A late Scott Dereau drop-goal meant Catalans narrowly defeated Castleford in a game where there was almost as many sin-bins as tries.
Catalans came out on top 13-12 in a very tight and feisty affair which saw Olivier Elima, Eloi Pelissier and Jake Webster all sin-binned for a brawl. Justin Carney could have also been punished for a high shot on Morgan Escare.
Castleford went in front first with a typical. Carney try as he did well to stay in the field of play and led at half time.
Morgan Escare and Elliot Whitehead both scored off the back of kicks to put Catalans in front. This before a Jordan Tansey try for the visitors. However it was Dereau’s drop-goal which sealed the game for the French side.
Castleford started the better and more composed of the two sides, dominating both possession and territory. Catalans were their own worst enemy early on giving away continuous penalties in and around the ruck.
It was the Tigers who scored first, the only try of the half incidentally. A lovely weighted chip from Ben Roberts saw winger Carney collect the ball and do unbelievably well to stay in play before finishing in the corner.
The video referee took centre stage for most of the first half with two decisions. Firstly concluding that Catalan forward Zeb Taia didn’t get the ball down and was held up over the line.
Before secondly disallowing a Dennis Solomona try for being offside after he claimed a high Luke Gale kick.
The game began to heat up with a lot of hard shots coming in. After a few small scuffles an inevitable punch-up ensued. Scott Moore reacted to a shoulder charge from Pelissier. Both sides flew in with Webster and Elima in the centre.
Pellisier was sent for ten for his shoulder charge and was joined by fellow Catalan forward Elima who went for punching. Webster was sin-binned for Castleford for his involvement. This showing of authority from James Childs seemed to calm the game down.
The officials were called into action immediately in the second forty cancelling out another Solomona try as the ball didn’t go ten yards from the drop-out. Followed by Dereau’s effort as his foot went in touch.
The home side did get their try though when Dereau used the outside of his foot to chip the ball in field before Escare collected under the posts. The young full-back had been relatively quiet up until this point.
However the Frenchman, now invigorated, broke minutes later before Castleford winger Carney came across and caught Escare under the jaw. The challenge, surprisingly, went unpunished from Childs, the same referee who dismissed Patrick Ah Van of Widnes for a similar challenge last week.
Catalans continued their resurgence as another Dureau kick was palmed back inside by Michael Oldfield before Ben Pomeroy offloaded to Elliot Whitehead who finished the move off.
The Tigers did bite back when Carney broke from deep before throwing the ball inside to Tansey who scored under the sticks. The conversion tied the game at 12-12. Catalan centre Pomeroy had spurned a great opportunity moments earlier and it looked to have cost his side the victory.
But minutes from time Dureau would attempt a drop-goal which was blocked however from the resulting set of six he did slot the one pointer over to give the Dragons the win.
A big moment for a man whose injury crisis has seen him make only made ten appearances in two seasons for Catalans.
Its two defeats from two for Daryl Powell’s side who did so well last season. They face champions St Helens away in a fortnight’s time whilst Catalans host Warrington.