Huddersfield 12-50 Catalans: Frenchmen march on at Super League summit

Benjamin Jullien (15) of Catalans Dragons celebrates his try with Sam Tomkins (29) of Catalans Dragons

Catalans Dragons maintained their serene progress in Betfred Super League to strengthen their position at the top of the table with a crushing 50-12 win over a patched-up Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Stand-off James Maloney scored 22 points as the French team ran in eight tries to two and extended their winning run in the league to seven matches.

Coach Steve McNamara will be pleased with the ease with which they carved out a 10th win of the season – seven of which have come on English soil – but concerned over their indiscipline, with three players sin-binned.

It was a fourth successive defeat for the injury-hit Giants, who handed a debut to Will Pryce, the 18-year-old son of former Great Britain stand-off Leon Pryce, in the absence of three first-choice half-backs.

Both teams were also without each of their specialist hookers but they had notable stand-ins in Ashton Golding (Huddersfield) and Ben Garcia (Catalans), who both got among the tries.

The Catalans were boosted by the return of Sam Tomkins and Tom Davies from England duty, yet there was little to choose between the two sides in the early stages as they weighed each other up.

Maloney opened the scoring with a penalty after Giants prop James Gavet was pulled up for a late tackle and the visitors gradually began to assert their authority.

Benjamin Jullien comfortably won the race to touch down scrum-half Josh Drinkwater’s grubber kick after 18 minutes and his second row partner Mike McMeeken steamed onto Maloney’s pass to score the Catalans’ second try 10 minutes later.

The Dragons were on a roll and the pressure told four minutes before half-time when Tomkins chimed into the line to get centre Samisoni Langi over for their third try.

Maloney converted all three tries to put his side into an comfortable 20-0 lead at the break.

Huddersfield took advantage of the sin-binning of substitute Dragons forward Jason Baitieri following some persistent offending to score a try through Golding, who finished off a superb break by centre Jake Wardle.

Oliver Russell added the conversion but the Catalans were still down to 12 men when Garcia restored his side’s 20-point advantage, forcing his way over from dummy half for their fourth try.

Baitieri was still waiting to come back on when replacement hooker Arthur Mourgue pounced on a handling error by full-back Olly Ashall-Bott to score with his first touch.

And, as the Giants wilted, Tomkins won the race to Drinkwater’s delicate kick for a try and Maloney then ghosted his way through the home defence for the Dragons’ seventh try.

Huddersfield coach Ian Watson sent on Pryce after 62 minutes and the youngster quickly made his mark, slipping a nice pass out of the tackle for Wardle to score the home side’s second try, which was goaled by Russell.

The Catalans finished the game with 11 men after Drinkwater and prop Gil Dudson were both shown yellow cards by referee Ben Thaler for separate incidents of foul play, but still managed to create an overlap for Davies to score their final try, which Maloney converted to bring up the half-century.

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