Salford had been craving a good start to a match for quite a while. In their second match of Easter they got just that. With four minutes on the clock Ryan Brierley for the second week running measured a perfect kick. Deon Cross collected the ball to score a nice try. Marc Sneyd converted 6-0.
Salford’s lead didn’t last long though. Some good ball movement from the Dragons opened Salford up. Young centre Matthieu Laguerre crossed for a try which Arthur Mourgue converted to level the score.
The hosts were again frustrated giving away penalties and set restarts which put them firmly on the back foot. The Dragons forced a drop out and the pressure told late in the set as Salford conceded another penalty. The visitors opted to run it and the gamble paid off when winger Tom Davies went over. The Red Devils again looked vulnerable on the edges and this was easily exploited.
Andy Ackers shot out of the defensive line to put in a super tackle which forced an error in the Dragons half. This provided Salford with a good attacking opportunity. The Red Devils were then caught out by the shot clock as they didn’t form the scrum in time. This handed possession back to the visitors but did seem a harsh call after a Dragons player had kicked the ball away before the scrum had formed. Things got worse from that incident when Catalans went over for their third try from Mitchell Pearce.
Joe Chan was sent to the sin bin just before the break for persistent offside. Salford seemed to panic on the next set of six from the resulting penalty but were awarded a another penalty for a scuffle off the ball. With three seconds remaining Sneyd opted to have a shot at goal. He dragged his kick wide and the hooter sounded for half time, 6-18.
The Red Devils needed a positive start to the second half but got the complete opposite. An error deep in their own half led to conceding a penalty. Mourgue missed his goal attempt but when Deon Cross came charging out of yardage from his own line the centre gifted the Dragons possession as he lost the ball. Matt Whitley raced to the line for an easy try to punish Salford’s poor handling. All this while the Dragons were still down to twelve men.
Catalans got their fifth try and sealed the match in the fifty third minute when Pearce dollied a kick up for Sam Kasiano. The huge forward who is built like an American fridge freezer juggled the ball as he crashed over but made no mistake. Mourgue converted 6-30.
It’s no conciliation but the try of the match went to Salford’s Ken Sio. Sneyd and Brierley linked up superbly both putting in kicks before Sio finished the move.
The Dragons had the last word though when Pearce walked through some very ordinary Red Devils defence with two minutes remaining.
In the second half Salford made so many errors particularly early in the tackle count. The Dragons kept their hosts at arms length all afternoon in a very comfortable victory. Things don’t get any easier for Paul Rowley’s side as they now prepare this week for an away fixture at Wigan next Sunday at the slightly earlier kick off time of 1pm.
Salford 10 Catalans 36.
Thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos.