Catalans Dragons took on Leeds Rhinos tonight at the Stade Gilbert Brutus live on Sky Sports.
And, in just the tenth minute there was already controversy with Aidan Sezer’s try ruled out for a double movement.
Sky Sports analyst Jon Wells explained why it was a try after video referee Ben Thaler denied the Leeds halfback a four-pointer.
“There is a difference between promoting the ball and moving as part of the tackle. He’s gone from full flight, chopped down by Tomkins and the ball carrying arm has hit the floor and there is only one way to go,” Jon Wells said.
It began to get feisty with Mitchell Pearce sent to the sinbin for running in after James Bentley and Michael McIlorum had a fracas on the floor.
However, it was the Dragons with the first points of the game after Bentley was found offside with Sam Tomkins notching a penalty goal for a 2-0 lead.
And, Tomkins was on target on the half-hour mark when Leeds were again found offside to make it 4-0.
That seemed to spur the visitors on, however, and Liam Sutcliffe finished off his own break after playing a one-two with Richie Myler. Zak Hardaker converted for a 6-4 lead.
It got even better for Leeds when Sutcliffe grabbed his second from a Sezer kick as they led 12-4 at the break.
Catalans, however, pegged the visitors back instantly after the break, crossing through Dean Whare after he leapt through the air like a salmon to catch Pearce’s pinpoint kick.
12-10 down and once more the Dragons were down to 12 men when Michael McIlorum was sent to the sinbin on the hour for a high tackle on Bentley.
And that gave Leeds the impetus to cross once more as Sutcliffe grabbed a superb hat-trick. Hardaker’s conversion made it 18-10 with the French side needing to score twice to win.
Gil Dudson was then sent off for the Dragons for a headbutt on Sezer, with Pearce then being sinbinned for a second twice after mouthing off at referee Child.
From that penalty, Hardaker added the two points to round off the scoring at 20-10.
James Bentley and Gil Dudson going toe to toe was great to watch.
Liam Sutcliffe carving Catalans up down the middle.
Dean Whare’s catch for his try from a Mitchell Pearce kick was like an Olympic gymnast.
1. Video referee ruling
Aidan Sezer’s disallowed try was a weird one. Within the framework of the rules, it was the correct decision by video referee Ben Thaler as Sezer’s arm had hit the floor. However, the Leeds man bounced back up and over the line in one movement and it looked a perfectly good try, only for it to be ruled out.
2. Bordering on crazy
There is being physical and then there is overstepping that line – something which the Catalans Dragons did on numerous occasions. First it was Mitchell Pearce and then Michael McIlorum saw the red mist as referee James Child sent both men to the sinbin. And, on both occasions, Leeds were able to grab the momentum back. Gil Dudson was then sent off with six minutes left and Pearce earned a second yellow with a minute remaining to round off a crazy night.
3. Sutty the hero
Leeds are letting this man this go – and why? The centre has been one of the most consistent players in this Rhinos team in recent years and he demonstrated his importance to this Leeds side with a hat-trick and an impressive defensive display.
29 Sam Tomkins – 7
2 Tom Davies – 7
4 Dean Whare – 7
3 Samisoni Langi – 7
5 Fouad Yaha – 6
20 Tyrone May – 6
6 Mitchell Pearce – 3
16 Paul Seguier – 5
9 Michael McIlorum – 3
20 Dylan Napa – 3
27 Joe Chan – 5
12 Mike McMeeken – 5
13 Ben Garcia – 6
1 Arthur Mourgue – 5
8 Gil Dudson – 1
17 Mickael Goudemand – 5
28 Sam Kasiano – 7
16 Richie Myler – 8
20 Tom Briscoe – 7
33 Zak Hardaker – 7
4 Liam Sutcliffe – 10
29 Liam Tindall – 6
6 Blake Austin – 6
7 Aidan Sezer – 8
8 Mikolaj Oledzki – 8
24 Jarrod O’Connor – 8
10 Matt Prior – 6
11 James Bentley – 7
21 Morgan Gannon – 6
17 Cameron Smith – 9
9 Kruise Leeming – 8
13 Zane Tetevano – 7
22 Sam Walters – 6
25 James Donaldson – 6