Author: Ryan Booth

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 12-26 Catalans Dragons

Salford Red Devils succumbed to defeat at the Dacia Magic Weekend as former Red Devil Jodie Broughton’s hat-trick helped the Catalans Dragons on their way to a deserved 26-12 triumph at St James’ Park.
Alongside Broughton’s treble, scores from Benjamin Garcia, Julien Bousquet plus three goals from Tony Gigot ensured the French side secured a pivotal victory at the weekend extravaganza.
The Red Devils flew out of the blocks and found their way over the line with just three minutes on the clock.
Kris Welham cleverly flicked Robert Lui’s lofted cross-field kick into the path of the onrushing Derrell Olpherts who forced himself over. However, the score was chalked off due to offside in the build-up.
Salford weren’t to be denied for long though as Weller Hauraki broke forward and flicked inside to Mark Flanagan, the latter then returned the ball after producing a terrific offload which forged an opening for second-rower Hauraki to cross over under the sticks.
Lui then comfortably landed the resulting conversion to extend the lead to 6 points but Salford’s efforts were undone less than five minutes later as Benjamin Garcia pierced through the Reds backline before powering over – although Josh Drinkwater did miss the subsequent goal.
Garcia’s score seemingly spurred the Dragons on and the French side soon forged another point scoring opportunity as George Griffin conceded a penalty through an interference. Catalans opted to kick for two, but Tony Gigot was unable to convert the goal despite it appearing harder to miss.
Catalans soon turned the game on its head when Logan Tomkins spilled Gigot’s grubber in-goal before Julien Bousquet pounced onto the loose ball to touch down before Gigot calmly added the extras.
Ian Watson’s men were struggling to build any momentum at this point and were fortunate not to have suffered another score just a minute later as Garcia found his way over again but luckily for Salford, the forward was unable to successfully ground the ball.
Catalans headed in at the break with a 10-6 lead and they picked up where they left off after the break as former Red Devil Jodie Broughton latched onto a loose ball before jinking past Niall Evalds to stretch over the whitewash.
Gigot was unable to add the extras, but that was where Salford’s luck ran out as Broughton claimed his second try of the contest in style.
Lewis Tierney found a gap and produced a sensational pass to allow Broughton to dart 40m and score despite the best efforts of Lui and Jack Littlejohn.
Things worsened for the Red Devils when Broughton completed his hat-trick a minute later. After Josh Drinkwater went close seconds prior, Gigot delivered a looping kick to allow the winger to cross over.
Kris Welham exited the field after picking up an injury and the Dragons extended their lead immediately afterwards as Gigot added his third goal to inflict further misery upon the Salford players.
Salford did claim a consolation try though, Littlejohn’s short ball found its way to George Griffin who crossed over the line unchallenged. Lui added the extras to make the scoreline more respectable.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Olpherts, Lui, Littlejohn, Kopczak, Tomkins, Mossop, Griffin, Hauraki, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Tasi, Murray, Wood, McCarthy.
Catalans Lineup: Gigot, Broughton, Mead, Williame, Tierney, Bird, Drinkwater, Simon, McIlorum, Moa, Julien, Garcia, Casty.
Interchanges: Anderson, Bousquet, Maria, Baiteri.
 
Salford Scorers: Tries-  Hauraki (9’), Griffin (75’) | Goals- Lui (10’, 76’
Catalans Scorers: Tries- Garcia (20’), Bousquet (23’), Broughton (49’, 61’, 63’) | Goals- (Gigot 24’, 62’, 72’)
Man of the Match: Niall Evalds.
Referee: Gareth Hewer. Touch Judges: M. Craven & R. Thompson. Video Referee: Robert Hicks.

