Catalans Dragons 41 Castleford Tigers 22: Powell draws positives from defeat by Catalans

Joel Monaghan
Joel Monaghan
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Catalans Dragons made it a double over the Easter period as they beat Castleford 41-22 in Perpignan.

Having won at Salford on Friday, Catalans ran in seven tries to see off an under-manned Castleford, who themselves had seen off Leeds in their last outing.

The impressive Todd Carney scored twice for Catalans, as did Morgan Escare on his first appearance of the season.

Backing up from their gruelling win over Leeds was always going to be tough for the Tigers and so it proved.

Carney’s long pass to Jodie Broughton got them going for the afternoon, the winger pushing aside Jy Hitchcox to score in the corner.

Castleford did respond, Luke Gale’s grubber kick sitting up for Greg Minikin who did the rest, but Louis Anderson’s 15-metre dart to the line kept the home side in command.

A third home try followed as Carney scooped up a loose ball to go the distance, leaving Minikin in his wake, but quick scores from first Minikin and then Joel Monaghan kept Castleford in it.

However, the pressure of the home side would prove too much and just before the break Vincent Duport’s offload found Escare, who nipped in to mark his first game of the year in style.

Cas lost the free-scoring Denny Solomona to injury at half-time and were then handed a further blow as Escare rounded Ryan Hampshire to extend his side’s lead.

In the heat of the South of France, the Tigers were trying to keep pace but when Glenn Stewart stripped Hitchcox of possession it led to Carney spying a hole which he went through for his second, and effectively put the game beyond the visitors.

Hooker Paul Aiton then went in off Thomas Bosc’s flick, but to Castleford’s credit they at least kept going and were rewarded for their spirit when Monaghan snagged his 150th try in the English game late on.

Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell was left ruing crucial errors that cost his side dear in the end.

“We tried to move them around a bit and put some fatigue in their legs which I thought we did pretty well,” he said.

“But on the back of that we made some errors on our try line and we weren’t effective enough.

“Obviously we’re disappointed but the squad we have out here is pretty busted and short of so many players.”

Powell remained upbeat despite the defeat and praised some of his younger squad members who had been forced to play against the Catalans.

“We had some young players out there today who did a good job for us so I’m pretty proud of the effort against Leeds and Catalans over this period,” he said.

“We’re down on some pretty key troops so it’s been tough going but we’ve done ok out of it.”

Dragons boss Laurent Frayssinous said: “That’s six points in a row for us now.

“We spoke about how important this period is for us and how some teams can move up to the top and some teams can fall down to the bottom, we’re putting in the type of performances that are pushing us towards the top and that’s pleasing.”

The Dragons moved up to fourth place on points difference despite wins for Hull FC and St Helens.

Catalans Dragons: Escare, Broughton, Gigot, Duport, Yaha, Carney, Bosc, Taylor, Pelissier, Bousquet, Anderson, Stewart, Mounis. Subs: Aiton, Casty, Baitieri, Mason.

Castleford: Solomona, Monaghan, Crooks, Minikin, Hitchcox, Hampshire, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Boyle, Webster, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: Millington, McShane, Maher, T. Holmes.

Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL).