Salford 16 Catalan Dragons 0: Jones' early departure lets Littler waltz past Catalans

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The Independent Online

After the euphoria of their opening day victory over Wigan in Perpignan, Catalans came down to earth with a bump on a cold winter's night at The Willows.

Salford recorded a convincing three-try victory and the Dragons, who suffered the indignity of being nilled, also sustained a major blow with their key New Zealand half-back and influencial captain, Stacey Jones, leaving the field after 10 minutes with a broken right arm.

"It was pretty disappointing from last week," said the Catalans caretaker coach Paul Donkin. "We have come full circle. Last week we were upbeat and now we are down in the dumps. Jones is our number one signing and has suffered that injury before and feels that it is the same this time. But it didn't alter the gameplan. The boys know their job ­ but unfortunately some of them didn't do it."

Salford, who followed up their impressive win at Warrington, have only conceded one try in their opening two games. "We set ourselves defensive goals and it was good to achieve them," said Karl Harrison, the Salford coach.

"With the football we were a bit rusty but I felt that the score flattered the Catalans."

Salford's new signing, Australian half back Andrew Dunemann enjoyed a fine debut and had a hand in all three tries. The former Leeds player flipped Stuart Littler over in the corner for the opening try midway through the first half and was again the provider two minutes after the restart when Littler put over for his second. Andrew Brocklehurst added Salford's third try with nine minutes remaining to round off a convincing home win.

"Dunemann is not yet fully into the Salford way of playing but he played really well for his first game," Harrison said.

"The Catalans did not go away and stayed at the party but we made it physically very difficult for them."

Salford: Wilshere; Langi, Littler, Moule, Hodgson; Dunemann, Fitzpatrick; Coley, Alker, Highton, Sibbit, Brocklehurst, Finnigan. Substitutes used: Stewart, Haggerty, Clough, Rutgerson.

Catalans: Frayssinous; Murphy, Wilson, Hughes, Verges; Rudder, Jones; Beattie, Rinaldi, Fellous, Guisset, Fakir, Hindmarsh. Substitutes used: Guigue, Touxagas, Mounis, Chan.

Referee: P Bencham (Warrington).

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