Match Report | Leigh Centurions 22-10 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils bowed out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup at the first attempt as Leigh Centurions ran out 22-10 winners on a frustrating evening at the Leigh Sports Village.
Despite first half efforts from Niall Evalds and George Griffin, Salford ultimately fell short as tries from Ben Reynolds, Harrison Hansen, Daniel Mortimer and Drew Hutchinson ensured the Leythers advanced to the Quarter-Finals of the famous old trophy.
Salford headed into the game following last week’s 30-0 defeat at Wigan, but the Red Devils made the perfect start this time around as some quick hands from Jake Shorrocks and Jack Littlejohn forged an opening for the onrushing Niall Evalds who threw a quick dummy and dived over the line.
Shorrocks failed to land the subsequent conversion but Salford were over again just over ten minutes later. This time, on-loan Wigan half-back Shorrocks cleverly picked out George Griffin with a short ball and the forward pummelled his way through three Leigh defenders to surge over the line before Shorrocks added the extras.
The visitors’ dominance was short-lived however as Peter Mata’utia jinked inside the Salford line before flicking inside to Ben Reynolds who crossed under the sticks before converting his own effort.
Reynold’s score seemed to spur the hosts on and they were in again just two minutes later as former Salford man Harrison Hansen shuck off several opposition defenders before spinning over the line.
Half-back Reynolds then added the resulting goal to turn the game on its head as the Leythers headed into the interval in full control.
Leigh picked up where they left off after the break and were unfortunate not to have scored as Drew Hutchinson headed for the line, but his score was chalked off after a last-ditch tackle from Littlejohn held the half-back up.
The hosts weren’t to be denied for long though as Daniel Mortimer bulldozed over from the following set before Reynolds added his third goal to increase the margin separating the sides to 8 points.
Salford regrouped in the hope of forging a formidable comeback but a combination of a forward pass from Evalds and some excellent defence prevented Derrell Olpherts from finishing in the right-hand corner –  a move that reflected a highly frustrating evening for the Red Devils.
Unfortunately for Salford, things worsened three minutes from time as Hutchinson danced through the visiting line to claim a deserved try and complete the scoring.
Leigh Lineup: Mata’utia, Dawson-Jones, Crooks, Hall, Owens, Reynolds, Hutchinson, Bailey, Higham, Acton, Hansen, B.Thompson, J.Thompson.
Interchanges: Mortimer, Larroyer, Richards, Dezaria.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Olpherts, Welham, Sa’u, Johnson, Shorrocks, Littlejohn, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Mossop, Hauraki, Griffin, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Wood, Tasi, McCarthy, Kopczak.
 
Leigh Scorers: Tries-  Reynolds (17’), Hansen (19’), Mortimer (49’), Hutchinson (77’) | Goals- Reynolds (17’, 19’, 50’)
Salford Scorers: Tries-  Evalds (2’), Griffin (13’) | Goals- Shorrocks (13’)
Man of the Match: Mark Flanagan
Referee: Liam Moore. Touch Judges: A.Martin & C.Kendall. Video Referee: Ben Thaler.  
Attendance: 4,024
 

Match Report | Wigan Warriors 30-0 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils fell to a second successive Betfred Super League defeat as Wigan Warriors ran out comfortable 30-0 winners on a frustrating evening at the DW Stadium.
Sam Tomkins’ brace alongside further scores from Oliver Gildart, Tony Clubb, George Williams and John Bateman ensured the Warriors moved to within two points of league leaders St Helens.
The Red Devils were fortunate not to have conceded just four minutes into the contest as George Williams broke clear before flicking inside to the onrushing Liam Marshall, however the latter couldn’t keep hold of the ball after some good pressure from stand-in full-back Derrell Olpherts.
Olpherts was involved again minutes later after teaming up with Jake Bibby and Kris Welham to force Willie Isa into touch just when a try looked certain.
Despite making a strong start to the contest, Salford’s efforts were undone midway through the half as former Red Devil Oliver Gildart cut inside before racing clear under the sticks to touch down.
Sam Tomkins converted the resulting goal and the Warriors were in again moments later as Marshall capitalised on an error from Bibby before finding Tony Clubb who powered over the line from close-range, despite the best efforts of two Salford defenders.
Shaun Wane’s men were in a ruthless mood and found themselves over for a third occasion in the 31st minute as Williams jinked his way through the Salford line to cross over before Tomkins added his third goal.
The Wigan full-back then attempted to land a drop-goal from the 30m mark but Olpherts comfortably collected as the ball fell short of the sticks seconds before the half-time hooter.
After the break the hosts flew out of the blocks and thought they’d scored as Sam Powell darted over the line, but referee Chris Kendall came to Salford’s aid after ruling the try out.
Wigan weren’t to be denied for long however, the lively Tomkins picked up a short ball from Tommy Leuluai before forging his way under several Red Devil counterparts to cross over.
Salford regrouped and almost found their way over as Daniel Murray pierced his way through the Warriors line, but the forward knocked on after an explosive tackle from an opposition defender.
Things soon worsened for Ian Watson’s side when Tomkins wormed his way over to grab his second try in what was a carbon copy of his first effort.
The Warriors weren’t done there however, John Bateman produced a sublime dummy to deceive the Salford line before diving over with ease to complete the victory.
Wigan Lineup: S.Tomkins, Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Marshall, Williams, Powell, Navarette, Leuluai, Flower, Isa, Bateman, J.Tomkins.
Interchanges: Clubb, Sutton, Tautai, Escare.
Salford Lineup: Olpherts, Johnson, Sa’u, Welham, Bibby, Shorrocks, Littlejohn, Kopczak, L.Tomkins, Bennion, Hauraki, Lannon, Murray.
Interchanges: Tasi, Burgess, McCarthy, Nzoungou.
Wigan Scorers: Tries- Gildart (22’), Clubb (25’), Williams (31’), S.Tomkins (58’, 67’), Bateman (75’) | Goals- S.Tomkins (22’, 25’, 31’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- N/A | Goals- N/A
Man of the Match: Kris Welham
Referee: Chris Kendall. Touch Judges: Anthony Martin & Gareth Jones. In-Goal Judges: Curley Etchells & Jack Pulletin.
Attendance: 10,733

