MATCH REPORT – SALFORD RED DEVILS 8-19 CATALANS DRAGONS (BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 27)

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

MATCH PREVIEW – SALFORD RED DEVILS VS CATALANS DRAGONS (BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 27)

It’s all on the line.

With so much at stake, Salford Red Devils welcome title-chasing Catalans Dragons to the Salford Stadium.

Quite simply; a win tonight coupled with a Warrington Wolves loss would confirm playoff rugby league for the second consecutive season.

Anything else would bring our 2023 campaign to a close.

The Dragons also need results elsewhere to go in their favour.

A win for Steve McNamara’s men – with Wigan Warriors falling to defeat at Leigh Leopards – would hand the French outfit the League Leaders’ Shield.

Here’s everything you need to know before this mammoth clash:


SQUAD NEWS

Just one change to the squad who made a long trip to East Hull last Saturday.

Brad Singleton – who received a one-match ban from the MRP – is back available for selection and will be a massive boost to Paul Rowley’s forward pack.

Unfortunately, Shane Wright and Alex Gerrard both remain long-term absentees.


INU’S PREVIEW

Reflecting on Saturday’s performance, Assistant Coach, Krisnan Inu was adamant that the team need to improve if they’re to beat a team of Catalans’ calibre.

“No excuse. We didn’t turn up with the right attitude and we didn’t perform well,” Inu said when asked about our performance against Hull KR.

“Whether you train five times a week or you train once, you know your job and that’s to hold the ball and score more points than the other team.”

He continued: “It’s a big game for everyone this round.

“Catalans are fighting for the top two to have a week off, next week and at the same time we’re fighting for that final spot in the six, so across the board everyone’s got something to fight for.”

You can watch Inu’s pre-match press conference in full by clicking HERE.


HOW TO BUY TICKETS

There’s still time to join us for our ‘Blue Light’ appreciation day at the Salford Stadium.

Come down early and sample everything we have on offer before heading inside to roar on the boys for a playoff-deciding clash against the Dragons.

Click HERE to buy your tickets, with pay on the day via our ticket office still an option for supporters.

IMPACT RESOURCING AND EDSTART SCHOOLS SPONSOR SALFORD RED DEVILS VS CATALANS DRAGONS CLASH

We would like to extend a huge thank you to this Friday’s match day and match ball sponsors, Impact Resourcing and Edstart Schools.

Results last weekend mean Salford Red Devils still have a chance of achieving playoff rugby league later this month.

A victory against Catalans Dragons – coupled with a Huddersfield Giants win over Warrington Wolves – will secure a spot in the top six for a second consecutive season.

The Perpignan-based outfit currently sit 2nd and have a lot to play for themselves – with a potential league leaders shield on the cards for Steve McNamara’s men.

Highlighting our match day sponsors, Impact Resourcing!

They specialise in recruiting employees for the housing, construction and highways sector.

Whatever your background, your skills or aspirations, they can find the right role for you. Make an impact, get in touch today!

Click HERE to head to their website and find out more.

Highlighting our match ball sponsor, Edstart Schools!

They aim to offer a secure and structured environment promoting positive behaviour where disaffected, disadvantaged, and young people with Specials Education Needs develop as confident and independent learners.

Their overall aim is to support and facilitate the successful reintegration of pupils back into a structured education environment where they will remain for the long term or be supported and transitioned to the next school.

Their work specifically targets social, emotional and behavioural skills and educational progress in order that young people achieve their full potential.

Click HERE to head to their website and find out more.


An update on our end of season awards

Following the unfortunate cancellation of our End of Season Awards on Monday evening, we can now confirm plans to celebrate our winners’ efforts this season this Friday.

Marking our final home game of the season, we’re delighted to announce that the awards for our men’s team will take place on the pitch following the game, and we invite all supporters to remain in the stands to show their appreciation for winners and their teammates.

Our women’s, reserves, disability and academy awards will take place pre-game in the platinum dining lounge for guests to enjoy.

If you would like to join the celebrations all whilst enjoying our final platinum dining experience of the season, you can book now by clicking here. Please note the cutoff for doing so is 2pm on Thursday 21st September.

SHUTTLE BUS SERVICE AVAILABLE FOR CATALANS DRAGONS CLASH

Our popular shuttle bus service will be in operation for our final home fixture this Friday, against Catalans Dragons.

This means you can plan an easy, stress-free route to and from the Salford Stadium. Please note, charges on these services do now apply and you can see the rates below:

Singles:

  • Adult: £2
  • Child: £1
  • Concession card holders and System One ticket holders scan their passes.

