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Two of Super League’s form sides met at the Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan as the Catalans Dragons welcomed the league leading and unbeaten St Helens to play a game in front of a thousand Dragons supporters, the first time fans had been allowed into the ground since last September.

Saints were the favourites for their seventh win of the 2021 season, but the Dragons were old given a six-point start on the coupon as a competitive game was forecast.

The Dragons knew that they would need to start brightly to avoid the thrashing that they had suffered in their last two encounters with the Saints but with Sam Tomkins and Samisoni Langi both being withdrawn after the warm-up, Steve McNamara was forced into some potentially unsettling team changes very close to kick-off.

Kevin Naiqama had a seemingly good try ruled out by the referee on seven, without consulting the video official, as he scored spectacularly in the right corner. A video slow-motion validated the decision as the Saints winger clearly had a foot in touch.

On twelve it was the Dragons who got the scoreboard moving when James Maloney kicked a fifteen-metre penalty goal for a 2-0 lead.

On twenty-two the Dragons made full use of a penalty when Maloney threw the dummy and dipped the shoulder to run in the try on the second tackle and make it 6-0. He added the conversion to his own try to increase the punishment for Saints indiscretion.

Saints had their chances, none clearer than ninety seconds from the interval when Naiqama was denied by a forward pass, but it was a late tackle on Theo Fages that allowed Saints to get back within six of their hosts when Lachlan Coote kicked the two pointer in the half time hooter.

A minute after the restart Regan Grace lost the ball inside his own ten metre zone and a sensational pick up and back handed pass from Mike McMeeken into the hands of Dean Whare allowed a walk-in try. Maloney added the conversion for a twelve-point lead.

Saints fist four-pointer came on fifty minutes when Mark Percival took a Coote short pass to crash over from five metres out. Coote pulled his kick wide of the posts, Saints still eight adrift.

Benjamin Jullien was over on fifty-five as the Dragons refused to yield to the Saints. Great hands gave Jullien space to throw the dummy and drop the right shoulder to coast in for the Dragons third try of the afternoon. Maloney added the extras to open a fourteen-point lead with just over twenty minutes left on the clock.

Three consecutive penalties conceded by the Dragons gifted Saints position and possession on seventy and on the third tackle Percival found a gap to bust the Catalans line for his second of the game.  Coote added the conversion from wide, the lead narrowed to eight points with nine minutes remaining.

The Dragons were forced to drop out from under their own sticks with five remaining and four tackles in Grace managed to duck under the defenders to get the ball to ground, taking a knock to the head for his trouble. Coote couldn’t add the conversion, Saints still four adrift with three minutes remaining.

Saints knocked-on as they tried to force the pass and chase the win and back in possession the Dragons managed to run the clock down by keeping hold of the ball. The handover happened with thirty seconds remaining but the clock ran down to sound a Dragons win.

This was a vital win for the Dragons, and a disappointing loss for the Saints. The Dragons are now level on win-percentage with the Champions as Wigan go top thanks to their slender win at Salford earlier in the day. Saints have dropped to second spot but even this early in the season it is looking like Catalans are justified contenders for the 2021 crown alongside Saints and Wigan.

Catalans Dragons: Mourgue, Yaha, Laguerre, Whare (T), Davies, Drinkwater, Maloney (T, 4G), Bousquet, McIlorum, Dudson, Jullien (T), McMeeken, Garcia. Subs: Dezaria, Goudemand, Tomkins J, Kasiano.

St Helens: Coote (2G), Naiqama, Percival (2T), Welsby, Grace (T), Lomax, Fages, Paasi, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Mata’utia, Thompson, Knowles. Subs: Walmsley, Amor, Batchelor, Dodd.

Half-Time: 8-2.

Full-Time: 20-16.

Referee: Rob Hicks.

Score Progression: 2-0, 6-0, 8-0, 8-2 : HT : 12-2, 14-2, 14-6, 18-6, 20-6, 20-10, 20-12, 20-16  : FT.




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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 22nd May 2021 6:55 PM | Views : 6521 | Replies : 1 | BACK TO STORIES
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This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
National Rugby League 2021 ROUND : 14
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Penrith 14 418 133 285 24
Melbourne 13 430 162 268 22
Parramatta 13 360 212 148 20
Souths 13 341 282 59 20
Sydney 13 379 223 156 18
Manly 13 315 282 33 14
 
St.George 13 293 284 9 12
NQL Cowboys 13 264 383 -119 12
NZ Warriors 12 265 305 -40 10
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Wests 13 280 334 -54 10
Gold Coast 14 318 380 -62 10
Canberra 13 257 321 -64 10
Newcastle 14 231 366 -135 10
Brisbane 14 232 436 -204 6
Canterbury 12 134 360 -226 2
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Super League XXVI ROUND : 9
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Catalans 9 268 142 126 16 188.73 88.89
St.Helens 8 206 70 136 14 294.29 87.50
Wigan 8 158 136 22 14 116.18 87.50
Warrington 9 302 157 145 13 192.36 72.22
Hull FC 9 179 143 36 11 125.17 61.11
Hull KR 9 223 204 19 10 109.31 55.56
 
Castleford 9 185 232 -47 8 79.74 44.44
Leeds 8 150 136 14 6 110.29 37.50
Huddersfield 8 150 162 -12 6 92.59 37.50
Wakefield 9 163 231 -68 4 70.56 22.22
Salford 9 106 289 -183 2 36.68 11.11
Leigh 9 134 322 -188 0 41.61 0
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
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Toulouse 6 291 58 233 12 501.72 100
Featherstone 7 262 76 186 14 344.74 100
Bradford 8 228 172 56 14 132.56 87.50
Batley 7 204 140 64 10 145.71 71.43
LondonB 8 202 194 8 9 104.12 56.25
Halifax 8 241 129 112 8 186.82 50
 
York 8 213 150 63 8 142 50
Sheffield 9 211 249 -38 8 84.74 44.44
Widnes 8 204 239 -35 7 85.36 43.75
Dewsbury 7 103 171 -68 6 60.23 42.86
Whitehaven 8 140 254 -114 5 55.12 31.25
Oldham 9 134 330 -196 4 40.61 22.22
Newcastle 7 132 216 -84 3 61.11 21.43
Swinton 8 122 309 -187 0 39.48 0
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Workington 5 180 94 86 8 191.49 80
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LeedsW 3 214 22 192 6 972.73 100
WiganW 3 158 18 140 6 877.78 100
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YorkW 3 76 102 -26 2 74.51 33.33
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BradfordW 4 60 180 -120 2 33.33 25
Wire W 3 42 146 -104 0 28.77 0
WakefieldW 3 16 172 -156 0 9.30 0
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