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 10-60 St Helens

Ben Barba claimed a hat-trick as Salford Red Devils fell to a 10-60 home defeat at the hands of Betfred Super League leaders St Helens on a disappointing evening at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Alongside Barba’s treble, Ryan Morgan and Regan Grace each claimed a brace apiece whilst Tommy Makinson, Dominique Peyroux, Mark Percival and Theo Fages also crossed to secure a comfortable triumph for Justin Holbrook’s side.
Salford headed into the contest on the back of successive victories, but they made the worst start possible when Junior Sa’u gifted the visitors possession through an incorrect play-the-ball. The following play resulted in a try as Tommy Makinson latched onto the end of Ben Barba’s defence-splitting pass and emphatically finished in the right-hand corner with just four minutes on the clock.
Daniel Richardson was unable to add the extras but Saints did extend their lead soon after –  Richardson’s looping kick caused mayhem amongst the Salford backline and the lively Makinson caught the high ball before finding the onrushing Dominique Peyroux who crossed over unchallenged.
On this occasion Richardson managed to convert the resulting goal and Justin Holbrook’s men were in again a minute later as Regan Grace broke down the left-hand side before flicking the ball infield to Ben Barba who slid over under the sticks despite the best efforts of Jake Bibby – Richardson again added the extras.
St Helens were running riot by this point and found themselves over again seven minutes later as Ryan Morgan fought off a number of Salford challenges before powering over from close-range before Richardson duly added the extras.
Salford regrouped and eventually clawed their way back into the contest as Tyrone McCarthy picked up a short ball from Logan Tomkins and touched down under the posts after bursting through a gap in the Saints line.
Jake Shorrocks successfully landed the subsequent conversion but the Red Devils almost conceded yet another Saints try – though Jonny Lomax was adjudged to have knocked the ball on by referee Chris Kendall.
The visitors weren’t to be denied for long however, Barba intercepted an offload from Josh Wood before racing 90m and crossing over for a spectacular individual effort – Richardson then landed the conversion to further increase the margin between the two sides.
Saints crossed over again when Peyroux touched down but the score was chalked off as Matty Lees was sent off after striking Niall Evalds’ head in the build-up.
However, St Helens were to have the last laugh as Regan Grace finished off a well worked move in the corner in what proved to be the final action of the half.
After the interval, the Welshman picked up where he left off and finished well in the left-hand corner following an enticing cross-field pass from Barba – Richardson added the extras.
The table toppers showed no misery towards the Reds and crossed over again moments later as Mark Percival finished off a break down the left before Barba grabbed his hat-trick with a simple finish under the sticks.
Salford were reduced to 12 men when Sa’u and St Helens lost a man of their own, albeit through injury as Barba was stretchered off after a nasty collision.
Theo Fages returned to haunt the Red Devils after his dummy deceived the Salford backline and allowed the Frenchman to touch down before Morgan touched down to secure his second of the evening.
Salford had the final say however as Kris Welham latched onto Shorrock’s grubber kick to claim a late consolation for Ian Watson’s side.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Johnson, Sa’u, Welham, Bibby, Shorrocks, Littlejohn, Mossop, Tomkins, Burgess, Griffin, Lannon, Flanagan.  Interchanges: Wood, Kopczak, Tasi, McCarthy.
St Helens Lineup: Barba, Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Richardson, Amor, Smith, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, Wilkin. Interchanges: Fages, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lees, Knowles.
Salford Scorers: Tries- McCarthy (28’), Welham (79’) | Goals-  Shorrocks (28’).
St Helens Scorers: Tries- Makinson (4’), Peyroux (15’), Barba (16’, 35’, 60’), Morgan (23’, 77’), Grace (39’, 54’), Percival (56’), Fages (74’)  | Goals- Richardson (15’, 16’, 23’, 36’, 55’, 57’, 61’, 75’, 78’).
Man of the Match: Logan Tomkins.
Referee: Chris Kendall. Touch Judges: Liam Moore & James Child. Video Referee: Ben Thaler.