Returns:

  • Adult: £3
  • Child: £1.50

Shuttles will be departing every 15 minutes from BAY 1 at 6pm until 7:45pm, with return services beginning at 9:45pm and running every 15 minutes until 11pm.

A map of the Trafford Centre, plus the walking route from the nearest Metrolink can be found below.



A Blue Lights Celebration in Round 27

Salford Red Devils will host a ‘Blue Light’ celebration of the region’s emergency services at the Betfred Super League fixture against Catalans Dragons – the final game of the 2023 regular season.

The fixture now marks a second consecutive year where the club has celebrated the emergency services with a dedicated round.

Heading into Round 27, the game itself could have implications on both club’s standings come the end as Salford push for the playoffs, whilst the Dragons are looking to secure the top spot.

Paul King, Managing Director of Salford Red Devils said;

“It’s a huge honour that we’re able to come together and show our gratitude and support for our incredible emergency services once again.”

“This season we have been fortunate enough to celebrate some fantastic organisations and causes that each play such an important role within our community, and so to close out our home calendar by doing it once again is extremely fitting. I’m sure all of our supporters will join us on the 22nd in showing our appreciation.”

Supporters can secure their tickets for what promises to be an action-packed final day of the regular season by clicking here now.

MATCH REPORT – CATALANS DRAGONS 42-0 SALFORD RED DEVILS (BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 20)

Salford Red Devils were beaten by Betfred Super League leaders, Catalans Dragons in Round 20 this afternoon.

It was one to forget for Paul Rowley’s men, who remain in seventh place – two points behind Hull KR in the final playoff spot.

Despite holding our own for large periods of the opening exchanges, it was Adam Keighran who began the scoring on 19 minutes.

Working the short side, a neat grubber kick allowed the Aussie half-back to slam down.

Ben Hellewell made a nice break – as the Red Devils attempted to regroup – but after a few offloads, Brodie Croft’s high kick was well-claimed by the Catalans defender.

They powered forward and – via a few set restarts – sent Keighran on the end of another grubber kick.

There were flashes throughout the game that suggests Salford could have got some points on the board at crucial times.

Chris Atkin’s spiral bomb and Ryan Brierley’s quick chase forced Sam Tomkins into the error – allowing us a full set on the hosts 10 metre line.

Trying to pick up the pace, Atkin’s short pass was too low for Hellewell to steal a march.

Catalans were getting some joy from the boot and this time it was the league’s top try-scorer, Tom Johnstone, who managed to ground in the very left corner.

There was still time left in the half for another, with Tyrone May skipping inside his man to crash over.

HALF-TIME: Catalans Dragons 22-0 Salford Red Devils

Keighran began the second-half by slotting a penalty-goal after Dixon hit his man high.

The same source turned creator for the next try; working the numbers and releasing Johnstone to slide over in the corner.

It was 6 & 7 – Mitchell Pearce and May – who combined next, with Tiaki Chan in support to flick a pass and extend the advantage.

Croft was showing signs of life and made a darting run through the defence to set up Burgess. He was caught, but Tom Davies was penalised and sent to the sin bin for holding down.

Sam Tomkins added two more – with Keighran off the field – after Salford were penalised in front of the sticks.

Romain Navarrete was the final one to break through on 75 minutes, setting up Tomkins to slide over under the sticks.

Next up for Paul Rowley’s men is the visit of World Champions, St Helens on Sunday afternoon.

FULL-TIME: Catalans Dragons 42-0 Salford Red Devils

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: ST HELENS V SALFORD

It had all looked so promising, and confidence was surely high among the Salford fans, as they travelled over to the Totally Wicked Stadium for their clash with the Saints, on the back of four successive Super League victories, including an extremely rare win over Leeds Rhinos, at Headingley.

The Saints, on the other hand, had had a rather less profitable couple of weeks, and were turning out after having undertaken the somewhat demanding sojourn to the south of France, for their away fixture with Catalans Dragons, all of which were most positive indications for everyone to be encouraged.

 In the end, however, it is all about what happens on the day, and that went contrary to these optimistic expectations, for the Saints had their own expectations and aspirations for the game – the expectations of the current World Club Champions to perform to that level – and took control in the second half to record a 26-12 home victory.

Not that anyone would have even thought that that would happen as the Red Devils turned on the style and swept into a twelve-point lead after only sixteen minutes, with two excellent tries.  The first came in the fifth minute when a totally unexpected, but magnificent, break by prop, King Vuniyayawa, left the Saints defence in his wake, and with the fleet-footed Brodie Croft in support, he fed the stand -off to go in, under the posts.

