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Super League: Salford Red Devils too strong for Catalan Dragons
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Salford maintained their slim hopes of qualifying for the Super League playoffs thanks to a 34-22 victory over Catalan Dragons at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Full-back Kevin 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 within four points of the top eight with three games left.
The visitors managed to run in four tries of their own, with Thomas Bosc adding three goals, but the hosts were in control for the vast majority of the contest.
The visitors did make the better start as Leon Pryce created the opening try for Michael Oldfield in the corner after seven minutes.
But Salford hit back with a surging run from skipper Adrian Morley before Locke took Rangi Chase's pass to go over after 11 minutes.
Locke booted the difficult conversion to fire the Red Devils 6-4 ahead and they increased the lead when Sau charged through Jason Baitieri's tackle to power over under the posts.
The Red Devils were then able to take full advantage of a high tackle by Greg Mounis on Chase to extend their lead, with Locke adding his second try on the half hour and his third conversion made it 18-4.
The lead was extended by another four points before half-time as replacement Jason Walton put Evalds over in the corner with a smart pass after Chase had sidestepped the dangerous Elliott Whitehead.
Catalan needed a score early in the second half and Mounis obliged with Bosc adding the conversion.
However, the home side were soon back on the front foot and 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.
The game was well and truly killed off on the hour mark when Tony Puletua crashed over from short range, with Lama 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 Ian Henderson on 100th appearance for the club, with Bosc kicking the conversion but it was little more than a consolation.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Catalan Dragons 28 - 6 Castleford|
|London Broncos 36 - 46 Bradford|
|Friday 12th September|
|Salford 36 - 6 Widnes|
|Huddersfield 17 - 16 St Helens|
|Hull 24 - 19 Leeds|
|Thursday 11th September|
|Wigan 24 - 20 Warrington|
|Sunday 7th September|
|Castleford 26 - 22 Wakefield|
|Hull K R 14 - 32 Catalan Dragons|
|Bradford 12 - 32 Widnes|
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