Match Report | Huddersfield Giants 12-30 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils cruised to their first Betfred Super League away victory of the season with a resounding 30-12 victory over Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Jake Bibby’s double along with further scores from Mark Flanagan, Ben Nakubuwai and Weller Hauraki ensured The Red Devils ran out deserved winners to earn a crucial two points in their bid to secure a place in the lucrative Super 8s.
Salford made a bright start to the contest and were unfortunate not to have scored in the fourth minute when Robert Lui’s forty-twenty forged a golden try-scoring opportunity – but Lui ultimately knocked the ball on to bring an end to the move.
The Red Devils’ perseverance paid dividends in the 13th minute when Mark Flanagan produced an exquisite step before diving past several Huddersfield defenders to cross over under the posts – Lui then added the extras to give Salford a 6 point lead.
Flanagan’s score seemed to instill some confidence into the Salford ranks and they were over again just two minutes later when some quick hands from Josh Jones and Flanagan allowed Ben Nakubuwai to burst into a huge gap in the Giants’ backline before powering over to cap off a fine move – Lui again converted the resulting goal.
Salford were running riot by this point and came close to scoring several minutes later. First, a clever move from Lui almost resulted in Niall Evalds touching down but the full-back slipped at the crucial moment before Junior Sa’u narrowly failed to capitalise on the loose ball from Jack Littlejohn’s cross-field kick just seconds later.
However, the hosts managed to swing the momentum in their favour and crossed over midway through the half when some slick passes from Danny Brough and Aaron Murphy provided Innes Senior with the opportunity to score – one which the young winger duly took after holding off Jake Bibby before diving over in the corner. Brough then landed the subsequent conversion to reduce the deficit to six points.
Huddersfield were reluctant to let Salford out of their half after Senior’s score and came close to scoring on three separate occasions after forcing The Reds into two goal-line drop outs before Matty English was held up thanks to a last ditch effort from Lama Tasi.
Salford were under the cosh and almost conceded once again as Senior looked destined to score in the left-hand corner before flicking the ball inside but the combined defensive efforts of Bibby and Weller Hauraki forced the winger and loose ball into touch.
After the interval, The Red Devils claimed the first points of the half when the hosts were penalised for an incorrect play-the-ball – Salford opted to kick at goal and Lui successfully converted the resulting goal in front of the sticks to give Salford an 8 point lead.
Salford were over again minutes later when Lui picked out the onrushing Hauraki who pierced through the Huddersfield line before crossing the whitewash, Lui then converted the resulting goal to take Salford up to the 20 point mark.
Despite the setback the hosts regrouped and clawed their way back into the contest when former Salford man Lee Gaskell’s short ball allowed Oliver Roberts to cross over unchallenged from close-range – Brough then added the extras.
A combination of individual errors and a number of excellent defensive displays resulted in a fairly open second period but the turning point of the half arrived in the final ten when Ukuma Ta’ai hit Flanagan with a late shot – Lui then landed the resulting goal from 32m out to extend the visitors’ lead to 10 points.
Things quickly went from bad to worse for The Giants when star-man Brough was sent off in the 76th minute for his verbal misconduct towards Referee James Child.
Salford crossed over again with three minutes left on the clock when Bibby emphatically finished off a free-flowing move in the right-hand corner after some sublime play from Lui and Kris Welham – however on this occasion Lui was unable to convert the resulting goal.
However, The Red Devils weren’t finished there as Weller Hauraki produced an excellent dummy before flicking the ball to Bibby who dived over for his second of the day as Salford cruised to victory. 
Huddersfield Lineup: Rankin, McIntosh, Turner, Murphy, Senior, Gaskell, Brough, Ikahihifo, Leeming, Clough, Roberts, Ta’ai, Smith.  Interchanges: Hinchcliffe, Walne, English, Mellor.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Bibby, Sa’u, Welham, Johnson, Lui, Littlejohn, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Mossop, Hauraki, Jones, Flanagan.  Interchanges: Tasi, Kopczak, Lannon, Wood.
Huddersfield Scorers: Tries-  Senior (23’), Roberts (55’) | Goals- Brough (24’, 56’
Salford Scorers: Tries- Flanagan (13’), Nakubuwai (15’), Hauraki (52’), Bibby (77’, 79’) | Goals-  Lui (13’, 16’, 44’, 52’, 71’)
Man of the Match: Robert Lui
Referee: James Child  Touch Judges: M Craven & D Bowmer
Attendance: 4,385 

