Salford v Catalans
In terms of predictability you never really know what your going to get with the Catalans Dragons. Out of all the clubs in Super League at home to the Dragons is one of Salford’s better records.
The Dragons entered Super League in 2006 and what a start they had beating Wigan 38-30 at their previous home the Stade Aime Giral. The club have a new home now just outside the centre of Perpignan, the Stade Gilbert Brutus. This has become a real tough place to go. The French supporters are fanatics and make it an electric atmosphere on match days.
Despite their short existence the Dragons have become a very established club. They reached the Challenge Cup final in 2007 and were beaten by St.Helens but ten years later they returned to Wembley and beat Warrington 20-14 in an epic final. The Dragons have also graced Old Trafford in the Grand Final falling just short to Saints in 2021, 12-10 in a match that could of gone either way. It’s fair to say every season now Catalans are expected to do well and Challenge for trophies and this is thanks to a terrific infrastructure that’s been put together in this Rugby League town.
Salford will be in confident mood after back to back victories over Leigh and Castleford. Catalans unbeaten start was ended by Leeds and their form is currently looking a bit shaking with just one win in their last four matches.
The Red Devils had to work very hard last Thursday to overcome Castleford and you would expect the Catalans to throw a lot more at them on attack.
Super League Home Record.
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
2019 Salford 40 Catalans 14
2020 Salford 42 Catalans 24
2021 Salford 14 Catalans 42
2022 Salford 10 Catalans 36
2022 Salford 32 Catalans 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 Friday 26th May 2017
Salford 50 Catalans 12.
Sometimes in sport you get those matches were everything seems to turn to gold. For Salford this was one of those night. Earlier in the week the Manchester Arena had been bombed in a cowardly terrorist attack claiming many lives and shocking the whole country and in particular the Greater Manchester area. It was a very sombre atmosphere prior to kick off and that was understandable given the circumstances.
The Red Devils started brightly with two early tries from Gareth O Brien and Josh Jones to stamp their authority on the match. The Dragons had no response and couldn’t contain Salford’s fluidity with the ball. Kris Welham scored a nice try before Niall Evalds and Ryan Lannon added tries before the break.
Bright young hooker Kris Brining went over just minutes after the restart to put the match to bed but Salford hadn’t finished there. Half back Robert Lui ghosted over before Olsi Krasniqi grabbed a try.
Salford’s final try went to Mark Flanagan. The loose forward who held the team together with his non stop work rate. Michael Dobson kicked seven from nine to cap off a very emotional night.
The teams that night;
Gareth O’Brien, Niall Evalds, Josh Jones, Kris Welham, Greg Johnson, Robert Lui, Michael Dobson, Lama Tasi, Logan Tomkins, James Hasson, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Weller Hauraki, Olsi Krasniqi
Subs, Mark Flanagan, Ryan Lannon, Craig Kopczak, Kris Brining.
Tony Gigot, Iain Thornley, Krisnan Inu, Brayden Wiliame, Fouad Yaha, Luke Walsh, Richie Myler, Jordan Dezaria, Julien Bosquet, Remi Casty, Sam Moa, Alrix Da Costa, Mickael Simon
Subs, Vincent Duport, Lucas Albert, Paul Seguier, Ugo Perez.
Referee, Robert Hicks.
Well what can we expect this Sunday? Both sides play an open and expansive brand of rugby league and I think this will shine through on match day. Chances were fairly limited against Castleford last week and I am sure Coach Paul Rowley will have worked on fine tuning the Red Devils attack.
The Dragons have plenty of players to keep an eye on. Former Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone is now with Catalans. Johnstone who has hopefully put his bad luck with injuries behind him. On his day he’s on of the fastest wingers in the country and has the ability to finish in almost any situation. On the other wing is Tom Davies, another man with a superb try ratio. Tom signed for the Dragons after leaving his home town club Wigan. Sam Tomkins who will retire at the end of the season is still a big threat in attack and French players Arthur Mourgue, Matthieu Laguerre and Cesar Rouge are all becoming Super League regulars. In the pack Benjamin Garcia is now in his tenth season with the Dragons. Former Widnes back rower Matt Whitley is another talented ball player and strong runner down the channels.
Salford welcomed back Oliver Partington to the side last Thursday and this is another big game for the loose forward. The spotlight will once again be on Salford’s pack. Tyler Dupree has been in terrific form but he will need some help against a big and mobile Dragons pack.
Alex Gerrard is another player on the come back road from injury and he can’t be far off now.
Looking at the League table Salford are currently in 5th place with the Dragons in fourth. The bookies see this very close and have given the visitors a two point start.
A win for Salford will really increase the momentum the club are making on the pitch. It’s another match not to be missed.
The action gets under way at the slightly earlier time of 2:15pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the match.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos.