Salford close gap on top five after beating Catalans – talking points & ratings

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Salford’s top five hopes are well and truly alive after easing past Catalans 40-14 at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The Red Devils are currently in seventh – just two points behind Catalans, Castleford and Wigan who are joint fourth on 24 points.

Ian Watson made two changes to his Salford side that won at Warrington last week. Derrell Olpherts and Josh Jones came in for Junior Sa’u and Adam Lawton.

Catalans coach Steve McNamara made three changes to his outfit that beat Huddersfield last time out. Jodie Broughton, Samisoni Langi and Kenny Edwards dropped out of the squad.

Fouad Yaha, Ben Jullien and Matty Smith returned for the Dragons.

A penalty goal from Sam Tomkins put Catalans in an early lead before Salford prop Josh Johnson scored the game’s first try on the half hour mark.

The floodgates opened after Johnson’s effort as Sam Kasiano went over for the Dragons while Olpherts and Kris Welham put Salford in a 16-8 lead at the break.

Brayden Wiliame scored early in the second half for Catalans but it was all Salford after that point. Tui Lolohea, Krisnan Inu, Niall Evalds, Welham and Mark Flanagan went over for tries to seal a 40-14 victory at home.

Three talking points

Salford top five hopes alive

Their win over Catalans sees Watson’s side just outside the top five in seventh – but their hopes of making a play-off spot are well and truly alive.

Salford have won their last two games against top five rivals Warrington and Catalans and are entering good form in the business end of the season.

The Red Devils have to play London, Huddersfield, Hull FC, Warrington, Leeds and Hull KR in the final six games of the season. It’s all to play for.

Catalans face tough run in

The Dragons are in a similar position to the Red Devils in the Super League table – but their fixtures from now until the end of the regular campaign are tougher, it seems.

McNamara’s men still have to play Warrington, Leeds, London, Hull KR, Wigan and Huddersfield.

But saying that, Catalans and Salford both have to play the bottom three – London, Hull KR and Leeds. The table could look completely different this time next month – but that’s the beauty of this year’s competition. It keeps everyone on their toes.

Johnson a solid signing for Salford

The Red Devils might not have a big pot of money to play with when it comes to recruitment and retention – but they often spend their cash wisely.

They signed former Hull KR prop Johnson from Championship Barrow earlier this month and he has proved to be a very shrewd signing for the club.

He is an aggressive, traditional front-rower who adds a lot of grunt to Salford’s pack. Johnson is a good buy for the Red Devils and he already seems at home.

Line-ups and ratings

Salford: Evalds (8); Olpherts (7), Welham (9), Bibby (7), Inu (8); Lolohea (7), Hastings (8); Walker (7), Tomkins (6), Dudson (7), Lannon (6), Jones (8), McCarthy (8). Subs: Burke (7), J Johnson (8), Lussick (7), Flanagan (7).

Tries: J Johnson, Olpherts, Welham 2, Lolohea, Evalds, Flanagan Goals: Inu 3/4, Lolohea 3/3

Catalans: Tomkins (6); Romano (4), Mead (4), Wiliame (5), Yaha (4); Gigot (3), Smith (3); Bousquet (5), McIlorum (5), Simon (4), Whitley (5), Garcia (4), Casty (5). Subs: Jullien (4), Albert (3), Maria (3), Kasiano (7).

Tries: Kasiano, Wiliame Goals: Tomkins 3/3

Attendance: 2,785

Drew’s views

The crowd figure might not have been big at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday afternoon – but the on-field action was spectacular. It was an entertaining spectacle to say the least.

The Red Devils were fluent in attack. Jackson Hastings and Lolohea are building a strong understanding of each other in the halves. Also, you can tell why Welham kept Junior Sa’u out of the team this year – he was on fire against the Dragons.

As for Catalans, its eight losses in 13 games on the road this year and it seems to be the same old story for the club. They’re a decent side at home but they don’t win enough games away from Perpignan. They still have three away games to play, too.

Elsewhere in Super League

Leeds 24-26 Hull FC

London 32-12 St Helens

Castleford 27-18 Warrington

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