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 6-22 Warrington Wolves

Salford Red Devils suffered a frustrating Betfred Super League defeat as local rivals Warrington Wolves ran out 22-6 winners in a feisty affair at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Tries from Toby King, Josh Charnley, Tyrone Roberts and Kevin Brown ensured The Wolves secured the derby day bragging rights despite a creditable effort from Ian Watson’s side.
Despite making a strong start to the contest, Salford fell behind in the 4th minute when a knock-on from Weller Hauraki resulted in a Warrington break and allowed Josh Charnley to dart towards the Salford line.
Unfortunately for The Red Devils, Derrell Olpherts’ defensive effort wasn’t enough to prevent former Wigan man Charnley from flicking the ball inside to Toby King, who subsequently dived over – although former Red Devil Stefan Ratchford was unable to land the resulting goal.
The visitors controlled the early stages and found themselves over several minutes later as Ratchford’s looping pass forged an opening for Charnley to cross over the whitewash unchallenged, Ratchford then missed a second successive conversion as the ball rebounded off the post.
Salford found themselves further behind in the 22nd minute as Tyrone Roberts’ high kick caused mayhem as both Olpherts and Robert Lui tried to retrieve the bouncing ball and half-back Roberts took advantage of the confusion to pounce onto the loose ball and touch down, Ratchford converted his first goal of the day to extend The Wire’s lead.
However The Red Devils responded well and clawed their way back into the game as some quick hands from Jack Littlejohn and Hauraki paved the way for Lui to break through the Warrington line and cross over before adding the extras.
Lui’s score seemed to instill some confidence amongst the Salford ranks, first Lama Tasi made arguably the break of the season to pin the visitors inside their own half and then Ryan Lannon produced a slick chipped kick over the back of the Warrington line before forcing Stefan Ratchford in-goal.
The visitors flew out of the blocks after the break and thought they’d crossed over again in the 44th minute as Charnley dived over – but the try was chalked off due to a knock on from Ryan Atkins earlier in the build up.
Salford almost fought back with a further effort as Robert Lui stabbed the ball towards the right-hand corner but the ball fell agonisingly behind the onrushing Jake Bibby.
Midway through the half, The Red Devils had their own try disallowed as Weller Hauraki’s effort was ruled out due to Kris Welham being found guilty of obstructing Kevin Brown after breaking through the line.
Warrington ended any hopes of a Salford comeback after capitalising on an error from Olpherts, Ratchford stepped over several tackle attempts before finding Brown who duly crossed over – Ratchford then added the extras to take The Wolves up to the 20-point mark.
Steve Price’s side completed the scoring four minutes later through another goal from Ratchford after Lama Tasi gave away a penalty following an altercation with Charnley in the tackle.
Salford Lineup: Lui, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Olpherts, Shorrocks, Littlejohn, Mossop, Wood, Kopczak, Jones, Hauraki, Flanagan. Interchanges: Lannon, Nakubuwai, Tasi, Burgess.
Warrington Lineup: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, T. King, Charnley, Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Westwood. Interchanges: Atkins, Philbin, Crosby, Akauola.
Salford Scorers: Tries- Lui (26’) | Goals- Lui (27’)
Warrington Scorers: Tries- King (4’), Charnley (11’), Roberts (22’), Brown (72’) | Goals- Ratchford (23’, 73’, 77’)
Man of the Match: Robert Lui
Referee: Gareth Hewer  Touch Judges: A. Martin & R. Thompson
Attendance: 3,428

