Dragons defeat for Tigers

Posted: Thursday 24th June 2021 - 9:54 PM

Head Coach Daryl Powell as unable to pick both Suaia Matagi and Peter Mata’utia due to their selection in the Combined Nations All Stars squad for Friday’s game against England. James Clare made his fourth start of the season and Liam Watts began the match in the halfs due to Gareth O’Brien’s exclusion through injury. Youngster Brad Graham was included in the thirteen for his first appearance of the season and fellow academy graduate Sam Hall was named on the bench.

Danny Richardson kicked towards the Wheldon Road End to get the game underway, aand it was Catalans who forced the issue in the first few moments. James Maloney poked a dangerous kick through on the last but fortunately Watts covered for the Tigers.

That early pressure from the visitors produced a try as Cas were forced to kick out and after two six again calls, Catalans got within touching distance of the line. Some flowing play through the hands of Maloney and Josh Drinkwater eventually found Fouad Yaha on the touchline who got around the outside of Derrell Olpherts to score in the corner. Maloney sliced his kick sightly and missed the conversion.

Cas’ first meaningful foray into opposition territory came after a Richardson kick towards the far corner took an awkward bounce and was fumbled by Arthur Morgue. However, the hosts were unable to make the most of it as the Dragons defence was helped by a knock on from scrum-half Richardson.

The Fords kept pushing forward as they forced their opponents into a couple of penalties in quick succession 10 metres from the line. Both Nathan Massey and Michael Shenton made bursts for the line, but the pair came up short and the visitors were thankful as they got a relieving penalty.

After being penned in their own half for a spell the visitors managed to extend their lead. An offload from Mike McMeeken looked to have been spilt forward, although nothing was given by the referee and Samisoni Langi pounced on the loose ball to take the scores to 0-8. Maloney missed his second conversion of the night.

After some fantastic goal line defence from the Tigers which forced Catalans into a knock on, they got themselves up the field thanks to Olpherts who broke through the line. The wing was stopped on the 40-metre line and the set ended with a kick towards the line but Sam Kasiano was in the right place to claim it.

The Dragons were almost in for a third when a difficult bounce off a Drinkwater high kick meant Olpherts struggled to collect the ball and Matt Whitley managed to rip it off the winger 10 metres out. Whitley offloaded to Drinkwater who looked clear to score, however, the ball went loose at the vital moment and the first half ended 0-8.

It was the Tigers who began the first half the better of the two sides after a Lewis Bienek charge got them within 40 metres of the line. A six again call pushed them even further forward and Alex Foster went close with a dart, but Cas could not find the final touch to score.

Then the momentum swung Catalans way as a penalty was given for a foul on Kasiano which got the French side within 20 metres of the Castleford try line. The Fords looked to have Kasiano wrapped up five metres out but the big man somehow managed to scoop out an offload to McMeeken. The second rower then passed out wide to Matthieu Laguerre on the touchline, but the right wing was smashed by numerous Cas players which forced him out.

Castleford were put on the back foot after another six again call was given with the away team looking threatening 10 metres out. This time Laguerre managed to score in the corner after Drinkwater took the play out wide right and the wing managed to keep himself in touch to skid over with 54 minutes on the clock. Maloney was accurate from the tee to give his side a 0-14 advantage.

A Danny Richardson spiral ball was fumbled by the visitors which got Cas up the field but again they were unable to convert from it. Forwards Jacques O’Neill and Tyla Hepi made digs for the line but couldn’t get that all important try to get them back in the game.

With 15 minutes to go Maloney executed a perfect 40/20 kick, but the scrappy nature of the match continued as Langi knocked on and the Tigers defence held out.

Cas kept working to get themselves on the scoreboard and they opened up the pitch nicely as Niall Evalds spread the play to the far side. Clare raced towards the line and flicked the ball to Olpherts out wide but the wing couldn’t catch it and knocked on.

Powell’s men were back on the front foot just a couple of minutes later after a six again call was given against Catalans. Cas decided to take the play to that right side again and this time it paid off as Olpherts slid over in the corner. Richardson did brilliantly to add the extras from out on the wing to close the scores to 6-14 with five minutes left to play.

Just moments from the end a penalty was given due to a Cas drop out not going 10 metres and Maloney duly took advantage and slotted his kick for the game to finish 6-16.


Full-time: Castleford Tigers 6–16 Catalans Dragons


Castleford: Evalds, Opherts, Clare, Shenton, Graham, Watts, Richardson, Smith, Milner, Griffin, Holmes, Foster, Massey

Interchanges: O’Neill, Hepi, Bienek, Hall

Tries: Yaha, Langi, Laguerre

Conversions: Maloney (1/3)

Penalties: Maloney (1/1)


Catalans: Mourgue, Laguerre, Langi, Whare, Yaha, Maloney, Drinkwater, Dudson, Da Costa, Bousquet, Jullien, McMeeken, Goudemand

Interchanges: Whitley, Belmas, Baitieri, Kasiano

Tries: Olpherts

Conversions: Richardson (1/1)

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