Salford Red Devils secured their third home win on the bounce with a 32-16 victory at the AJ Bell Stadium over bottom of the league Catalans Dragons.
The French side, who have been struggling thus far in 2018, found themselves 12-0 down early own as Jake Bibby acrobatically dived over in the corner, shortly followed by Niall Evalds who was on hand to find under the posts from Robert Lui’s break.
The Dragons pulled one down through Fouad Yaha shortly after Weller Hauraki was sent to the sin-bin, meaning the visitors only trailed by eight at the break.
Greg Johnson scored in the corner 10 minutes into the second half to extend the Red Devils lead before Yaha scored his second for Steve McNamara’s side, intercepting a long pass out-wide before racing 90 metres downfield.
Nevertheless, Salford put the game beyond their opponents reach with 15 minutes to go as Robert Lui added a penalty goal before Josh Jones scored a converted try.
Kris Welham touched down under immense pressure to extend the lead even further, before Greg Bird scored a late consolation two minutes from full-time.
The defeat intensifies the pressure on Steve McNamara, whose side remain two points adrift at the bottom of the league with eight matches played.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Slick Salford Success
Ian Watson can reflect on a good performance from his boys this lunchtime, bouncing back from last week’s Widnes defeat extremely well.
The Red Devils threw caution to the wind and thoroughly deserved their win.
The challenge now is to produce that kind of performance time and time again. If they can, Salford will surely be able to look further up the table rather than over their shoulders.
The Toothless French?
It is now four defeats straight on the road for the Dragons to start the 2018 campaign, something that needs to be rectified and soon.
Against a bottom-half Salford side, McNamara might’ve thought that his away day fortunes might’ve turned around.
However, they were totally out-enthused by their hosts and never really looked like threatening a victory.
We may only be a couple of months in the season. However, it looks a good bet to assume that Catalans will be fighting for their league survival once again this year.
Man Of The Match- Robert Lui
Although the Australian failed to touch down himself, Lui was instrumental in all that way good about Salford’s go-forward.
He was on hand to support Lee Mossop’s break before laying the ball off to Evalds for Salford’s second try.
The 28-year old has bags of NRL experience; if Salford are to push on this season, he will need to use every ounce of that knowhow to good effect.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Salford Red Devils Head coach Ian Watson:
“We knew that they would come over here and challenge our middles so I’m really pleased that our pack stood up to the challenge.
“Josh Wood was really good, he’s done a great job for us at nine and as a seven. He’s been able to play in both positions to a high level.
“We had four players laid up earlier in the week, so for us to come out with a win in that game was a big result for us.”
Catalans Dragons boss Steve McNamara:
“Credit to Salford. They proved to be tough to beat but we beat ourselves. Penalties and handling errors are killing us.
“We’re not in the best run of form at the moment but we’re suffering from some basic errors like catching and passing the ball.
“We know it’s not a case of sweeping everything out and starting again. We’re not too far away from turning things around.”
Salford Red Devils 32
Tries: Bibby, Evalds, Johnson, Jones, Welham
Goals: Lui 6/6
Drop Goals: n/a
Catalans Dragons 16
Tries: Yaha 2, Bird
Goals: Gigot 2/3
Drop Goals: n/a
Salford: Evalds,; Johnson, Sa’u, Welham, Bibby; Lui, Wood; Mossop, Tomkins, Kopczak, Jones, Hauraki, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Littlejohn, Nakubuwai, Tasi, Burgess.
Catalans: Tierney; Broughton, Mead, Wiliame, Yaha; Gigot, Langi; Casty, McIlorum, Bird, Garcia, Baitieri.
Interchanges: Aiton, Bousquet, Simon, Jullien.
Referee: Gareth Hewer.
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