Dragons comeback outclasses Cas
Posted: Saturday 8th August 2020 - 6:30 PM
The Tigers got off to a losing return to Betfred Super League action as a huge turnaround saw Catalans take the points at Headingley.
It was a game of two quarters in the first half as the Tigers got off to a roaring start in their first match in 21 weeks before being reeled back in as Catalans turned the contest on its head in their second run out behind closed doors.
Despite being forced into a handful of changes from the side which beat St Helens in their last match before lockdown, the Tigers were eager to pick up where they left off and opened the scoring with a quickfire brace from skipper Michael Shenton early on.
The centre’s first try came on the back of some great work from Danny Richardson with a jinking run in midfield laying the platform for half back partner Jake Trueman to thread a delicate grubber through for Shenton to finish superbly.
From the kick-off, Richardson’s high kick on the last forced an error from Catalans’ stand-in full back Arthur Mourgue and from the repeat set the Tigers struck again as some excellent hands out to the left flank created space for Eden – who was selected at full back following the departure of Jordan Rankin during lockdown – to pop the pass for Shenton to finish out wide.
Richardson converted both scores and a penalty to make it 14-0 inside 15 minutes for Daryl Powell’s men, who were showing themselves willing to move the ball at every opportunity and target a quick-play-the-ball following the recent rule changes.
However, whilst the Tigers were impressive when they had the momentum, so too were the Dragons when they got on a roll in the second quarter. Winger Tom Davies was the first to hit back with a strong finish in the corner before a sin binning for Peter Mata’utia on the half-hour mark really turned the game on its head.
Boosted by the extra man, Catalans took full advantage as Alrix Da Costa and Israel Folau both crossed in consecutive to give them the lead at the break before an error from Derrell Olpherts behind his own line gifted an easy score for Ben Garcia early in the second half put the Dragons 22-14 in front.
Down by two scores with the clock ticking, the Tigers needed to find some spark in their attacking play once again but they were starting to look a little ragged after all their defensive work. Having squandered a great opportunity in the first half when Jesse Sene-Lefao couldn’t gather with the line begging, this time it was James Clare who couldn’t bring the ball in with a try at his mercy.
An error from Trueman at the play-the-ball with Cas in prime field position just about summed things up for his side’s efforts in the last hour and it proved to be the last hurrah for the Fords as the Dragons came on strongly once again with a further three tries.
It was that man Folau at the heart of it as he registered his second and third assists of the game in a matter of minutes, first gathering a high ball before finding an offload back on the inside for Joel Tomkins to touch down before a quick pass sent his wingman Davies over for his double after the Tigers were sloppily pinged for offside at a short kick-off.
When Powell’s side did finally get their hands on the ball, a nicely worked move put Eden through a gap on the opposition try line but his pass dribbled into touch with Olpherts unmarked outside him, leaving Jason Baitieri to finish things off as he latched onto a Josh Drinkwater kick late on to rub salt into the wound.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers 14-40 Catalans Dragons
Eden, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Clare, Trueman, Richardson, Griffin, McShane, Millington, Holmes, McMeeken, Milner
Sene-Lefao, Foster, O’Neill, Hepi
Tries: Shenton (2)
Conversions: Richardson (2/2)
Penalty: Richardson (1/1)
Sin Bin: Mata’utia
Mourgue, Davies, Langi, Folau, Yaha, Maloney, Drinkwater, Bousquet, Garcia, Moa, Whitley, Tomkins, Casty
Da Costa, Jullien, Baitieri, Kasiano
Tries: Davies (2), Da Costa, Folau, Garcia, Tomkins, Baitieri
Conversions: Maloney (5/7)
Penalty: Maloney (1/1)
*Match report by Matt Holden
**Photography by SWPix
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