Catalan Dragons caused a huge upset at the Halliwell Jones Stadium as they defeated Warrignton Wolves in an exciting game 22-20.
Both these teams went into the game with form that was poles apart. Warrington having previously won their last six games, Catalan had lost their previous five.
Clint Greenshields went off injured for the Catalan Dragons early on in the game, but that didn’t pour cold water on the French side’s spirits, as Scott Dureau intercepted Richie Myler’s pass. However referee Phil Bentham pulled the scrum half back, claiming the Dragons player knocked on as he collected the stray pass.
But the Dragons braved the Warrington storm and were able to post points on the board only moments later. Cyril Stacul dived over in the corner to bring the scores level as Joel Monaghan was left defending two players on his own.
But Joel Monaghan brought Warrington back into the game ten minutes later. His second try of the game brought Warrington back into the game, this time Brett Hodgson converted the try to make the scores 10-4.
But with five minutes until half time Catalan made the scores level. Rhys Evans’ knock on was collected by Frederic Vaccari, and whilst Chris Bridge tried in vein to chase down the Catalan winger it wasn’t enough and the scores were ten points apiece on the hooter.
The second half started better for the Wolves. Not only did they look stronger in attack, Chris Riley got his well deserved try after five minutes of the restart. Simple passing moves from David Solomona and Evans put Riley into space ten metres out. Hodgson’s crucial conversion was missed and despite looking stronger, Warrington were only four points ahead.
But as the second half wore on Catalan began to find weaknesses in the Wolves defence. David Ferriol found just the one close to the three quarter mark. He burst through a lacklustre defence to score close to the goalposts. Scott Durea’s conversion nudged the Dragons ahead.
But with fifteen minutes left to play, Richie Myler looked like he had found the magic spark to regain the lead for the home side. His dummy pass fooled every Catalan defender on the try line, and Myler stepped the fullback to put the ball cleanly on the whitewash.
But all thought of an undeserved win for the Wolves soon evaporated when Scott Dureau scored on the 70th minute. Once again it came from a Warrington mistake. Lee Briers’ high kick was knocked back by a chasing Myler, but the ball fell into the hands of Dureau who sprinted 55 metres to draw level. He converted his own try to keep the Dragons’ noses ahead.
Warrington did their best to snatch back the victory. They won the scrum against the feed with four minutes left, only for Paul Wood gift possession to Catalan two tackles later.
And with a minute left, a Catalan forced drop out look to seal it for the French side. However, having regained possession from a penalty when Adrian Morley was held back in a marker position, Ian Henderson was sin binned for deliberately delaying the restart.
Less than 20 seconds remained on the clock, and after the Wolves kicked deep they had one tackle left to snatch the game. They threw the ball from one side of the field to the other. Briers’ long pass found Myler, who found Hodgson in support, and he made a break that lifted the roof of the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
But it wasn’t to be for the Wolves. Catalan defence soon closed him down short of the line, and Hodgson’s offload to Joel Monaghan didn’t stick for the Australian international.
The Dragons hung on to cause the biggest upset of Super League this season.
Warrington: Hodgson, J Monaghan, Bridge, Riley, Briers, Myler, Morley, M Monaghan, Carvell, Grix, Blythe, Clarke. Subs: Wood, Higham, Solomona, Cooper.
Tries: J Monaghan (2), Riley, Myler.
Goals: Hodgson (2)
Catalan: Greenshields, Vaccari, Baile, Millard, Stacul, Farrar, Dureau, Ferriol, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Raguin, Mounis. Subs: Simon, Martins, Baitieri, Peilssier.
Tries: Stacul, Vasccari, Ferriol, Dureau.
Goals: Dureau (3)
Attendance: 10, 956
Referee: Phil Bentham