Catalans Dragons have moved above Leigh into fourth after a tough 26-12 Qualifiers victory against a brave Featherstone Rovers side in Perpignan.
In a scrappy match, which saw four players sin-binned, the Dragons took control of the game in the final quarter with the match in the balance for 65 minutes.
It was a good day for the French side with both Widnes and Leigh losing, giving them the opportunity to try seal a top three finish and avoid the Million Pound Game with two games left.
However, a bigger victory could have seen them leap-frog Widnes into third but they struggled against a very impressive Featherstone outfit.
Catalans took the lead inside five minutes as Luke Walsh and Richie Myler combined to put Krisnan Inu through a gap, the centre able to ground the ball under pressure.
Ill discipline has been an issue for the Dragons all season and that continued when Benjamin Garcia was sin-binned minutes later for an ugly challenge on Scott Turner.
That gave Featherstone a lift and they hit back when Sam Brooks collected a neat offload close to the line, Kyran Johnson adding the extras to level the scores at 6-6.
Still down to 12 men, the home side took the opportunity to kick a penalty through Luke Walsh to edge them ahead and back to the full compliment, they registered their second try when Brayden Williame latched onto a Walsh kick down the left.
Now looking in control, Catalans extended their lead when Garcia made up for his earlier misdemeanour with a show and go from dummy half to catch Rovers’ defence napping.
Leading 18-6, Steve McNamara’s team turned down the opportunity to go for two just before the break and they were made to pay for it as from the resulting set Scott Turner intercepted a Luke Walsh pass and ran 70 metres, he was caught by Myler but offloaded to Anthony Thackeray who touched down under the posts.
Johnson converted his second successful goal and John Duffy’s side trailed by only six at the break with the score 18-12 in the French sides favour.
The second half started in scrappy fashion with both teams untidy around the ruck and unable to take hold of the game.
As we approached the end of the third quarter Louis Anderson and Luke Briscoe were both sent to the sin-bin after exchanging punches and then Rovers were reduced to 11 when Keal Carlile hit Walsh late.
Inu kicked the resulting penalty and the win was sealed moments later as Sam Moa crashed onto a Walsh pass to slide over, with Inu adding the conversion to make it 26-12.
That was the last of the points as Catalans got an ugly but much-needed victory against a brave Featherstone side.
Catalans: Tierney, Duport, Inu, Williame, Yaha, Walsh, Myler, Moa, Da Costa, Casty, Anderson, Horo, Garcia. Interchange: Bousquet, Baitieri, Albert, Margalet.
Featherstone: Johnson, Briscoe, Hardcastle, Taulapapa, Turner, Thackeray, Wildie, Brooks, Carlile, Mariano, Farrell, Davies, Lockwood. Interchange: Tagg, Cooper, Walters, Igbinedion.