After last weeks loss at Headingley an incresingly embattled Catalans Dragons returned to the heat of the south of France to take on Wakefield Trinity as sixth met eighth on the fringe of the play-off places.
Thanks to the Dragons awful points difference, Trinity knew that an away win would lift them into sixth spot and a win by thirty-six points or more would see them above Castleford Tigers and into fifth. The Dragons needed a win for fifth, and to go level on points with fourth placed Wigan Warriors, but without a win in six weeks the most important thing for the home side was getting back on the bike and picking up the victory.
Both sides made changes to their starting line-ups, and the bookies had the Dragons as slight favourites for the win in front of their partisan home crowd.
After a nip and tuck opening eleven minutes until the Dragons broke the deadlock after Jodie Broughton found an acre of space wide left to evade the Trinity tacklers and roll over the line to score. Sam Tomkins missed his conversion from the touchline.
Four minutes later and the Dragons were in again when Matt Whitley pushed away and attempted tackle from Pauli Pauli to run the arc from ten metres to ground. This time Tomkins kicked the conversion for a 10-0 lead.
Within a minute of a formal a water break on twenty minutes a break from David Mead found Samisoni Langi in support to take the pass after the centre drew the full back to score under the uprights. Tomkins added the conversion for a 16-0 lead.
Despite the attentions of the Dragons defence Reece Lyne managed to get over the line after taking a Pauli pass. Danny Brough converted from the touchline to reduce the arrears to twn points.
Broughton got his second on thirty-two when space opened up after a Brayden Wiliame picked up a poor Tony Gigot pass off the ground before passing out quickly to put the winger free to go on again. Tomkins was again unable to convert from wide.
Three minutes after the restart Broughton scored his hat-trick try after Ben Jones-Bishop failed to gather a kick through allowing the winger to run behind the last defender and collect the ball to go over and ground. Tomkins slotted the conversion between the uprights for 26-6.
It was turning into a procession when Kenny Edwards took a Gigot pass and despite an attempt from Pauli to remove his head he broke free and went in under the sticks to give Tomkins a simple goal for 32-6.
A second drink break heralded the seventh Dragons try when Gigot put Sam Kasiano through a gap before taking the inside pass to go under the uprights. Tomkins added the goal with Catalans in total control.
Gigots second came on sixty-nine but it was the scrappiest of the afternoon as Broughton and Wiliame both off loaded under the tackle before Gigot kicked the ball forwards and collected it to ground. Tomkins added the conversion for a very commanding 44-6 lead.
Bill Tupou got a consolation three minutes from the final hooter after Tomkins had be penalised for knees up in the tackle. Brough couldn’t add the conversion from wide, the Dragons taking the win by 44-10.
A clinical Dragons performace secured a very comfortable win over a top five contender which see’s them go above the Castleford Tigers and back into the play-off places. It was a big turnaround after last weekends loss to the Leeds Rhinos and a first win for the French side in over a month. Steve McNamara will now be hoping that his side can kick on in the run in so that they can have a shot at the Old Trafford final.
Dragons: Tomkins (6G), Broughton (3T), Mead, Wiliame, Romano, Langi (T), Gigot (2T), Bousquet, McIlorum, Simon, Whitley (T), Garcia, Casty. Subs: Edwards (T), Albert, Kasiano, Maria.
Trinity: Hampshire, Jones-Bishop, Lyne (T), Arundel, Tupou (T), Miller, Brough (G), Fifita, Randell, Kopczak, Pauli, Tanginoa, Crowther. Subs: Wood, King, Hirst, Gwaze.
Referee: Liam Moore.