Eighth-placed Catalans Dragons are eighty-minutes from an unlikely appearance in the engage Super League Grand Final after a defiant defensive performance shut out the Huddersfield Giants challenge.
Inspired by the breaks of full back, Clint Greenshields, and exhibiting solid team defence the Dragons were in formidable form, which will see them give anyone a run for their money in the elimination semi-finals.
Trailing 6-4 after three quarters, speedy winger, Demitri Pelo, edged the Dragons into the lead on 62 minutes, chasing down his own kick in-goal to score in the left corner. The score came on the back of incisive breaks by Casey McGuire and Adam Mogg that took the Dragons deep into the tiring Giants’ 20. Thomas Bosc’s touchline conversion gave the visitors a 10-6 lead.
Oliver EIima put the seal on a famous victory when he crossed at left centre from close range on70 minutes. Bosc’s conversion put the visitors 16-6 ahead and broke the Giants’ hearts.
This after the Giants spurned the chance to convert a straight-forward penalty on 53-minutes, which would have extended their lead, instead they squandered the possession with a loose pass. The penaty came after the first in a series of flash points as the game became increasingly bad-tempered after defences domintated the first three-quarters of a gripping contest.
Brent Hodgson’s conversion after Luke Robinson’s jinking 30-metre run saw the scrum half touch down between the posts had given the Giants a 6-4 half time. Although Greenshields looked to have cancelled out that score moments later when he returned Brett Hodgson’s kick 50 metres for the score, only for it to be ruled out. The video referee, Pat Bentham, ruling that Touxegas had impeded Brett Hodgson as he turned to give chase.
Dragons’ coach, Kevin Walters, stoked-up the heat on opposite number, Nathan Brown, during the week preceding this game, accusing the Giants’ of employing wrestling tactics to slow down the ruck play and imploring the referee to keep a close eye on it.
It was a tactic that seemed set to pay off as referee, Steve Ganson, put both teams on warning inside the opening quarter of the game. And having soaked up the Giants early pressure Catalans strike back to take a 4-0 lead on the 20th minute when Greenshields forced his way over at the right corner.
Greenshields and Pelo had earlier combined to thwart the Giants best scoring chance, smothering winger Leroy Cudjoe, when he looked a certain scorer in the opposite right corner.
Huddersfield welcomed back Keith Mason and Scott Moore after their club suspension, but lost James Lolesi in the first minute of the game after the centre was knocked-out tackling Oliver Elima.
Huddersfield Giants: 1 B Hodgson, 21 Cudjoe, 11 Lolesi, 19 Lawrence, 5 D Hodgson, 4 Whaturia, 7 Robinson, 16 Mason, 20 Moore, 33 Sculthorpe, 14 Finnegan, 6 Fulton, 13 Wild,
Subs: 8 Crabtree, 10 Griffin, 12 Raleigh, 9 Faiumu
T: Robinson (35)
G: B Hodgson 1/1
Catalans Dragons: 1 Greensheilds, 18 DuPort, 11 Raguin, 15 Phillipe Baille,5 Pelo, 4 Mogg, 6 Bosc, 23 Ryles, 9 McGuire, 10 Guisset, 16 Elima, 17 Gossard, 26 Bird
Subs: 8 Ferriol, 14 Carlaw, 19 Touxegas, 24 Casty
T: Greenshields (20), Pelo (62), Elima (70)
G: Bosc 2/3
20 Greenshields try 0-4
35 Robinson try, B Hodgson goal 6-4
62 Pelo try, Bosc goal (1/2) 6-10
70 Elima try, Bosc goal (2/3) 6-16
Referee: Steve Ganson