Warrington registered a ninth successive win to go top of the Super League table with a 30-16 win over Catalans.
Danny Walker’s try three minutes from time finally made the points safe after a plucky effort by the Dragons, who had suffered an arduous day of travelling after their plane was made to leave from Toulouse due to high winds in Perpignan, meaning they only landed in Liverpool less than two hours before kick-off.
The French side led 12-6 shortly before half-time, only for Warrington’s livewire full-back Matty Ashton to score virtually on the hooter to level things up, a crucial moment in the context of the match.
Lively centre Anthony Gelling got the game’s first try on eight minutes, finishing a wonderful break that started with a Mike Cooper offload in midfield. That released Blake Austin through a gap and when he found Jake Mamo, the winger kept the ball alive for Gelling to power over.
It was a fairly even and entertaining battle of minds in the first half, and it took a brotherly link-up between Joel and Sam Tomkins to create the Dragons’ first score, the latter’s cut out pass enabling their former Wigan team-mate Tom Davies to slide over in the right corner.
Catalans, still licking their wounds from their golden point defeat in the Challenge Cup to Salford last week, hit the front when Samisoni Langi powered over on the left on 33 minutes, and it looked like they would take in to half-time, until some soft defending enabled Gareth Widdop to find space, his left-foot kick through picked up by Ashton and there was no stopping him taking it under the posts for 12-12 at the break.
Matty Davis powered his way over five minutes after the restart to give the Wolves a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, and they were able to keep the visitors at arm’s length.
A lovely try shortly before the hour doubled Warrington’s advantage, as Austin linked up with Ben Murdoch-Masila and Ashton to latch on to an inside ball for a training ground move that was well appreciated by the sprinkling of officials and stewards in the crowd, with Widdop converting for 24-12.
But an offload by Israel Folau set Davies away shortly after, and although he was pulled down, the ball found its way left and Fouad Yaha crossed in the corner to keep Catalans interested, but they couldn’t break the Wolves down, though it was only when Walker scored late that the hosts could be sure of the win.
Warrington: Ashton, Mamo, Gelling, King, Charnley, Austin, Widdop, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Clark. Subs: Philbin, Murdoch-Masila, Davis, Walker.
Tries: Gelling, Ashton, Davis, Austin, Walker. Goals: Widdop 5
Catalans: S Tomkins, Davies, Langi, Folau, Yaha, Maloney, Drinkwater, Casty, McIlorum, Moa, Whitley, J Tomkins, Garcia. Subs: Secuier, Goudemand, Baitieri, Belmas.