Dragons’ Aussie bad-boy, Greg Bird, inspired the Catalans to an epic victory over the Saints to secure their playoff place and a first ever win at the GPW Recruitment Stadium.
Bird provided the organisation and game management sorely lacking from a lacklustre Saints seemingly feeling the effects of last week’s titanic clash with Leeds; the Dragons were sharper all round.
Dimitri Pelo swooped to score the first try, completing a sweeping eighty metre move initiated by Bird.
Although Saints hit back through a Puletua try on 14-minutes it was against the run of play and it was soon cancelled out.
Casey McGuire’s crash-ball score on 24 minutes put the Catalans into the lead again, with the Bulls, chief challengers for eighth place trailing 6-0 at Hull FC.
A Bosc penalty after the restart edged Catalans further ahead as Saints continued to rely on individual flashes of brilliance to make ground. Handling errors left them little chance to build pressure.
Tries from Jean-Phillipe Baile and Clint Greenshields both down the Dragons left flank to the corner and both converted by Bosc put the visitors firmly in control at 22-6.
A late consolation try from Saints skipper, Keiron Cunningham, was scant reward for the home fans as they endured a fourth home loss of the season.
Saints drafted Jake Emmitt and Jonny Lomax into the seventeen defeated 18-10 at Leeds last Friday. Teenager, Lomax, replaced experienced veteran, Paul Wellens, at fullback, with Bryn Hargreaves starting in place of James Graham at prop and Emmitt taking Hargreaves place on the bench.
The most notable absentee from Catalans was 19-year veteran back row forward, Jason Croker, who now looks to have played his last game after picking up an ankle injury last weekend.
30 Lomax, 2 Gardner, 3 Gidley, 11 Gilmour, 5 Meli, 6 Pryce, 7 Long, 15 Hargreaves, 9 Cunningham, 16 Puletua, 12 Wilkin, 13 Flannery, 17 Clough Subs 14 Roby, 18 Eastmond, 23 Fa’asavalu, 31 Emmitt Fulton, 13 Wild, 9 Faiumu
T: Puletua (14), Cunningham (72)
G: Lomax 1/1, Eastmond 1/1
1 Greenshields, 18 Duport, 15-Phillipe Baile, 11 Raguin, 5 Pelo, 4 Mogg, 6 Bosc, 10 Guisset, 9 McGuire, 23 Ryles, 16 Elima, 17 Gossard, 26 Bird Subs: 8 Ferriol, 19 Touxagas, 24 Casty, 27 Martins
T: Pelo (4), McGuire (24), Baile (57), Greenshields (67)
G: Bosc 4/5
4 Dimitri Pelo try Thomas Bosc miss (0/1) 0-4
14 Tony Puletua try, Jonny Lomax goal 1/1 6-4
24 Casey McGuire try 6-8 Thomas Bosc goal 1/2 6-10
44 Thomas Bosc goal 2/3 6-12
57 Jean-Phillipe Baile try, Thomas Bosc goal 3/4 6-18
66 Clint Greenshields try, Thomas Bosc 4/5 6-24
72 Keiron Cunningham try 12-24
Referee: B Thaler
Players of note:
- Greg Bird. Organiser and prompter.
- James Roby. Tried really hard.
Saints’ coach, Mick Potter:
Dragons’ coach, Kevin Walters,