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The expectation was for a cricket score as second bottom side in the 2024 Super League, Castleford Tigers, travelled to the notoriously hostile Stade Gilbert Brutus to take on the Catalans Dragons.

A win by forty-five points or more would leapfrog the Dragons over Wigan and Saints and into the top spot on the five-week-old table, while a win for the Tigers would move them above a Hull FC side who were thrashed earlier in the afternoon, and into tenth place in the table, more importantly getting their 2024 season off the mark.

The Dragons were handicapped by twenty-two points on the handicap coupon, the bookies in no doubt that it would be a big win for the home side.

After being under pressure for the opening six minutes the Tigers crossed the line on their first foray into the Dragons twenty, but the try was ruled out by the video referee for an obstruction in the build-up.

The dam finally broke on fifteen minutes when a fast-stepping Arthur Mourgue outfoxed the Tigers defence to scamper over after throwing an outrageous dummy. Mourgue was unable to add the conversion to his try, the Dragons 4-0 ahead.

Just before twenty minutes Jordan Abdull forced his way over the line with a dash from fifteen metres out as a dummy created a gap. Mourgue added the conversion, the Dragons now ten points ahead despite all the hard work from the Tigers in defence.

The Tigers put a foot in the Dragons closing door on thirty-three when Joe Westerman span over the line and grounded the ball despite the attention of three tacklers. Rowan Milnes added the conversion from under the shadow of the sticks to reduce the arrears to just four points.

Within a minute the Dragons benefitted from a mistake in the Tigers defence as the ball was moved wide left with Tom Johnstone scoring in the corner. Mourgue added the conversion from tight against the touchline and in the blink of an eye the margin was back up to ten.

Three minutes after the restart the Dragons were in again when weak defence allowed Matthieu Laguerre to take a Mourge pass and slide in on the angle. Mourge added the extras for 22-6, the result beyond doubt, the margin still up for discussion.

A forty-eighth minute try from Tom Davies, thanks to a big overlap down the right-hand side, further extended the lead and when Mourgue added the touchline conversion the lead was up to twenty-two points.

A desperate hand from Mourgue prevented a three on one Tigers attack on fifty-two but on the next play Simm got the second try for the visitors after fast hands and a fifteen-metre sprint down the touchline. Milnes was wide with the conversion.

Matt Ikuvalu span out of a tackle and dropped onto the line with fifteen minutes of the game remaining to take the scoreline out to 32-10. Mourgue kicked his fifth goal of the night and a twenty-four-point lead.

A stretched arm from César Rougé on a scoot from acting half back saw the seventh Dragons try of the night with the ball grounded between the sticks to make the Mourge conversion a formality.

Simm grabbed a second try as consolation with four minutes remaining as he grounded a pinpoint Luke Hooley grubber kick by the corner flag. The conversion from Milnes was again wide for the visitors for a final score of 14-40.

It wasn’t the expected one-way traffic, and the Castleford Tigers had their moments, but in the end, it was an easy points victory for the Dragons which puts them level at the top of the table with Wigan Warriors and St Helens. Castleford remain in the doldrums with five losses from five starts as they drop to the bottom of the table before the London Broncos game against Warrington on Sunday afternoon.

Catalans Dragons: Mourgue (T,6G), Davies (T), Ikuvalu (T), Laguerre (T), Johnstone (T), Abdull (T), Fages, McMeeken, Garcia, Navarrete, Sims, Sequier, Sironen. Subs: Bousquet, Rougé (T), Dezaria, Maria. 18th Man: Bichet. 

Castleford Tigers: Broadbent, Simm (2T), Tasipale, Wood, Senior, Milnes (G), Miller, Lawler, Horne, Hall, Martin, Mellor, Westerman (T).  Subs: Hooley, Robb, Kibula, Vete. 18th Man: Hill.

Half-Time: 16-6.

Full-Time: 40-14.

Score Progression: 4-0, 8-0, 10-0, 10-4, 10-6, 14-6, 16-6 : HT: 20-6, 22-6, 26-6, 28-6, 28-10, 32-10, 34-10, 38-10, 40-10, 40-14 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Catalans.

Referee: James Vella.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 16th Mar 2024 7:18 PM | Views : 3844 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES