Salford Red Devils 32-6 Catalans Dragons: Highlights and match report

Salford bounced back from a disappointing loss at Magic Weekend to beat Catalans in an inspired performance.

Under Paul Rowley, Salford have been playing some of the most attractive rugby in the competition, and although they can be unpredictable, today they showed what they can do when they’re on form.

Despite limited options for Paul Rowley to choose from, all 17 of Salford’s players put in a strong performance. The result made it Catalans’ second consecutive defeat since their victory over St Helens, and they are now eight points behind their 2021 Grand Final opponents.

Highlights:

Another Ken Sio hat-trick

Sio’s first try of the game was the 150th of his career, and he ended up with 152 by the full time. His first try showed his finishing ability, and his second two showed his ability to be in the right place at the right time. His hat-trick takes him to 19 tries this year, and he has scored some vital tries for Salford this year. Today was no different, as his tries gave Salford the lead at half-time, showing how important it was that they kept hold of him.

Catalans disjointed

Despite having their strongest halfback partnership and Sam Tomkins at fullback, Catalans failed to stretch Salford’s defence time and time again. Salford’s defence was able to slide across to deny the visitors throughout the game, and they looked blunt in attack. Their approach of trying to send their forwards crashing over was unsuccessful, and they seemed to be lacking a Plan B.

A brave performance from Salford

Being played at 30 degrees, the heat looked as though it would benefit Catalans, and with a lack of forwards for Salford, they tired early in the second 40. After a difficult period at the start of the second-half, Salford were out on their feet and looked as though they had nothing left in the tank. Despite being up against it, a combination of the support of the fans and sheer determination got them through the second-half and enabled them to earn an important win in their race for the playoffs.

Match Report:

It was Catalans who struck first, as a Sam Tomkins grubber kick set up Joe Chan to score with his first touch of the game after being gifted field position by Salford’s errors.

A 15-minute deadlock that saw both sides struggle to threaten the opposition’s try line was broken by some clever footwork from Ken Sio that got him through the Catalans defence in the corner to get Salford back into the game. It was Sio again who put the home side in front, as with five minutes to go until half-time, he patted down a grubber kick from Brodie Croft. The try was converted and a penalty just before the half-way point saw the home side go in 12-6 up.

As the second-half started, Salford were put under huge pressure, as they were made to defend seven sets in a row on their own line. They held out and although they were without the ball for seemingly the entire first ten minutes of the half, they kept hold of their lead. Despite the pressure, a run from dummy0half by Andy Ackers set up Brodie Croft to make a line break and go over to put some daylight between them and the visitors.

A nervy ten minutes that followed saw an exhausted home side scrambling to stop Catalans getting back into the game. Even with the lead, they were still trying to play their expansive rugby, and their attempts to increase the gap between the sides were successful as Sio found himself in plenty of space to score a fairly straightforward try to complete his hattrick.

With the game already won, and with just six minutes left on the clock, the Red Devils were not finished. A kick early in the set from Sneyd was collected by Ryan Brierley who gave an inside ball to Jack Ormondroyd who ran in Salford’s fifth of the game.

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