Andy Ackers it then was, who, eleven minutes later, put Kallum Watkins away down the right and his inside pass to Ryan Brierley saw, along with Marc Sneyd’s second successful conversion attempt, him double the Salford advantage to twelve, which was sufficient for the remaining twenty plus minutes to give them a 6-12 half time lead.

The second half turn around to the home team might lead anyone to regard this as a game of two halves but perhaps, on this occasion an over-simplification, because everything in a game leads on to what follows – more obviously to the more immediate, but also, to an extent, in the longer term.  The loss, for example, of Shane Wright, after a mere few minutes of his introduction denied the team all that he has brought to each game over recent weeks, and also meant that others had to play considerably more minutes, and therefore tired far more quickly as a result.

In fact the roots for this not inconsiderable half time turnaround had been planted during the first half.  There will have been few in attendance or watching tv, on the day, who would have thought, as Sneyd struck the ball to convert Brierley’s try that the Red Devils would fail to add to their score for the remainder of the match, but that was what happened and was something that fed into the St Helens game plan

The visitors had been put under spells of pressure from the outset right through to their first score, and then again between their two tries.  The Salford players had stood up well throughout each of these, as indeed they did throughout some rather more-lengthy spells thereafter, but the fact that these periods of Saints’ dominance became more protracted placed greater and greater demands on the players in terms of energy and concentration.

That these periods soaked up so much time was in part due to the St Helens players’ ability to complete their sets but aided by an increasing number of penalties and set restarts, which went the way of the home side.  Penalties are seldom awarded against teams in possession, the significant  majority are against defenders and, as these defenders start to tire, so their tackling technique suffers and the penalties continue to accrue all the more.

By the time the second half had got underway, the continued Saints’ pressure had started to tell on the Reds, and they immediately conceded yet another penalty, this time whilst in possession, for an incorrect play-the-ball, as early as the third tackle of the half, with a St Helens try coming directly off the back of it.

No-one could possibly question the Red Devils’ effort and commitment at any time during the encounter – without that there was no way they would have limited St Helens to only twenty-six points – but, in the second half, their execution was well below the standards we have become used to, with handling errors from some most wayward of passes seemingly prevalent, and each one presenting the home side with even more possession with which to challenge the Salford defence.

Forthcoming results may well show that in this match St Helens have turned a corner in their season, and that others will find themselves facing the same onslaught of pressure piled upon them, but for Salford players it is important to learn from the outing and fix the elements necessary for a Challenge Cup victory over visiting Huddersfield, next week.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V CATALANS

Two extremely protracted and gruelling goal-line defensive efforts, in the final twenty minutes, each lasting over four minutes and comprising of three and even four sets of six with little respite, eventually saw the Salford Red Devils gain the spoils over a strong and physical Catalans side in last Sunday’s home Super League fixture, and thereby stretch their winning run to three, though not without the incredible, good fortune of the Dragons’ missed, final conversion, from almost in front of the posts.

They say that fortune favours the brave, and t was most certainly true for the Salford players last Sunday, as they wore themselves to frazzles, roared on by the magnificent, highly vocal home fans, in dealing with wave after wave of Catalans’ attacks, based upon the physical prowess that they possess, particularly in the forwards.

‘Praiseworthy’ is too mild a word for the valiant home pack who had, despite giving away size and weight advantage to their visitors, stood up to them throughout the encounter, and alongside the remainder of the side thwarted onslaught after onslaught, relentlessly hurled at them, particularly in the final half-hour of the game.

The necessity in their having to give so much to the Salford cause was the consequence of just how evenly matched the two sides were, and also the fact that there were only six points separating them, by the time the game was entering its final quarter.

Despite the ascendency, over the previous hour, swinging from one side to the other, with the Red Devils controlling the majority of the first half and Catalans picking up the gauntlet in the second, neither side was able to turn that dominance into sufficient points as to have much in the way of cushioning, even when in the lead.

The Dragons handling deteriorated rapidly, after having matched their hosts in the opening stanza, and it was their continual loss of possession that gave Salford opportunities to attack, the first coming from a penalty against the visitors, who then obliged by giving away an additional set-restart, ending with King Vuniyayawa’s surging over the line, close to the posts.

Clinical as this had been, the Reds were not able to reproduce anything similar for some considerable time, thereafter.  An excellent 40-20, from Andy Ackers, in the 16th minute, was squandered by possession being lost very early in the next tackle count, when the visitors might well have succumbed a second time, with this having come so quickly after the earlier try.

