicker representing Great Britain on four occasions.
McNamara spent four years coaching Bradford and was then selected to coach England. Having also worked with Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors there is no doubting his knowledge of the game. The Dragons will be desperate to avoid the bottom four but having lost 6 of there opening 7 games a big improvement is needed quickly.
David Mead and Michael Mcllorum were two of the big close season signings and their squad on paper looks very competitive. We all know though that form and confidence can come and go. This is something Catalan have struggled with in the first part of 2018. In their last home game Warrington kept them to nil and a 42-16 drubbing at Hull last weekend makes the Dragons desperate for a win.
Salford’s record at home to Catalan reads quite well with just one defeat at the AJ Bell Stadium in 2016. The Dragons won three times at the Willows including an emphatic 18-44 success in the final match at the old ground on 11th September 2011.
Super League Home Record.
Salford won 7
Catalan won 4
2006 Salford 16 Catalan 0
2007 Salford 10 Catalan 0
2009 Salford 16 Catalan 18
2010 Salford 12 Catalan 24
2011 Salford 18 Catalan 44
2012 Salford 34 Catalan 30
2013 Salford 16 Catalan 12
2014 Salford 34 Catalan 22
2015 Salford 18 Catalan 14
2016 Salford 12 Catalan 26
2017 Salford 50 Catalan 12
They played for both
Despite Catalan Dragons short existence theres are a number of players who’ve played for both clubs including Jodie Broughton, Luke Burgess, Iain Thornley, David Berthezene, Todd Carney, Michael Dobson and Richie Myler.
A match to remember 17th February 2006
Salford 16 Catalan Dragons 0
CATALANS Dragons found out how difficult life could be in the Engage Super League with there first away visit. They lost Stacey Jones to injury in what was there second match in Super League.
The French newcomers went into the game on a high after an opening win over Wigan the previous week – but they failed to perform at The Willows after losing playmaker Jones injured early on.
Salford took advantage to maintain their winning start to the season – but despite dominating throughout, they only had two Stuart Littler tries to show until Andrew Brocklehurst went over nine minutes from time.
Without their star signing, the visitors spent most of the game on the defensive but did well to limit the Reds to just six points in the first half.
Salford forced the pace from early on and went close to a try after just three minutes when Karl Fitzpatrick’s kick proved just too strong for Junior Langi.
A lightning break by David Hodgson and Fitzpatrick moments later created another opening – but a great opportunity was spurned as Littler failed to take a pass out wide.
All the Reds had to show for their dominance in the opening quarter was a solitary penalty from Hodgson.
Littler put that right as he made amends with the opening try after 19 minutes.
Salford could have put the game beyond reach in the first half, but it was not until the 42nd minute that they extended their lead with Littler’s second.
Former Leeds scrum-half Andrew Dunemann, making his Reds debut, stretched the Catalans defence with an arcing run out wide before passing inside for Littler to touch down. Dunneman who went on to have a huge impact in 2006 with Salford.
Hodgson converted to put Salford 12-0 ahead. Littler went close to a hat-trick as he chased the ball in-goal – but it just ran dead.
Catalans enjoyed a spell of pressure as they tried to force their way back into the game, but the Reds held firm.
Brocklehurst finally put the game beyond reach after 71 minutes as he finished off a slick move with a powerful run on the right.
Salford had won in the opening round at Warrington 6-24 so to beat the Catalan Dragons 16-0 it was a excellent start to the 2006 season. Karl Harrison’s men went on to finish 5th in the 2006 season playing some tremendous rugby. Quite a few games were won by the odd point. Salford lost some tight games as well losing to Hull and Leeds by a point in the league. Perhaps one match that really sticks out was the home game to St. Helens. Salford going down 10-12 in the end to a fantastic Saints team in a pulsating night at The Willows. Many supporters will have fond memories of 2006.
Team line ups that night were;
Salford: Wilshere; Langi, Littler, Moule, Hodgson; Dunemann, Fitzpatrick; Coley, Alker, Highton, Sibbit, Brocklehurst, Finnigan. Substitutes used: Stewart, Haggerty, Clough, Rutgerson.
Catalans: Frayssinous; Murphy, Wilson, Hughes, Verges; Rudder, Jones; Beattie, Rinaldi, Fellous, Guisset, Fakir, Hindmarsh. Substitutes used: Guigue, Touxagas, Mounis, Chan.
A pivotal match at High Noon on Good Friday for both sides. Salford have made a stuttering start to 2018 with 2 wins and 5 defeats. After dominating much of last weeks match at Widnes and coming away with nothing Ian Watson will be looking for a response from his Red Devils side. Players to watch in The Dragons side are David Mead, Tony Gigot, Fouad Yaha and Paul Aiton. If both sides click we could be in for a thrilling match.
Enjoy the match everyone.
Get yourself on our Supporters’ Trust return Bus service making its way through Salford and Eccles from 10am on Good Friday. All details HERE.