Salford Red Devils experienced a rollercoaster of a game at the Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan today, eventually earning a 40-40 draw against the Catalans Dragons after they had taken an early 0-22 lead after a blistering opening to the game.
But they then found themselves having to come from behind in the closing stages from 40-32, and they eventually were able to equalise with a well taken try from Cory Paterson, converted by Josh Griffin, and a controversial penalty given by referee Phil Bentham after Morgan Escaré was tackled and moved off the mark.
The Red Devils, with Kevin Locke an unexpected selection at fullback, were irresistible early on, scoring four tries in 20 minutes through Junior S’au, Josh Griffin, Paterson and Tommy Lee, with Josh Griffin converting three of them.
But the Dragons eventually started to find their feet, and clawed back tries by Zeb Taia, Vincent Duport and Ben Pomeroy, all of them converted by Scott Dureau, to cut the deficit to four points at the interval.
Theo Fages ran almost the length of the field to touch down after an interception to extend the lead to eight points, but Pomeroy scored his second, and Dureau’s conversion narrowed the gap to two points.
But the seesaw nature of the game continued when Rangi Chase touched down for the Red Devils, with Michael Oldfield replying for the Dragons, touching down a superb Dureau kick. And Dureau equalled the scores on 64 minutes with a penalty.
And when the Dragons scored late tries through Elliott Whitehead and Ian Henderson they must have thought the game was in the bag, even though Dureau could add neither conversion, until Paterson’s late intervention and the referee’s award of a late penalty.
A full report and photos from this game will feature in Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.