Ben Guzdek reviews the second semi-final between Saints and Catalan where the victor will play Wigan at Old Trafford in the Grand Final.
|6th||Penalty Goal: James Maloney. (Catalan)||Saints 0-2 Catalan|
|14th||Try: Lachlan Coote. Conversion: Coote. (Saints)||Saints 6-2 Catalan|
|21st||Penalty Goal: Coote. (Saints)||Saints 8-2 Catalan|
|31st||Try: Kevin Naiqama. Conversion: Coote. (Saints)||Saints 14-2 Catalan|
|42nd||Try: Naiqama. (Saints)||Saints 18-2 Catalan|
|52nd||Try: Coote. Conversion: Coote. (Saints)||Saints 24-2 Catalan|
|57th||Try: Jonny Lomax. Conversion: Coote. (Saints)||Saints 30-2 Catalan|
|66th||Try: James Bentley. Conversion: Coote. (Saints)||Saints 36-2 Catalan|
|70th||Try: Naiqama. Conversion: Coote. (Saints)||Saints 42-2 Catalan|
|75th||Try: Regan Grace. Conversion: Coote. (Saints)||Saints 48-2 Catalan|
It was a ferocious game which saw Catalans take a narrow early lead. James Maloney intercepted an offload and Alex Walmsley was penalised for a high tackle, before Maloney kicked the Dragons into a 2-0 lead after five minutes.
Maloney was then given a yellow card for a high tackle around the neck of Regan Grace in the 12th minute. Saints capitalised instantly; James Roby dropped the shoulder and went for the line, before unselfishly offloading to Lachlan Coote who went over to score. He converted his own try, giving Saints a 6-2 lead after 15 minutes.
Catalan were then penalised for failing to get set for the restart five minutes later, and Coote added two more with a penalty, making it 8-2.
Saints scored again in the 31st minute through Kevin Naiqama on the back of a penalty in their own half, which ultimately lead to a quick break with Tommy Makinson feeding the ball to his Fijian centre who went over to score. Coote added the extras, extending the lead to 14-2.
Naiqama got his second two minutes into the second half after Coote produced a brilliant kick on the deck off balance after some great initiative seeing the opposition full back out of position. Makinson kicked on further and Naiqama went over to make it 18-2. Coote hit the post with the conversion, meaning the score remained the same.
Coote went over for his second in the 51st minute after more good play by Saints. Jonny Lomax finding Zeb Taia who brilliantly tapped the ball back to our full back who went over unchallenged. He added his own conversion, making it 24-2 with 52 minutes on the clock.
Lomax extended the lead himself in the 55th minute after a great offload by Coote to find youngster Jack Welsby. He found the supporting Lomax who strolled in. Coote kicked the conversion, leaving the score at 30-2.
James Bentley got on the scoreboard in the 65th minute, Roby once again the orchestrator moving between the challenges before offloading to Bentley to score on the back of a yellow card for the Dragons. Coote added the extras, making it 36-2.
Naiqama then got his hat-trick on 70 minutes with a length of the field run after intercepting a wayward pass. The flying Fijian showed great pace to go the full length of the field to get his third. Coote converted, topping up the score and making it 42-2.
Grace followed on from his teammate in the 74th minute, collecting a long kick into the corner before running the length of the pitch to score Saints’ eighth of the match, which Coote converted to make it 48-2 and Saints are off to another Grand Final!
Unfortunately James Graham could’ve played his last ever game after failing his head assessment during the first half.
Although Saints secure their Grand Final spot against their fierce rivals Wigan, will he get his chance for a fairytale ending under the floodlights of KCOM Stadium?
If so it would be a great individual battle between fellow Rugby League veteran Sean O’Loughlin, who is also hanging up his boots at the Grand Final. Only time will tell.
Saints: Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Jack Welsby, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, James Graham, Zeb Taia, James Bentley, Morgan Knowles.
Interchanges: Dominique Peyroux, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Matty Lees, Kyle Amor.
Catalan: Sam Tomkins, David Mead, Samisoni Langi, Israel Folau, Tom Davies, James Maloney, Josh Drinkwater, Remi Casty, Matt Whitley, Benjamin Garcia, Sam Moa, Alrix Da Costa, Julian Bousquet.
Interchanges: Mickael Simon, Paul Seguier, Jason Baitieri, Sam Kasiano.