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Friday 15th August 2014, 20:00 - Round:24
Salford Red Devils
|Kevin Locke 2, Junior Sa'u, Niall Evalds, Theo Fages, Tony Puletua,||T||Michael Oldfield, Gregory Mounis, Vincent Duport, Ian Henderson,|
Kevin Locke 3, Rangi Chase 2,
Thomas Bosc 3,
Attendance: 6,000 Official: B Thaler Venue: A J Bell Stadium, Salford
Salford Red Devils maintained their slim hopes of qualifying for the First Utility Super League play-off's with Kevin Locke notching 14 points as they beat Catalan Dragons 34-22.
Full-back Locke scored two tries and kicked three goals, while Junior Sau, Niall Evalds, Theo Fages and Tony Puletua also touched down as the Red Devils moved four points behind Catalan and Widnes Vikings with three games left.
The visitors managed to run in four tries of their own, with Thomas Bosc adding three goals, but it was not enough.
Rangi Chase starred for Salford as he pulled the strings, but Sau was another a stand-out performer on a good night for the hosts at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Locke was making only his third appearance since signing from New Zealand Warriors and recovering from injury, with Jason Walton reverting to the bench.
Evalds also switched to the wing for Josh Griffin as the Red Devils aimed to avenge their 37-24 defeat at Catalan in May.
Ian Henderson made his 100th appearance for the Dragons, who also welcomed centre Vincent Duport back from suspension.
The visitors flew out of the blocks, pouncing on a spill from Evalds as Leon Pryce created the opening try for Michael Oldfield in the corner after seven minutes.
Elliot Whitehead's crunching tackle forced Lama Tasi to lose possession, but Salford hit back with a surging run from skipper Adrian Morley before Locke took Chase's pass to go over after 11 minutes.
Locke booted the difficult conversion to fire the Red Devils ahead 6-4 and they increased the lead when Sau charged through Jason Baitieri's tackle to power over under the posts for his 12th try of the season.
A touch of class from Chase almost brought another try shortly after, but the bounce just eluded Evalds.
However, they were able to take full advantage of a high tackle by Greg Mounis on Chase to extend their lead, with Locke adding his second try after half an hour and his third conversion made it 18-4.
Fages went close again for Salford, who were in rip-roaring form against a side that had only beaten Bradford and London on their travels this season.
There was no stopping the Red Devils, who moved into a 22-4 lead at half-time, with sub Jason Walton putting Evalds over in the corner with a smart pass after Chase had sidestepped the dangerous Whitehead.
Catalan needed a score early in the second half and Mounis obliged with Bosc adding the conversion.
Chase forced the Dragons into successive drop-outs from under their own posts after teasing kicks on the sixth tackle.
The pressure had to tell sooner or later and it was no surprise when Fages took Harrison Hansen's pass to plunge over and give Salford another 18-point cushion. Chase took over the goalkicking duties and made no mistake.
Salford sealed the win on the hour with Tony Puletua crashing over from short range, with Tasi supplying the pass and Chase adding his second conversion.
The Red Devils' sterling defence will have pleased coach Iestyn Harris but Whitehead would have scored had he not dropped a pass from Louis Anderson's impressive break.
Mason Caton-Brown raced back to stop Morgan Escare - no mean feat - but Duport did manage a third try for Catalan with Bosc booting his 500th goal for the club.
Catalan finished the scoring with a late try from Henderson on his landmark appearance, with Bosc kicking the conversion but it was little more than a consolation.
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals