Catalans Dragons 44
Tries: Gigot (3), Taia, Lima, Carney, Escare (2)
Goals: Inu 0/2, Bosc 6/6
Castleford Tigers 26
Tries: Carney, Holmes, Milner (2), Moors
Goals: Gale 3/5
Catalans Dragons eased to a 44-26 victory over Castleford Tigers despite playing 50 minutes of the game with 12 men following the dismissal of Ben Pomeroy.
Tony Gigot claimed a second hat-trick since his return to the Dragons in May and Morgan Escare scored a double as the French side moved off the foot of the Super 8s ladder.
It was a costly night for the Tigers, who lost Ashley Gibson and skipper Michael Shenton to what looked like serious injuries.
The defeat dents Cas’ top four aspirations as they remain two points off the play-off places with four games left.
Gigot started the scoring by diving over from close range for the hosts, who raced into a 20-0 lead in the opening 23 minutes.
On nine minutes back rower Zeb Taia scored his first try since Magic Weekend after taking a Todd Carney pass and powering over the line. Krisnan Inu failed with both conversions but Catalans held an 8-0 lead.
That lead was extended through Jeff Lima’s try seven minutes later; the former Wigan Warrior touched down despite three Tigers defenders in close attendance.
Thomas Bosc then sucked in three tacklers before offloading to Todd Carney to cross for his fourth Super League try. Bosc also took over kicking duties and put the Dragons into a commanding lead.
Then came Pomeroy’s sending off for a suplex-like throw on Gibson, which caused the winger to be stretchered off the field wearing a neck brace. Referee Ben Thaler showed Pomeroy his second red card in successive home games, and he can have few complaints.
When the game restarted Castleford reduced the arrears, a clever Luke Gale kick to the left wing was claimed by Justin Carney who scored his 63rd try in 62 appearances for the Tigers.
But that was about the only highlight of the half for Powell’s men, who never really got going. Escare restored the home side’s 20-point cushion with a try just before half-time. Taia’s offload hit the 23 year-old’s knees, ricocheting forward and the full-back had the poise and pace to collect the loose ball and run away to score.
Oliver Holmes posted the first points of the second half on the back of Justin Carney’s break, Shenton threw the final cut-out pass for the second rower to score in the corner.
Any hope of a Cas comeback was extinguished four minutes later through Gigot’s second try of the game. Todd Carney threw a superb long pass out to the left wing and the 24 year-old squeezed over in the corner.
It got worse for the visitors on 53 minutes when Shenton had to leave the field with a shoulder injury. The centre was attempting to run the ball out of his in goal area when Olivier Elima and Elliott Whitehead met him with thunderous tackles, curtailing the England international’s game, and possibly his season.
Hooker Adam Milner found himself playing out on the left wing as the Tigers reshuffled, and the 23 year-old chased down a Gale grubber into the corner to make the score 32-14.
Again, Catalans hit back soon after, this time with Gigot’s third try of the game. The former London Bronco intercepted Justin Carney’s attempted pass out to Mike McMeeken and strolled over with 20 minutes remaining.
Junior Moors grabbed his second try of the campaign with 10 minutes to play as both side’s began to tire in the warm conditions in Perpignan. Again, Gale provided the assist with an offload off the floor and the Samoa international powered over to cut the deficit to 18 points.
But for the third time in the second half, the Dragons replied with a try of their own three minutes later, Escare going over for his first two-try haul of the season. It came on the back of good work from Julien Bousquet and an Elima offload and took the Dragons over the 40-point mark for the first time in Super League since May.
Cas did have the last word, however, thanks to Milner’s second try of the night. Gale inevitably provided the killer pass but it served only to put a little gloss on the scoreline.
For the Dragons this was only their second win in the last seven games, but it did extend their run of home victories over the Tigers to six.
The result was a first defeat in three for Cas, who travel to Huddersfield in a fortnight’s time for a crucial showdown with the Giants in the race for the top four.
Man of the Match: Todd Carney – Combined really well with Thomas Bosc in the halves and caused the Tigers problems throughout. Capped off his display with a four-pointer himself as well as two assists.