Match Report | Leeds Rhinos 20-0 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils fell to a 20-0 defeat at the hands of Leeds Rhinos despite producing a resilient performance at a rain-soaked Emerald Headingley Stadium.
Prior to today’s game, Salford had won just once at Headingley in the Super League era and this run looked set to continue as The Red Devils made a sluggish start to the contest –  some quick hands from the hosts allowed Tom Briscoe to dive over in the corner with just five minutes on the clock, however Kallum Watkins’ conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Things quickly worsened for Ian Watson’s side as The Rhinos doubled their lead just twelve minutes later, Niall Evalds failed to keep hold of the ball and Ash Golding subsequently pounced on to the loose ball before touching down, Watkins added the extras to claim his first goal of the day.
Despite being behind, Salford stood up to the test ahead and almost got on the scoreboard when Jake Bibby broke towards the right-hand corner but Stevie Ward produced a try saving tackle to push Bibby into touch.
However, Leeds weren’t to be kept at bay for long and extended their lead further as Salford gave away a penalty 15m from their own line and the hosts opted to kick at goal – Watkins duly converted the penalty in what was the final point scoring action of the half.
Salford’s misfortune continued when Evalds suffered a head injury seconds before the interval – after a high shot from Handley caused the full-back to fall to the floor – and Lui switched to full-back early into the second period to fill in during Evalds’ absence.
Minutes later, club captain Weller Hauraki found himself placed on report by referee Greg Dolan as the forward’s challenge on former Red Devil Richie Myler was deemed a dangerous shoulder charge by the touch judges.
The Red Devils found themselves further behind when Kallum Watkins slotted home a penalty in front of the sticks twenty minutes from time – despite forging a number of attacking opportunities during the half.
Leeds crossed over again in the 76th minute when Josh Walters powered his way over from close-range after The Rhinos had forced Salford into successive goal-line drop outs, Watkins converted to take the hosts up to the 20 point mark and complete the scoring.
Leeds Lineup: Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Handley, Hall, Moon, Myler, Delaney, Parcell, Singleton, Ward, Ablett, Walters
Interchanges: Dwyer, Ferres, Smith, Oledzki
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Olpherts, Lui, Wood, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Griffin, Jones, Burgess, Murray
Interchanges: Littlejohn, Hauraki, Tasi, Lannon
Leeds Scorers: Tries- Briscoe (5’), Golding (17’), Walters (76’)
Goals- Watkins (18’, 35’, 58’, 77’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- N/A
Goals- N/A
Man of the Match: Daniel Murray
Referee: Greg Dolan
Touch Judges: Joe Stearne & Peter Brooke
In Goal Judges: Connor Astbury & Joseph Turner
Attendance: 10,718 

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 32-16 Catalans Dragons

Salford Red Devils returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion after cruising to a crucial 32-16 victory over Catalans Dragons in a feisty Betfred Super League encounter at the AJ Bell Stadium on Good Friday.
Tries from Jake Bibby, Niall Evalds, Greg Johnson, Josh Jones and Kris Welham along with six goals from Robert Lui ensured The Red Devils bounced back from their defeat at Widnes to earn a crucial two points in what was a clinical display.
After the disappointment of last Thursday’s loss to the Vikings, it was clear from the off that Salford were intent on immediately bouncing back to make a statement versus the Dragons this time around.
Salford opened the scoring in the 8th minute when Robert Lui’s fizzing pass allowed Niall Evalds to break through the Catalans backline before cooly finding Jake Bibby who produced an emphatic finish in the right-hand corner, Lui added the extras to give Salford a six point lead.
Evalds soon turned from provider to scorer – Lee Mossop found Lui who broke clear of the Catalans line before playing the ball to the onrushing Evalds who had the simple task of crossing over, Lui again kicked the resulting goal.
Salford were temporarily reduced to twelve men as Weller Hauraki was sent to the sin-bin midway through the half for a dangerous tackle, however The Red Devils immediately forced a Catalans error as Lama Tasi powered through an opponent which ultimately resulted in a knock-on.
However, the visitors responded well and clawed their way back into the contest when Tony Gigot spotted a huge gap behind the Salford line and produced a looping kick which enabled Fouad Yaha to touch down in the corner, but Gigot was unable to land the subsequent conversion.
The first score of the second period arrived in the 51st minute when Greg Johnson finished off a free-flowing move after a good break by Mark Flanagan, followed by some quick hands from Ben Nakubuwai, Josh Wood and Lui –  half-back Lui then kicked the resulting to extend Salford’s lead to fourteen points.
Salford were almost over again minutes later when Lui bypassed several tackle attempts before sprinting 30m and offloading to the onrushing Evalds who quickly found Wood, but the half-back was stopped in his tracks just when a try looked a certainty.
Despite a good spell of pressure from the hosts, Catalans fought back yet again and claimed arguably the best try of the tie when Yaha intercepted Logan Tomkins’ cross-field pass before racing 90m to cross over for his second, Gigot then added the extras to reduce the deficit to eight points.
The Red Devils extended their lead by a further two points through a penalty, Lui opted to kick at goal and successfully converted to take Salford up to the twenty point mark.
Lui’s penalty appeared to spur Salford on, Evalds deceived the Dragons backline with an excellent step before some slick passing from Lui and Flanagan allowed Josh Jones to dive over under the sticks and claim his first try of the season – Lui converted the resulting goal.
Unfortunately for the visitors, Salford weren’t finished there – this time Kris Welham fought off the defensive efforts of three Catalans defenders before powering over the line, Lui added the extras in what was an excellent conversion attempt.
Despite being second best for the majority of the fixture, Catalans produced a valiant effort and claimed a late consolation when Greg Bird dived over from close range late on, Gigot added the extras but Ian Watson’s men hung on to claim a crucial two points.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Johnson, Sa’u, Welham, Bibby, Lui, Wood, Mossop, Tomkins, Kopczak, Jones, Hauraki, Flanagan
Interchanges: Littlejohn, Nakubuwai, Tasi, Burgess
Catalans Lineup: Tierney, Broughton, Mead, Williame, Yaha , Gigot, Langi, Casty, McIlorum, Moa, Bird, Garcia, Baitieri
Interchanges: Aiton, Bousquet, Simon, Jullien
Salford Scorers: Tries- Bibby (8’), Evalds (10’), Johnson (51’), Jones (68’), Welham (73’)
Goals- Lui (9’, 11’, 52’, 66’, 69’, 74’)
Catalans Scorers: Tries- Yaha (26’, 59), Bird (78’)
Goals- Gigot (60’, 79’)
Man of the Match: Josh Wood
Referee: Gareth Hewer
Touch Judges: G. Jones & A. Smith
Attendance: 2,328 

