Catalans v Salford.
The Super League traffic jam is becoming chockablock as the dash for the top six seems to get tighter week after week. Before we chat about that let’s just look back to last Saturday. Once again Salford blew away another top side with a sizzling first half performance. Five tries before the break dismantled the Giants. The attacking rugby on show from the Red Devils was sensational. Every time they were in possession anything seemed possible. The forward pack laid the foundations and hooker Andy Ackers ran his blood to water for the full eighty minutes.
The match with Huddersfield last week was broadcast live on Channel Four television. I watched the game back the following day and the coverage was first class. The commentary team and the pundits were a breath of fresh air talking the sport up full of positivity. Adam Hills did a fantastic job presenting and the two features on both clubs were really insightful and interesting. Helen Skelton has so much passion for rugby league and the feature with Salford Red Devils ladies team was brilliant. Even the interviews after the match were exciting, Joe Burgess is a bit of a comedian on the quiet and Paul Rowley comes across really well with his humble attitude.
With four matches remaining Salford are one point off the playoff places. It’s another huge test this week with a trip to the South of France to face Catalans. The Dragons were much fancied to return to Old Trafford in September but some bumpy form of late has cast doubt on their consistency. With just two wins in the last six games Steve McNamara’s side sit fourth in the table. When the two sides met at the AJ Bell Stadium just over a month ago Salford put the Dragons away comfortably 32-6. On their home pitch in Perpignan though they are a tough nut to crack.
I mentioned Andy Ackers briefly above and he deserves a lot of credit for his recent performances. At this moment in time Andy is the form hooker in Super League. His ball distribution, runs from dummy half and his steel in defence has really caught the eye of the supporters. Channel four were very complimentary to Salford’s back line. The chances they are creating and the rugby the team is playing is starting to make the rest of the league sit up and take note. Ken Sio and a Joe Burgess have now scored 38 tries between them this season and Marc Sneyd is top of the goal kicking charts. It’s a joy to watch 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
2021 Catalans 42 Salford 6
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.
A match to remember Saturday 25th March 2006
Catalans 22 Salford City Reds 28
More than 500 Salford supporters took the opportunity to see the Reds play abroad for the first time in 10 years.
And they were treated to a superb see-saw contest which was jam-packed with turning points and controversial refereeing decisions.
An excellent start to the 2006 campaign had seen Salford playing some fantastic rugby built on the solid foundations of there hard working mean defence. There was a steel about Karl Harrison’s boys. Something that had been gradually built up, 2003 saw promotion after a superb and near faultless season in the National League one, 2004 and 2005 were all about stability. One of the key ingredients to the side of 2006 was the acquisition of Andrew Dunemann. The clever Australian a brilliant organiser on the pitch who was bang in form for this trip to the South of France.
Most teams would have buckled after conceding 16 points without reply in the lion’s den that is the Aime Giral stadium.
The Reds looked dead on their feet in the second half and they were unable to rotate players from the bench due to a host of injury problems.
Full back Karl Fitzpatrick was the hero of the hour as far as Salford fans were concerned.
He scored a brilliant first half brace of tries and prevented Catalans from pinching a point at the death with a sensational try-saving tackle on Bruno Verges.
Salford’s other tries came from Aaron Moule 2, Andy Coley and Simon Finnigan.
The only real concern was the goal kicking with just two conversions from six attempts between David Hodgson and Luke Robinson.
The Reds were flying high in the league after this result with five wins from there opening seven matches. It’s fair to say the atmosphere in Perpignan after the game was tremendous. The travelling Salford supporters enjoying a special time and a team to be proud of.
A final league position of 5th place in 2006 at the time was our best since our 4th place in 1979/80 season.
Salford’s team line up that night was;
Team: Fitzpatrick; Hodgson, Littler, Moule, Wilshere; Dunemann, Robinson; Baldwin, Alker, Highton, Coley, Brocklehurst, Finnigan. Subs used: Haggerty, Clough, Langi, Clayton.
Dragons coach Steve McNamara has spoken to the press recently about the injuries mounting up for his side. However, this week he welcomes back former Salford forward Gil Dudson to his squad along with Fouad Yaha and Samisoni Langi. Pack giant Sam Kasiano will miss the match after picking up a suspension from last weeks match at Castleford.
It’s been great to see Salford back rower Shane Wright return to action over the last few weeks. I thought he was magnificent in the win over Huddersfield. Shane seems to have a massive engine to get through the amount of work he does in eighty minutes. Tyler Dupree has also returned after injury at the Magic Weekend and the youngster is improving all the time. Salford do seem to be recovering from the huge amount of injuries they’ve had to deal with. This is now giving Paul Rowley a few more options and at least a twenty one man squad to pick from.
Dan Sarginson could return to action on Saturday after a hamstring issue. Dan has been hampered by injuries this season and will want to finish the season strongly.
Their is no doubt Saturday’s match is a real mission for Salford who will be hoping for an SAS style in and out success. Victory in the South of France would set the Red Devils up for a massive home match with Hull next Thursday. It’s no point looking to next week though, as the players and Rowley say so often “it’s one week at a time”. To me that is the perfect mantra to have.
Safe travels to everyone travelling to France, have a great time and help bring those precious two points home.
The action gets under way at 6pm
Best wishes and enjoy the match.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos and the Salford RLFC match day programme.