Castleford Tigers 6 Catalans Dragons 16 - Miserable home run continues as Tigers lose again

CASTLEFORD TIGERS suffered a fourth successive home loss when they were beaten 16-6 by Betfred Super League leaders Catalans Dragons last night, but they gave a good account of themselves, particularly defensively.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 10:05 am
Unusual role: Castleford forward Liam Watts, was named at stand-off against Catalans. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Unusual role: Castleford forward Liam Watts, was named at stand-off against Catalans. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

With Jake Trueman, Gareth O’Brien and Jordan Turner missing through injury and Paul McShane and Peter Mata’utia, both possible stand-ins, on international duty, prop Liam Watts was named at stand-off.

That meant Tigers effectively played with one one half-back, Danny Richardson and they rarely asked serious questions of Catalans’ defence, despite a well-taken late consolation try.

Castleford created just one chance in the first half, when Michael Shenton was tackled into touch after a six-again and back to back penalties.

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No go: Tigers captain Michael Shenton is stopped by the Dragons defence. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

There was also a nice break up the middle by Olpherts, but Tigers spent the rest of the period nearer their line than Catalans’. They defended well though, restricting the visitors to two tries and were still in the game at the break, trailing 8-0.

Castleford had more pressure after half-time, but once Catalans – who had not won at the Jungle since 2012 – scored their third try there was no way back. It was a poor-quality game, but Tigers were spirited and defended solidly.

In the end, the difference between the sides was a couple of superb cut-out passes by Josh Drinkwater, to either wing and a highly dubious try which appeared to come after the ball had gone forward.

Considering Castleford had 11 players missing, due to injuries of international call-ups, they gave Catalans a much tougher game than might have been expected.

Closing in: Castleford's Danny Richardson looks for space. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The visitors went ahead after seven minutes in simple fashion when Foud Yaha skipped past Derrell Olpherts from Josh Drinkwater’s looping pass.

Dragons’ second try came on 20 minutes in controversial fashion when Mike McMeeken, playing against his former club for the first time, seemed to lose the ball forward and Samisoni Langi touched down.

Neither score was converted and Catalans missed two golden opportunities just before the interval, as Drinkwater knocked on a metre short, from Matt Whitley’s pass and then Arthur Mourgue got over the line from acting-half, but it was a double-movement.

A similar ruling went against Yaha early in the second half, but Matthieu Laguerre, on the other flank, extended Catalans’ lead on 54 minutes, from a similar Drinkwater pass to the one which created the opening score.

James Maloney converted from the touchline to put three scores between the sides and Castleford never looked like clawing that back, though their late consolation score was well-worked, Olpherts going over from a smart pass by Adam Milner. Catalans completed the scoring in the final moments when a Castleford drop out failed to go 10 metres and Maloney booted the penalty.

Substitute hooker Jacques O’Neill was helped off late on, which is another concern for Castleford with Wembley just three weeks away.

Castleford Tigers: Evalds, Olpherts, Clare, Shenton, Graham, Watts, Richardson, Smith, Milner, Griffin, Holmes, Foster, Massey. Subs O’Neill, Hepi, Bienek, Hall.

Catalans Dragons: Mourgue, Laguerre, Langi, Where, Yaha, Maloney, Drinkwater, Dudson, Da Costa, Bousquet, Jullien, McMeeken, Goudemand. Subs Whitley, Belmas, Baitieri, Kasiano.

Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).