Dual-Reg/Loan Watch | NW Crusaders 2-30 Oldham RLFC

Levy Nzoungou featured for dual-registration partners Oldham RLFC as The Roughyeds built on their Challenge Cup heroics at Halifax by cruising to a 30-2 victory over North Wales Crusaders at the Queensway Stadium.  
Danny Bridge and Joe Martin’s respective doubles alongside further scores from Zack McComb and Phil Joy ensured Scott Naylor’s side emerged as deserved winners on a comfortable afternoon in Wrexham.
Nzoungou was heavily involved throughout the contest but Oldham did have to come from behind as Crusaders full-back Tom Johnson capped his 150th appearance for the club with a 2nd minute penalty in front of the sticks.
Despite the setback, the visitors recovered and managed to turn the game on its head going into the interval as Zack McComb and Joe Martin both crossed over.
Oldham ran riot throughout the second period and scored 22 unanswered points as Danny Bridge and Martin both secured doubles before Phil Joy also touched down.
Roughyeds Head Coach and former Red Devil Scott Naylor said: “Our first-half performance was poor, but we regrouped at half-time and took control in the second-half.”
Elsewhere, it was a frustrating afternoon for Daniel Murray and loan club Halifax RLFC as Richard Marshall’s side fell to a disappointing 38-6 defeat at Toulouse Olympique.
Olympique winger Tony Maurel touched down twice, whilst Rhys Curran, Mark Kheirallah, Gavin Marguerite, Bastian Ader and Paul Marcon also crossed over to complete the rout – Kheirallah kicked five conversions to inflict further misery onto the visitors.
However, Halifax did claim a solitary try through hooker Brandon Moore before Steve Tyrer added the extras.
The result concludes a miserable week for ‘Fax as Marshall’s side crashed out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup following their 27-6 defeat to Salford’s dual-reg partners Oldham at the MBi Shay last Tuesday.
Gavin Bennion appeared for Swinton Lions as their sluggish start to the Betfred Championship campaign continued with a heavy 64-18 home loss to London Broncos.
Despite taking an early lead through Elliott Caine, The Lions are now without a win from their first six fixtures as table toppers London cruised to victory at Heywood Road.
The Broncos ran in an astounding twelve tries as Alex Walker claimed a hat-trick, Kieron Dixon and James Cunningham earned a brace apiece, whilst Will Lovell, James Meadows, Lewis Bienek, Ben Hellewell and Tom Spencer also crossed to ensure London ran out deserved winners.
Swinton did claim two further consolation efforts through Hayden Hansen and Chris Hankinson but were unable to take anything positive from the game as Josh Barlow’s straight red-card reflected a miserable afternoon for The Lions.
Despite the loss, Swinton Head Coach and former Salford centre Stuart Littler was pleased with Bennion’s contribution.
“Gavin Bennion ran hard all day,” said Littler.
“He was a handful and was probably one of the best forwards on the field, which saying that in a game when you concede 64 points is some achievement.
“He’s played big minutes again.”

