The Catalans Dragons defeated Leeds Rhinos 26-22 in Perpignan. Here’s how the match unfolded.
Leeds remain bottom of Super League after being narrowly edged by Catalans.
Four tries from winger Fouad Yaha secured the two points for the Dragons whilst Rhinos winger Ash Handley scored a hat-trick.
Leeds began the game stronger, with two early tries from Ash Handley giving the visitors a surprise early lead, including a superb 90 metre effort.
The Dragons hit back with a Yaha try from a yard out before a fantastic move was finished off by Konrad Hurrell for the Rhinos’ third try.
Yaha clawed one more back before the first real turning point of the game. Rhinos back-rower Brett Ferres was sin-binned for a tackle with his knees, for which he may get a hefty suspension for. From there, Catalans used the extra man advantage to really take control of the game.
A Lucas Albert try and Tomkins conversion ended the first half at 16-16.
Handley completed his hat-trick in the second half with a score in the corner to put the Rhinos back in the lead. However, the missed conversion meant another Yaha try and Tomkins conversion put the Dragons back in front.
A Sutcliffe penalty would bring the scores level again before Yaha’s fourth try won it for Catalans.
The Leeds players looked dejected at the final whistle, having had a couple of chances to answer back ending in knock-ons from routine mistakes. Oledski’s fumble ended any hope of a Leeds comeback and Leeds once again showed an inability to win close games against a Catalans side who were not at their best.
Ferres’ discipline an issue once again
Second row Brett Ferres is no stranger to the sin bin and his tackle using his knees on Catalans’ Matt Whitley was very much deserving of the sin binning. This was a huge turning point and many at Leeds will be anxious to see what sort of punishment the RFL deem worthy.
Kasiano could be huge in Super League
Kasiano came off the bench and did not have much playing time, to be expected from a new signing, but gave an indication he could be one of the most dominant props in Super League. His sheer size is reason enough for this but paired with his ball carrying skills and the supporting cast around him, he could be a huge addition to this Catalans side, enhancing their huge pack even more.
Sutcliffe shines at six
Liam Sutcliffe was selected ahead of Tui Lolohea to play alongside Richie Myler in the halves for Leeds and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. His performance was nearly faultless and will surely have earned a repeat selection for next week’s game against Castleford. However. this raises the question of what David Furner will do with Lolohea, who has struggled to acclimatise to life in Super League.
Dragons keep on performing
This Catalans side offer much more optimism than their four wins and three losses would suggest. Even without stars Greg Bird and Michael McIlorum, their replacements stepped up and put in a solid effort to see off the Rhinos.
Catalans Dragons 26
Tries: Yaha 4, Albert
Goals: Tomkins 3
Drop Goals: n/a
Leeds Rhinos 22
Tries: Handley 3, Hurrell
Goals: Sutcliffe 3
Drop Goals: n/a
Catalans: Tomkins, Yaha, Langi, Wiliame, Tierney, Gigot, Smith, Casty, Albert, Bousquet, Edwards, Whitley, Goudemand
Interchanges: Da Costa, Maria, Baitieri, Kasiano
Leeds: Walker, Briscoe, Watkins, Hurrell, Handley, Sutcliffe, Myler, Peteru, Dwyer, Oledzki, Ferres, Smith, Merrin
Interchanges: Jones-Buchanan, Singleton, Holroyd, Parcell