Salford Red Devils were beaten by Catalans Dragons in Round 27 of the Betfred Super League.
Paul Rowley’s side went into this game knowing they still had a chance of making the playoffs with a win, but also needed results elsewhere to go their way.
It was a scrappy first ten minutes from both sides – conceding errors aplenty.
Joe Burgess made a half-break on the left edge, but his pass inside to the supporting Ryan Brierley was adjudged forward.
The Dragons struck first on 11-minutes, with Tyrone May breaking the Salford line and teeing up Matt Whitley to crash over, left of the posts.
There was no short of effort from the team all evening. Out of absolutely nothing, Burgess’ lung-bursting run and booming tackle forced a drop-out from virtually our next set.
No way through the Dragons line and after making nice metres upfield, a high tackle allowed Sam Tomkins to knock over a penalty-goal.
He soon cost his side that two points, however. His scuffle in back play with Amir Bourouh earned them both a yellow card and Marc Sneyd the opportunity to knock over a penalty-goal of our own.
HALF-TIME: Salford Red Devils 2-8 Catalans Dragons
The second forty began the same as the first – error-filled.
Salford were showing fight and the introduction of Ben Hellewell really made a difference to proceedings.
His tenacity in the tackle forced a knock-on and then his first foray forward was stripped by a Catalans defender – earning us a full set just 20 out.
After a few stabs at the line, Ollie Partington threw a lovely short pass to Hellewell, who went crashing through for his fourth in a Red Devils shirt.
Sneyd brought us level with the boot and it was game on at the Salford Stadium.
Catalans themselves had a lot to play for with the League Leaders Shield on the line. May dummied a drop-goal attempt on 67-minutes, but from the next tackle Tomkins nudged one over from 20 yards to regain a slender lead.
It felt like that was a big turning point in the game and the visitors hit Salford with two quick-fire tries soon after.
Julian Bousquet was the first to crash over, with Tomkins’ scurry out of dummy-half confirming the victory just minutes later.
As it happens, Warrington Wolves’ victory at Huddersfield Giants means even two points wouldn’t have been enough for Salford.
But despite the disappointment, we can ultimately reflect on another season of progression where – despite a lot of adversity – the club was, once again, competing for a spot in the top six until the very final round.
FULL-TIME: Salford Red Devils 8-19 Catalans Dragons
Photo credit: Steve McCormick