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Round 2: Salford down Catalans
Catalans Dragons found out how difficult life could be in the engage Super League without Stacey Jones as they slipped to defeat at Salford by 16-0.
The French newcomers went into the game on a high after an opening win over Wigan last week - but they failed to perform at The Willows after losing playmaker Jones injured early on.
Salford took advantage to maintain their winning start to the season - but despite dominating throughout, they only had two Stuart Littler tries to show until Andrew Brocklehurst went over nine minutes from time.
The home side?s failure to score the points their superiority deserved allowed Catalans to retain some hope - but without Jones pulling the strings, they could not find a way through.
Catalans? hopes suffered a serious blow when New Zealand scrum-half Jones left the field with what appeared a hand or wrist injury in the early stages.
Jones, outstanding against the Warriors, took up a seat on the bench but did not return and had changed into his track-suit by the start of the second half.
Without their star signing, the visitors spent most of the game on the defensive but did well to limit the Reds to just six points in the first half.
Salford forced the pace from early on and went close to a try after just three minutes when Karl Fitzpatrick?s kick proved just too strong for Junior Langi.
Ian Sibbit forced his way over the line after 12 minutes, but frantic Catalans defending managed to prevent him touching down.
A lightning break by David Hodgson and Fitzpatrick moments later created another opening - but a great opportunity was spurned as Littler failed to take a pass out wide.
All the Reds had to show for their dominance in the opening quarter was a solitary penalty from Hodgson.
Littler put that right as he made amends with the opening try after 19 minutes.
Catalans mustered little in the first half other than early breaks by Jamal Fakir and Julien Rinaldi and a late chance for John Wilson.
Salford could have put the game beyond reach in the first half, but it was not until the 42nd minute that they extended their lead with Littler?s second.
Former Leeds scrum-half Andrew Dunemann, making his Reds debut, stretched the Catalans defence with an arcing run out wide before passing inside for Littler to touch down.
Hodgson converted to put Salford 12-0 ahead. Littler went close to a hat-trick as he chased the ball in-goal - but it just ran dead.
Catalans enjoyed a spell of pressure as they tried to force their way back into the game, but the Reds held firm.
Brocklehurst finally put the game beyond reach after 71 minutes as he finished off a slick move with a powerful run on the right.
It was no more than Karl Harrison?s side deserved, and they also made sure they kept a clean sheet with some good tackling to keep out Bruno Verges.
The winger went close to claiming a consolation in the corner late on but he was stopped short.
Salford: Wilshere, Langi, Littler, Moule, Hodgson, Dunemann, Fitzpatrick, Coley, Alker, Highton, Brocklehurst, Sibbit, Finnigan.
Replacements: Clough, Haggerty, Rutgerson, Stewart.
Catalans Dragons: Frayssinous, Murphy, Wilson, Hughes, Verges, Rudder, Jones, Beattie, Rinaldi, Fellous, Fakir, Guisset, Hindmarsh.
Replacements: Guigue, Mounis, Touxagas, Chan.
Salford (6) 16.
Tries: Littler 2, Brocklehurst. Goals: Hodgson 2.
Catalans Dragons (0) 0.
Referee: P Bentham (Warrington)