Ben Pomeroy saw red for the second game in succession and Tony Gigot and Todd Carney inspired the Catalans Dragons as they dented Castleford’s top four hopes with a 44-26 victory.
Pomeroy, sent from the field two weeks ago against St Helens, saw red for a dangerous throw on the unfortunate Ashley Gibson who landed on his neck and was taken to a local hospital for checks where he was diagnosed with whiplash.
It was a backs to the wall win for the Dragons. The Tigers did not help their own cause, though, and their indiscipline saw them concede 11 penalties throughout the game.
As Carney pulled the strings, Gigot helped himself to a hat-trick as Castleford wilted in the humid conditions. Castleford arrived in Perpignan buoyed by recent wins over Hull FC and Warrington Wolves in the Super 8s thus far but were hugely disappointing as the Dragons raced into an early lead.
Gigot raced onto Morgan Escare’s short ball to step his way to the line before Zeb Taia charged over the top of Liam Finn to extend the hosts’ lead. Krisnan Inu missed both conversions to see the Catalans lead 8-0. It got worse for the Tigers, Jeff Lima and Carney both touching down before Pomeroy’s indiscretion on 28 minutes. A minute later Castleford marked their first try of the game, Justin Carney collecting Luke Gale’s kick to bring the Tigers back into the game. Gale added the conversion to take the score to 20-6.
Morgan Escare raced over from 80 metres out to settle the Catalans nerves in the closing seconds of the first half.
Castleford refused to go away and opened the scoring in the second half, Oliver Holmes racing in at the corner before Catalans scored the try of the game, an inch-perfect 30-metre pass from Carney sending Gigot in for his second try.
A neat Gale kick to the left corner saw Adam Milner race in at the corner to keep Castleford in the game however, Gigot’s hat-trick try on 62 minutes secured the points for the home side, intercepting Carney’s wide pass to race over from 40 metres out.
With nine minutes remaining Junior Moors powered his way over from Gale’s pass, but this was cancelled out by Escare’s second try of the game after an offload by Elima.
Castleford did have the final say of the game, Milner scoring his second in the left corner with three minutes remaining.
Speaking after the game, Tigers’ coach Powell said: “We had such a poor start and had too many people off (their game). Catalans were excellent and fully deserved to be 20-0 in front before we even looked like scoring.
“Performance-wise we were really off. Catalans played some good rugby from the start and really put us on the back foot from the start.
“If you don’t get a good start here then it is always tough. I still thought we could win at half-time. It was obviously tough for both sides today with them having a man sent off and us losing players through injuries.”
After seeing his side win with 12 men, Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous said: “I’m always happy when we win, and to get the two points we showed some character out there tonight.
“I challenged the boys before the game and gave them two options: either they could keep training all the way through this week and not have any time off this week, or they could show desire and effort and earn a few days off.
“They showed today that they have the fire and desire.
“Going into the Super 8s I wanted us to challenge every team and be hard to beat. So far we have done that and we want to keep on improving and lay a platform for the start of next season.”
Catalans Dragons: Escare; Inu, Gigot, Pomeroy, Sigismeau; T Carney, Bosc; Elima, Pelissier, Lima, Taia, Whitehead, Baitieri. Subs (all used): Henderson, Anderson, Garcia, Bousquet.
Castleford Tigers: Roberts; Gibson, Channing, Shenton, J Carney; Finn, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Millington, O Holmes, McMeeken, Massey. Subs (all used): Cook, Moors, Springer, McShane.
Referee: Ben Thaler.