The Reds’ most clear-cut opportunity, though, came on 33 mins, with a break by Joe Burgess down the left, but his inside pass to the supporting Ellis Longstaff proved too difficult for the centre to take.  When they did eventually manage to cross the line again, it came from the most unlikely of positions.  A 20m restart saw a switch in direction to Burgess, who, having left his left-wing position, raced down the right side to use the utmost skill to ground the ball over the line despite having been overhauled by Johnstone, short of the line.

The sparsity of tries coming their way consequently twice prompted Marc Sneyd to take successful kicks at goal, one in each half, which were at the end to prove crucial in a two-point winning margin.  No-one could, however, have foreseen the unexpected outcomes from either, with Salford failing to take the ball from the kick-off, from the first, on 23 mins, and Johnstone then crossing in the corner, direct from the resultant scrum.

The second came on 46 mins, and yet again, on only the third play from the restart, Ackers lost his grip on the ball in a half break, and it was at this point that the change in moment came about.  The Frenchmen immediately went downfield to score close enough to the posts for the conversion to be successful, thereafter subjecting their hosts to that almost continual defensive effort, but significantly, without denying them the hearty end-of-match winning celebrations, they so richly deserved.

MATCH REPORT – SALFORD RED DEVILS 16-14 CATALANS DRAGONS (BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 10)

Salford Red Devils won a nail-biting content against Catalans Dragons in Round 10 of the Betfred Super League.

Joe Burgess scored a breakaway try on his 150th Super League appearance, with late drama the only difference between the Red Devils and another golden point period.

That leaves Salford fifth in the table after 10 games and puts the team in prime position to kick-on after the international break.

The opening five minutes were cagey and both sides started to trade sets without any real response.

Sam Tomkins created a half-opportunity on the 7th minute when he sent a teasing grubber kick in behind the Salford defence, but a combination of Marc Sneyd and Joe Burgess thwarted the chance with some expert handling.

After gaining territory down the other end in double-quick time, the Red Devils struck via a unlikely source.

Salford were awarded a six-again just 10 metres out and made the penalty count. Andy Ackers sold his marker a nice dummy from the ruck and tee’d up the onrushing King Vuniyayawa to crash through the Catalans line and slide over to the right of the sticks.

Sneyd sent the conversion over and the hosts had the opportunity to build from the restart. It could have been even better when Ackers delivered a lovely 40/20 from dummy-half – allowing Salford a set right in front of the try line.

Attack after attack on the Catalans defence and pressure was building very nicely for Paul Rowley’s side. Matt Costello forced a drop-out, with Sneyd hit high a few tackles later, leaving the same source the opportunity to kick for two and extend our lead to eight.

That advantage barely lasted 90 seconds, however.

After dropping the ball from the restart, Catalans worked the play left and Tom Johnstone – despite the best efforts of the sprawling Deon Cross – acrobatically touched down in the corner.

The next 20 minutes was a real arm wrestle for territory, but Joe Burgess sprung the game into life with two magical moments.

The first came from a break down the left, where our number five jinked in and out and found space to offload to Ellis Longstaff, who just couldn’t keep hold of the ball for an easy stroll over.

But just before the hooter – springing out of virtually nowhere – he leaped over a defender and began one of his trademark gallops downfield with open grass ahead of him.

To his credit, Johnstone almost made a stunning tackle with Burgess running out of steam five metres out, but the winger had enough momentum to slide over under the sticks.

On his back, might I add!

HALF-TIME: Salford Red Devils 14-4 Catalans Dragons

The Red Devils started the second forty on the front foot and when Sneyd was hit late just five minutes into the half, he took two and extended the gap to ten.

Just like in periods of the first-half, Catalans were quick to hit back and keep themselves in the contest. A neat grubber kick caused chaos on the last, with Paul Seguier on hand to claim and ground.

Salford were pinned on their own line for a lot of the next 20 minutes, but some expert and gritty defending kept Catalans out, time and time again.

Brodie Croft – who produced an excellent defensive shift today – forced a few penalties with his tough tackling, and Burgess athleticism was on full display with one excellent claim under pressure.

Then, in the dying minutes, there was almost heartbreak for Salford.

Adam Keighran finally broke the Red Devils resistance to power over, but when he stepped up to convert and make it 16-16, he pulled his left-footed effort wide of the posts.

The South Stand roared and so did the rest of the stadium when they realised there was just five seconds of normal time to play.

Sneyd kicked the restart, Salford swarmed the Catalans attack and the hooter signalled three in a row for Rowley’s men, as they head into a much-needed rest and international break.

FULL-TIME: Salford Red Devils 16-14 Catalans Dragons

Photo credit – Steve McCormick

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