Catalans Dragons recorded their second successive win as they eased past Huddersfield 29-22 on Wednesday night.
Following Friday’s win at Leigh, their first since round two, the Dragons doubled up to guarantee that they will still be in the top eight by Monday’s next round of matches.
Huddersfield had led with barely minutes left in the first half, only for Brayden Wiliame’s late converted try to give the Dragons a half-time lead they would never relinquish.
They were assisted by a 10 minute spell that saw Giants captain Danny Brough sent to the sin-bin for dissent, but despite a late flurry the hosts never looked like getting back into it and succumbed to a seventh game without a win.
The Giants were boosted by the presence of Jake Mamo, their close season signing from Newcastle Knights, who made his debut at full-back, while a depleted Dragons pack included teenager Lambert Belmas from the start.
It was a fairly turgid opening under the lights for the midweek encounter, brought forward to avoid possible pitch issues for Huddersfield Town football club.
Catalans came closest to opening the scoring in the first 10 minutes, Louis Anderson was held up on the last tackle after taking a short ball from dummy half by Paul Aiton, before Krisnan Inu should have scored when he got up highest to a Richie Myler kick, only to somehow knock on when scoring appeared easier.
They were made to pay for their impotence when on a free play following an attempted interception, Danny Brough’s kick left with the outside of his boot was batted down by Darnell McIntosh for Aaron Murphy to open the scoring.
The Dragons levelled things up on 20 minutes, Tony Gigot dancing through a failed tackle by Ryan Hinchcliffe, and that prompted a 10 minute spell where the only action of note were three 40-20 attempts that came close.
But Mamo, on debut, started to light up the John Smith’s Stadium and he kept the ball alive on the last tackle to enable Brough’s kick in goal to be taken dead by Richie Myler with Lee Gaskell lurking.
Such was the low tempo, it was perhaps a surprise when Brough declined the opportunity for a two pointer on 27 minutes when well placed, especially when they went on to bomb the chance wide left.
They did eventually get their second try, a Brough bomb on the last was fielded by Mamo, who kept the ball alive again with an offload and then re-joined the play later on to feed Sam Wood down the right, and though Wood made an odd decision to kick, he got away with it as a Catalans defender spilled the ball in-goal and Mamo pounced.
Huddersfield could have created a bit of breathing space when forward Oliver Roberts burst through the line, but a lack of support saw the chance go begging, and they were made to pay.
At the other end, Myler took a short pass to sprint through and he passed left to Wiliame, who had enough to slide over, Walsh converting to give the Frenchmen a 12-10 half-time lead.
Perhaps the game-breaking moment came 10 minutes into the second half. Inu fielded a kick in-goal and then took it 20 metres from the tap to give the Dragons a zero tackle just inside their own half. At the end of the set, it looked like Inu had ran it into the tackle, but he managed to get the ball out for Walsh, and his low kick was pounced on by Myler.
As Walsh waited to take the conversion, Brough was shown a yellow card for dissent and when the ball sailed through the uprights, the Giants found themselves two scores and one man down.
Catalans took advantage, and stretched their lead further through Vincent Duport, and then when Brough returned, his first touch was a sloppy pass that Walsh scooped up and took home for 30 metres to put the Dragons 28-10 to the good with 20 minutes to play.
Huddersfield briefly rallied and got a well-worked try through Jermaine McGillvary, after Brough had backed up Gaskell’s break, but they fell short, Catalans rubbing salt in the wounds with a late Tony Gigot drop goal.
Sam Wood bagged a late try for the home side, but the Dragons ran out deserved winners.
Huddersfield: Mamo, McGillvary, Wood, Murphy, McIntosh, Brough, Gaskell, Ikahihifo, Hinchcliffe, Wakeman, Symonds, Mellor, Clough. Interchanges: Rapira, Leeming, Roberts, Mason.
Catalans: Gigot, Thornley, Inu, Wiliame, Duport, Walsh, Myler, Moa, Aiton, Belmas, Anderson, Garcia, Casty. Interchanges: Bousquet, Bosc, Simon, Margalet.