After an astonishing comeback from Hull KR, Catalans snatch the win in Golden Point. Ben Guzdek reviews.
Tries: Yaha (4′, 50′), Whitley (15′), Laguerre (39′), Garcia (44′)
Goals: Maloney (4′, 15′, 40′, 44′)
Drop-Goals: Maloney (82′ GP)
Tries: Hall (27′, 56′, 71′), Lewis (55′), King (76′)
Goals: Abdull (55′, 71′ ,77′), Hall (56′)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
There was little hint of the drama to come when the Dragons scored from their first attack, with winger Fouad Yaha getting over the line in the fifth minute for the first of his two tries.
Ten minutes later Matthieu Laguerre made his mark when he offloaded to get second rower Matt Whitley over the line. Maloney’s conversion made it 12-0.
Ryan Hall opened his account for Rovers after 25 minutes, pouncing on a loose ball after the Catalans’ turned over the ball 40 metres out from their own line. Jordan Abdull failed with the conversion.
The Hull KR defence cracked again two minutes before half-time when the ever-dangerous Sam Tomkins put Laguerre over for his try, and Maloney’s third goal made it 18-4 at the break.
HALF-TIME: Catalan Dragons 16 Hull Kingston Rovers 4Embed from Getty Images
Even the presence on the sidelines of their stricken former team-mate Mose Masoe could not, it seemed, inspire Rovers, who saw the game slip further away from them after conceding two more tries within 10 minutes of the restart.
New captain Benjamin Garcia raced on to Josh Drinkwater’s clever grubber kick which bounced kindly and Yaha produced a strong finish for his second try after taking in Tomkins’ long pass.
That took the Catalans’ lead to a seemingly invincible 28-4 going into the break. Leaving Rovers with a tough job on their hands in the second-half.
Hull KR fought back into the game with tries to Mikey Lewis (54th minute) and Hall (56th minute). Abdull kicked both conversions to cut the deficit to 12 points.
The French side were reduced to 12 men with 14 minutes to go when prop Julien Bousquet was sin-binned for his part in a scuffle.
Five minutes later Hall chased Abdull’s kick to complete his hat-trick, and the when he converted his own try, six points separated the teams.
Catalans then lost Tomkins with a head injury, and Bousquet returned to the field in time to see George King plough through the Dragons’ defence to score his first try since the Challenge Cup final at Wembley in 2018.
Abdull’s fourth goal tied the scores and Rovers appeared to have the momentum going into Golden Point, only for substitute full-back Arthur Mourgue to come up with a break that created the position for Maloney to kick the match winner.
FULL-TIME: Catalan Dragos 29 – 28 Hull Kingston Rovers