In a funny sort of way Catalans have been a real enigma with their Super League form over the last few years. A glorious Challenge Cup run of 2018 saw the Dragons lift the famous old trophy at Wembley but success in the League has been disappointing. Coach Steve McNamara has got plenty of quality in his squad and has had for a number of years. What could make 2021 that bit different is the Dragons finally seem to have found that balance. They have a settled half back partnership in Josh Drinkwater and James Maloney with the pack looking as ferocious as ever.
What’s impressed me so far in the early stages of the season with Catalans is the smartness they have adopted in their play. In years gone by they’ve seem to be a little complacent in defence. So far this year they seem tighter and more organised giving very little away. With Sam Tomkins in terrific form the Dragons could be a real threat this season.
A visit to the South of France is always a real favourite with the Salford supporters and one they will miss this year. This fixture has given us some real memorable matches, who could forget that amazing night in 2019, thumping the Dragons 0-46 when everything play Salford made turned to gold. The 40-40 drawn match in 2015 was another breathe taking encounter and as far as excitement goes Salford’s first visit to Perpignan in 2006 ended in a 22-26 victory with a frantic finish.
Catalans have brought so much to Super League in their relatively short existence. Plenty of flair and passion and long may it continue.
Super League away record.
2006 Catalans 22 Salford 28
2006 Catalans 26 Salford 6
2007 Catalans 66 Salford 6
2009 Catalans 38 Salford 6
2010 Catalans 14 Salford 22
2011 Catalans 10 Salford 22
2012 Catalans 40 Salford 18
2013 Catalans 40 Salford 6
2014 Catalans 37 Salford 24
2015 Catalans 40 Salford 40
2016 Catalans 42 Salford 32
2017 Catalans 38 Salford 6
2018 Catalans 44 Salford 10
2019 Catalans 0 Salford 46
2020 Catalans 30 Salford 14
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, Richie Myler and Gil Dudson.
David Berthezene played for both clubs.
A match to remember Saturday 7th March 2015.
Catalans 40 Salford 40
The 2015 season turned out to be a real rollercoaster ride for Salford and there supporters. After a tough start with defeats at Warrington and at home to St. Helens, The Red Devil’s clicked in to gear. Two from two at Easter with a fantastic display at Huddersfield on good Friday had the supporters believing again. Easter Monday saw the visit of Wigan to The AJ Bell Stadium in what turned out to be a thrilling match. Salford won 24-18 to sit proudly in third place in the League table. Rewind a few weeks earlier to Perpignan. Iestyn Harris’s Salford side played in one of the most memorable matches Super League has seen.
Junior Sa’u, Josh Griffin, Cory Paterson and Tommy Lee all crossed to put Salford 22-0 up inside 19 minutes.
In a real end to end tussle The Dragons responded swiftly with Tries from Zeb Taia, Vincent Duport and Ben Pomeroy to make it 22-18 at the break.
Catalans added further tries by Pomeroy, Michael Oldfield, Elliot Whitehead and Ian Henderson, but Theo Fages, Rangi Chase and Paterson kept the Devils alive in a pulsating match which must of been a nightmare to watch for the coaching staff of both clubs.
With just one minute remaining The Dragons led 40-38. Referee Phil Bentham awarded Salford a penalty, much to the disgust of the home supporters.
Josh Griffin held his nerve to convert the two points on offer to grab a draw 40-40.
After the dizzy heights of third place at Easter, injuries and suspensions hit Salford hard. Coach Harris lost his job and was replaced by Ian Watson.
The Red Devils finished the regular season in 11th place.
Watson injected some grit and self belief in to his side leading them to safety through the Qualifiers winning 5 games from 7 matches.
The teams that night in France were;
Catalans Dragons: Escare; Oldfield, Pomeroy, Tonga, Duport; Carney, Dureau; Anderson, Henderson, Lima, Taia, Whitehead, Mounis.
Replacements: Elima, Garcia, Bousquet, Baitieri.
Salford Red Devils: Locke; Johnson, Sa’u, Paterson, J Griffin; Chase, Fages; Taylor, Lee, Tasi, Hansen, Hauraki, J Walne.
Replacements: Morley, D Griffin, A Walne, Hood.
Referee: Phil Bentham
Arguably this will be Salford’s toughest test so far. All eyes will be on Richard Marshall’s selection. The Salford coach has a few selection headaches including who to start in the halves, which hooker to start with but one thing is for sure Morgan Escare will almost certainly be the fullback after his exciting debut performance in the cup last weekend.
Jack Ormondroyd has been in impressive form in recent weeks.
Matty Costello was also very impressive on his debut scoring a brace of tries and one player who keeps improving is Jack Ormondroyd. Jack’s dad Ian was a professional footballer who played over 350 matches during in his career through the 1980s and 90s. Both share the height gene at six foot five inches tall. Jack has all the attributes to be a top class forward and hopefully he can achieve his goals with Salford.
Jacks dad Ian pictured here in action for Leicester City.
As we’ve already seen this year Catalans like to entertain and have a very exciting crop of young French talent filtering in to the side. We can expect a very physical pack and with Sam Tomkins sweeping forward from fullback the Red Devils will have to be switched on in defence. Discipline is another key factor for Salford in this match. The Dragons can really punish teams especially on their home patch when they build momentum through penalties and repeat sets.
One thing Salford won’t have to contend with is the partisan French crowd with the match being played behind closed doors.
This should be another entertaining encounter.
The action gets underway at 5pm.
Keep safe and enjoy the match.