After Hull KR's sensational win over the Warrington Wolves in last weekend’s elimination play-offs, it would be a foolish Dragons player, coach or supporter who underestimated the task ahead as the minor premiers took on the sixth placed side for a position in the Grand Final next weekend.
The Dragons were without the services of Sam Tomkins but had Arthur Mourgue at full back while Ryan Hall was back in the Robins side, bringing a mountain of play-off experience.
The Dragons were big favourites for the win, after their weekend off and in front of a packed house at the Stade Gilbert Brutus, but you back against the underdogs in 2021 Super League at your own peril.
Arthur Mourgue had a sixth minute effort ruled out by the video referee after he promoted the ball when tackled just short of the line but within minutes Will Dagger was unable to take a kick through and Ben Garcia picked up the loose ball for a walk in try, despite a KR defender trying to haul him back by his shirt. James Maloney added the conversion for a 6-0 home lead, the game going to plan for the home side.
On twenty-four Fouad Yaha thought he’d gone in for the Dragons but referee James Child ruled a forward pass.
Just after the half hour mark Josh Drinkwater intercepted the ball inside his own half and broke free of a single Hull KR tackler to go sixty metres and score under the sticks. Maloney added the conversion for a 12-0 lead, Hull KR unable to get into the game.
With five minutes of the half remaining Shaun Kenny-Dowall took a smart Jordan Abdull pass and showed the dummy before ghosting through the defensive line for the Robins first try. Abdull was unable to add the extras and KR went into the sheds trailing by 4-12.
Another Dagger error within the opening seconds of the second half was a massive blow for KR as Mourgue picked up the loose ball and grounded over the line for the third Dragons try of the evening. Maloney was side with a simple looking conversion.
On the hour mark and expansive passing move on the last tackle saw Fouad Yaha crash over by the left corner flag to edge the Dragons to Old Trafford. Maloney was again unable to add the conversion, KR needing three converted tries in just over eighteen minutes.
Joel Tomkins lost the ball over the line on sixty-three as he stretched to score.
Joe Chan put the result beyond any doubt as he was the fastest to react to a Drinkwater grubber kick as he dived to ground one handed. This time Maloney was on target with the kick, the home side 26-4 ahead.
Ryan Hall went over in the left hand corner on seventy-four for a consolation try with Abdull adding the conversion for 10-26.
The last scoring action of the game was a Maloney penalty goal on seventy-eight to secure a famous and history making 28-10 victory.
Catalans Dragons have made it to Old Trafford on the back of their minor premiership and are now just eighty minutes away from lifting the games ultimate prize and being crowned Champions for the first time. They will now have to wait twenty-four hours to find out whether their opponents will be St Helens or Leeds Rhinos in the game to be played in nine days time.
Catalans Dragons: Mourgue (T), Yaha (T), Langi, Whare, Davies, Drinkwater (T), Maloney (4G), Bousquet, McIlorum, Tomkins J, Whitley, McMeeken, Garcia (T). Subs: Dudson, Goudemand, Chan (T), Kasiano.
Hull KR: Dagger, Hall (T), Kenny-Dowall (T), Takairangi, Crooks, Abdull (G), Lewis, King, Litten, Maher, Linnett, Johnson, Storton. Subs: Vete, Mustapha, Tate, Keinhorst.
Half Time: 12-4.
Referee: James Child.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 10-0, 12-0, 12-4 : HT : 16-4, 20-4, 24-4, 26-4, 26-8, 26-10, 28-10: FT.