Ahead of this weekend’s Betfred Super League clash between Catalans Dragons and Salford Red Devils in Perpignan, we take a look back at one of Salford’s most memorable visits to the Stade Gilbert Brutus in this week’s ‘Flashback’.
The Red Devils travelled to the south of France with just one win from their opening three fixtures in the 2015 Super League season. Iestyn Harris’ men had pipped Hull FC 32-28 at the The Salford Stadium, but had suffered defeats to both Warrington Wolves and St Helens.
Catalans meanwhile, had also fallen to the hands of the Saints but had gone one better than Salford, having picked up two victories over Warrington and Castleford Tigers.
However, it was Salford who started brightest. The Red Devils flew out of the blocks to race into a 22-0 lead and silence the lively Catalan crowd.
It took just just three minutes for the visitors to register their first try, Junior Sa’u collected a short ball from Tommy Lee before bulldozing himself over the whitwash.
Josh Griffin failed to land the resulting conversion, but he quickly forgot about his miss when Cory Paterson picked up a loose ball and sent him over 11 minutes later – Griffin added the first of his 6 goals.
Paterson then turned scorer two minutes later, Frenchman Theo Fages found the Australian with an inside pass before Paterson bounced off three Catalans defenders to touch down.
Salford were in a ruthless mood and soon found themselves over again. This time Lee threw a quick dummy to deceive the Dragons’ line and slid over, before Griffin added the extras to give Salford a 22-0 lead with less than 20 minutes on the clock.
The hosts regrouped however and claimed their first score of the contest as a neat pass from Todd Carney invited Zeb Taia to power his way over, despite the best efforts of Rangi Chase.
Catalans then hit back with two quick-fire efforts through Vincent Duport and Ben Pomeroy, Scott Dureau converted both scores.
Salford were 22-18 ahead at the break and it was the Red Devils who struck first in the second period as Fages returned to haunt his former club. After capitalising on an Elliot Whitehead error, the France international raced the length of the pitch to score three minutes into the half.
Pomeroy replied with his second from close-range, but Salford regained the lead through Chase as Kevin Locke palmed his own kick back to him as the half-back crossed over unchallenged and extend Salford’s lead.
Michael Oldfield touched down in the corner to reduce the arrears before Dureau landed the extras before adding a subsequent penalty to level the scores at 32-32.
Catalans thought they’d snatched victory when Whitehead made up for his earlier mistake and scored in the corner before Ian Henderson touched down was in 8 minutes from time.
Dureau’s failure to convert both came back to haunt the hosts as Paterson grabbed his second before Griffin converted the score and added a last minute penalty to rescue a dramatic draw for the Red Devils.
Then Salford Head Coach, Iestyn Harris, said: “To come away from Catalans and get a point is really pleasing, to concede 40 points is not.
“We didn’t handle the periods when they had momentum. I think if we had managed that, we would have won the game rather convincingly. We need to work on our game-management skills.
“With us being eight points behind with five minutes to go, if someone offered those circumstances and to take a point, I think there are a lot of teams who would take a point in those situations.”
The teams that day:
Catalans Dragons: Escare; Oldfield, Pomeroy, Tonga, Duport; Carney, Dureau; Anderson, Henderson, Lima, Taia, Whitehead, Mounis.
Interchanges: Elima, Garcia, Bousquet, Baitieri.
Salford Red Devils: Locke; Johnson, Sa’u, Paterson, J Griffin; Chase, Fages; Taylor, Lee, Tasi, Hansen, Hauraki, J Walne.
Interchanges: Morley, D Griffin, A Walne, Hood.
Referee: Phil Bentham
Ready for the Rhinos!
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