Match Report | Widnes Vikings 24-16 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils were unable to record successive Betfred Super League victories as Widnes Vikings came from behind to triumph 24-16 in an entertaining contest at the Select Security Stadium.
The Red Devils made a bright start to the tie and almost forged an opening inside the opening ten when Weller Hauraki broke through the Widnes backline – but the second-rower was stopped in his tracks 15m from the line.
Salford burst through the Vikings defence frequently throughout the early stages and they thought their perseverance paid off when debutant Derrell Olpherts dived over in the corner after some good work from Robert Lui – but Olpherts was adjudged to have crossed the touchline by video referee Phil Bentham and the score was disallowed.
However, The Reds were finally over a minute later when Lui’s looping kick took a wicked bounce off the synthetic surface which eluded everyone except the onrushing Josh Jones whose quick hands gave Craig Kopczak the simple task of crossing over, Lui added the extras.
Widnes responded well and were denied a try by Bentham as the ball wasn’t grounded – however The Vikings crossed over from the subsequent play-the-ball as Chris Dean collected a short ball before piercing through a gap in the Salford line and powering over, Krisnan Inu converted the resulting goal.
Salford immediately recovered from the setback and restored their lead through a penalty, Lui opted to kick at goal and successfully landed the penalty to give the visitors a two point advantage.
Minutes later The Red Devils earned another penalty – this time Lui’s high kick caused mayhem amongst the Vikings line which ultimately resulted in a Widnes man knocking the ball on, half-back Lui successfully converted the kick to increase the margin separating the sides to four points at the interval.  
Salford flew out of the blocks after the break and almost scored as Hauraki found Jake Bibby who attempted to flick the ball into the path of the lively Olpherts – but the winger was unable to keep hold of the ball and Salford therefore lost possession.
Despite the good start, Salford’s momentum was quickly disrupted when Lama Tasi was sent to the sin bin after shoulder-charging Ted Chapelhow.
The man advantage quickly paid off as some good work from Danny Craven and Rhys Hanbury helped pave the way for Inu to power over in the right-hand corner and surpass 100 points in his Super League career, Inu then dusted himself off and successfully added the extras as the hosts turned the game on its head.
Despite losing Tasi to the bin, Salford recovered well upon his return and restored their lead in the 57th minute when Lui’s cross field kick found Bibby who cleverly flicked the ball into the path of Hauraki to dive over from close range, however Lui’s conversion flew wide of the posts.
Hauraki’s effort seemed to pile pressure on the hosts, Craven was tackled in-goal and Inu’s drop-out didn’t reach the 10m line – Lui opted to kick at goal from the resulting penalty and successfully converted his fourth goal of the evening.
In an end to end tie, the momentum soon switched towards The Vikings as Olpherts conceded a needless penalty after obstructing an opponent, Widnes scored from a quick play-the-ball as Greg Burke crossed over the whitewash before Inu added the goal to turn the scores around once again.
Salford made another costly error minutes later as Niall Evalds fumbled the ball in front of the try line – Aaron Heremaia pounced on the loose ball before touching down, Inu added the extras to seal the victory.
Widnes Lineup: Hanbury, Marsh, Inu, Runciman, Chamberlain, Mellor, Craven, Houston, Heremaia, Burke, Dean, Whitley, Olbison
Interchanges: Johnstone, Walker, Chapelhow, Wilde
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Bibby, Olpherts, Sa’u, Johnson, Lui, Littlejohn, Mossop, Tomkins, Kopczak, Jones, Hauraki, Flanagan
Interchanges: Wood, Tasi, Nakubuwai, McCarthy
Widnes Scorers: Tries- Dean (27’), Inu (48’), Burke (70’), Heremaia (75’)
Goals- Inu (27’, 48’, 71’, 76’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- Kopczak (17’), Hauraki (57’)
Goals- Lui (18’, 32’, 38’, 63’)
Man of the Match: Niall Evalds
Referee: Ben Thaler
Touch Judges: James Child & Liam Moore
Video Referee: Phil Bentham
Attendance: 4,007