The Giants of Huddersfield were slayed by the Dragons of Catalan as Simon Woolford’s side go down in Perpignan.
As both teams lost in their opening round fixtures, both were eager to get the two points on the board. As the home team, with players such as the latest Lance Todd trophy winner, Tony Gigot, as well as Super League stars Matty Smith, Mickey McIlorum and Sam Tomkins, you would have put your money on the Dragons getting off to the better and more comfortable start and that is exactly what happened.
It seemed that Sam Tomkins was controlling things from the back but after four minutes, Huddersfield began to heap pressure on Catalans’ backline. A clever chip-kick into the goal-line from centre Jordan Turner forced a Dragons drop out and it was off the back of that repeat set that Huddersfield opened the scoring. Youngster Isaac Farrell, playing as the 6, played it to new half, Matt Frawley, who dummied his way across the line.
From then, it was a good contest with end to end play. Catalans levelled up just short of the 17 minute mark. Brayden Williame latched onto a grubber kick from former Wiganer, McIlorum. It was then a rapid intake from Steve McNamara’s team. From the first tackle, Joe Wardle lost the ball, only for Williame to score his second. Tomkins converted to make it 12-6. Then, from a penalty, Tomkins then added two more points to put the Giants eight points behind. As the half drew to a close, there was still time for Lewis Tierney to go over, to make the half-time score 18-6.
The reigning Challenge Cup winners continued to dominate in the second 40 minutes. A try from Sam Tomkins pretty much put the game to bed, especially with a further two kicks. Matty Smith then put a stamp on the game with a drop goal, just after Oliver Roberts gave Huddersfield a consolation when he ran over in the 72nd minute. It was a solid Catalans win, one they can take into round 3.
Catalans seem to be clicking
After winning the Challenge Cup in 2018, Catalans have come into the 2019 season with a certain confidence that it looks like not many other teams have, besides Warrington it seems. With some champion players in the Dragons squad this year, they are sure to be up with the big boys battling for places in the right end of the league.
Tomkins added good sense of cohesion
Signing Sam Tomkins was a shrewd piece of business from the Catalans hierarchy. He looks to be a brilliant running and passing threat for the French outfit, who will help them incredibly in 2019.
Huddersfield have work to do
After a fantastic end to the 2018 season, finding their feet to finish 6th, many thought Huddersfield would sail into the 2019 season and stake a proper claim for the goods in the ‘new beginnings’ Super League season. This isn’t looking to be the case so far after two defeats from the opening two games.
Mamo looks a real loss to the Giants
Mamo was the go-to guy in the Huddersfield side, a consistent fullback now gone to Warrington. Although Darnell McIntosh is a fit replacement, he doesn’t have the experience and know-how that Mamo did. I see the Giants struggling without the Australian’s determination.
Catalans Dragons 27
Tries: Williame (2), Tierney, Tomkins
Goals: Tomkins (5)
Drop Goals: M. Smith (1)
Huddersfield Giants 10
Tries: Frawley, O. Roberts
Goals: Farrell (1)
Drop Goals: n/a
Catalans Dragons squad: Tomkins, Williame, Langi, Whitley, Tierney, Gigot, Smith, Casty, McILORUM, Moa, Edwards, Jullien, Simon.
Interchanges: Bousquet, Da Costa, Goudemand, Baitieri.
Huddersfield Giants squad: Grix, McIntosh, Turner, Wardle, U’ate, Farrell, Frawley, Lawrence, O’Brien, Matagi, Murphy, Mellor, English.
Interchanges: Leeming, Roberts, Ikahihifo, Walne.