What a difference a week can make in Rugby League. Last Thursdays dismal display at home to Huddersfield left a huge dent in Salford’s playoff hopes. Eight days later and monumental effort at Warrington has not only reignited those top five hopes but also got the supporters believing once again.
Catalans Dragons have high ambitions of their own, especially after last seasons Challenge cup success. With an early exit in the cup this season the French side have all there eggs in the ‘Super League Basket’.
Every week we seem to say hope vital the next match is and that is no different for this fixture. The Dragons are four points above Salford on twenty four points and a win on Sunday would increase that gap with matches running out.
As well as scoring some sensational tries last Thursday it was the whole manner of the victory that pleased Ian Watson. The effort and desire in defence set the platform for victory and Warrington struggled to cope with Salford’s enthusiasm. Blake Austin is one of Super League’s most feared players but the Red Devil’s have completely nullified him twice this season.
When the two sides met in Perpignan earlier this season Salford ran riot in a near perfect performance. It really was one of those matches that normally only happen once you’ve nodded off at night time. With the 0-46 win way at Catalans, the two fantastic victories away at Warrington and a heart breaking last gasp defeat at St. Helens, Salford are more than capable of reaching the top five.
The big test now is being consistent over a run of matches.
With the squad low in numbers and injuries creeping in it’s going to be a difficult task. One things for sure though if anyone can mastermind Salford’s mission to the playoffs it’s Ian Watson.
Super League home record.
2006 Salford 16 Catalans 0
2007 Salford 10 Catalans 0
2009 Salford 16 Catalans 18
2010 Salford 12 Catalans 24
2011 Salford 18 Catalans 44
2012 Salford 34 Catalans 30
2013 Salford 16 Catalans 12
2014 Salford 34 Catalans 22
2015 Salford 18 Catalans 14
2016 Salford 12 Catalans 26
2017 Salford 50 Catalans 12
2018 Salford 32 Catalans 16
Salford kept The Dragons scoreless in 2006 and 2007 at The Willows.
They played for both
Despite Catalan Dragons short existence there 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.
Todd Carney has represented both clubs in recent seasons.
A match to remember Friday 1st June 2012
Salford 34 Catalans Dragons 30.
It looked like ‘Good night Vienna’ after twenty five minutes as The Dragons blitzed Salford to storm in to a 0-20 lead with four unanswered tries.
The Reds hit back with tries from Joel Moon and Daniel Holdsworth but Vinnie Anderson was sin-binned before half-time with the score reading 12-20.
Salford were right back in the match with momentum swinging in their favour. The home supporters roared their side on and more points followed.
Two quick fire tries in the opening five minutes of the second half edged Salford in front at 22-20. Sean Gleeson grabbed the first within sixty seconds of the restart before the lightning quick Jodie Broughton crossed soon after.
Salford made it twenty eight points without reply when Australian fullback Luke Pattern crossed for a try. This was a significant score as it opened an eight point gap between the teams.
The Dragons came roaring back though with a try from French international Remi Casty. Their was no stopping the huge prop close to the line.
Jodie Broughton nudged Salford back into a two score lead with his second try and despite Vincent Duports late effort it was just enough for the home side to cling on.
This was an absolutely pulsating encounter in the first meeting between the two sides at Salford’s new stadium.
Catalans had won on an emotional final day at The Willows the previous year.
The teams that night were:
Salford: Patten, Broughton, Moon, Gleeson, Williams, Holdsworth, Smith, Jewitt, Howarth, Sidlow, Ashurst, Anderson, Wild.
Subs. Paleaaesina, Owen, McPherson, Nero.
Sin Bin: Anderson (38).
Catalan Dragons: Bosc, Millard, Baile, Duport, Stacul, Pryce, Dureau, Casty, Fisher, Paea, Menzies, Anderson, Baitieri.
Subs. Ferriol, Henderson, Mounis, Raguin.
Ref: Steve Ganson (St Helens)
After a bumpy run of form Catalans seem to have found their mojo again after back to back victories over Wakefield and Huddersfield respectively. Before that five defeats on the bounce had threatened to derail the season. These defeats included a 51-8 hammering at Hull in the Challenge cup with The Airlie Birds scoring 50 in the league against the Dragon’s a few weeks later.
A very disappointing home loss to bottom club London has made Coach Steve McNamara question his players.
With star names and quality proven Super League players like Sam Tomkins, David Mead, Michael Mcllorum, Matty Smith and Lance Todd Trophy winner Tony Gigot, The Dragons we’re tipped by many to go all the way this year.
With a strong finish to the season Catalans could be walking out at Old Trafford in October. The key word again is consistency.
Former Wigan star Sam Tomkins is a vital player for The Dragons.
Salford’s pack is no where near the biggest in Super League but last Friday at Warrington with a tenacious defensive effort the Red Devil’s outplayed the Wolves. The Dragons boast a fearsome set of forwards themselves and defence could be the key to victory this Sunday.
Tui Lolohea and Jackson Hastings are starting to find an understanding between each other in the halves. Lolohea put in an amazing shift last Friday and it was great to see the young man smiling at the final hooter. After travelling across the world to play for Leeds the Tongan international was made a scapegoat for the Rhinos problems. If one man can get the best out of Tui it’s Ian Watson.
These two sides have served up some memorable matches in this fixture in particular at The AJ Bell Stadium. This has all the ingredients to be another cracking encounter. The action gets under way at 3pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the game everyone.