Catalans Dragons 12-6 St Helens: Highlights, Talking Points and Player Ratings

St Helens travelled to Perpignan to face Catalans Dragons and try to keep their era of Super League dominance alive by earning a trip to Old Trafford once again, something that they ultimately failed to do as Catalans beat them 12-6 thanks to a supreme Sam Tomkins last minute try.

It was a night of brilliant atmosphere at the Stade Gilbert Brutus with all eyes on the retiring legends on either side, and more importantly which pair would have a Grand Final swansong.

For the visitors both 37-year-olds James Roby and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook were on the edge of retirement, whilst it was Sam Tomkins and Mitchell Pearce for the hosts, with the parallels creating another narrative to what was already set to be a brilliant game.

Konrad Hurrell missed out having not returned to match fitness following his injury with the suspended George Delaney returning to the Saints squad, whereas for the Dragons Tomkins started at full-back with Arthur Mourgue spelling off the bench.


Physical first ten
The play-off atmosphere was evident from the get go, as was the physicality, with both LMS and Taukeiaho starting showing the intent for a physical start. Neither side truly threatened in the early stages with a Matt Whitley knock-on on halfway ending the most exciting attack.

Saints go close
Micky McIlorum made a mistake to provide Saints with territory and were it not for a brilliant defensive read by centre Ikuvalu then Bennison would have been in, the closest chance in a nervy opening 15 minutes.

Catalans controversially denied
The home side looked to have scored first in the corner when Tom Johnstone capitalised on a Jonny Lomax error, however Chris Kendall’s no try call wasn’t overturned by Jack Smith – seemingly for a shove from Johnstone on Lomax, albeit a harsh one.

Key errors from key players
The nerves were on show as Tom Johnstone knocked on from a simple pick up of the ball within his 20 metres however Saints couldn’t capitalise with Alex Walmsley dropping a carry on the resulting set.

Keighran kicks for two
Catalans took the lead just ahead of the half hour mark following a Sione Mata’utia high shot on Sam Tomkins. The Dragons opted for two with Keighran kicking over from 30 yards out to make it 2-0, the score remaining the same till the half time whistle.

Hopoate puts Saints in front
Jack Welsby was at his very best once again, dragging the defenders wide to the left hand flank before playing a clever pass to allow centre Will Hopoate to dance through on the 50 minute mark to make it 6-2 to the reigning champions.

Catalans cut the lead
When a Moses Mbye high tackle offered the home side a penalty in front of the sticks from 30 metres then Adam Keighran opted to take the two, bringing the game back to 6-4, with the Dragons receiving the ball once again from the restart.

Saints down to 12 as scores level up
A Mitchell Pearce kick was knocked on by Jack Welsby and Matty Lees was then penalised for lying on at the play the ball, seeing yellow for the professional foul. That saw Saints drop to 12 with Lees in the sin bin and Adam Keighran score his third penalty of the game, making the game six points a piece with less than ten minutes to go.

Tomkins magic!
After a flurry of penalties and a blocked drop goal from Tomkins it was finally the moment of magic that the game had been waiting for. Saints raced off the line to block the kick and Tomkins wound back the clock to dodge the chase and dart through under the sticks after a brilliant step. A supreme try!

Talking Points

Passion in Perpignan
Prior to the game it was evident just how much the south of France loves their rugby league with Catalans receiving an absolutely wild reaction when reaching the stadium. For all the criticism French rugby league can get, tonight showed it’s a hotbed ready to erupt.

Controversial calls dominate
The Catalans no try in the first half will no doubt be controversial, as would the decision to not sin bin Sione Mata’utia for his swinging arm on Sam Tomkins. In a game of such huge importance the rhetoric may well again be about the officiating.

Scrappy semi-final
For some of the excellent rugby these two teams have shown this season it was a game that lacked in quality and was played primarily in between the 20s meaning the attacking players couldn’t get too involved.

Player Ratings

Catalans Dragons

Sam Tomkins – 9
Tom Davies – 7
Adam Keighran – 8
Matt Ikuvalu – 8
Tom Johnstone – 8
Tyrone May – 7
Mitchell Pearce – 7
Mike McMeeken – 7
Micky McIlorum – 7
Siosiua Taukeiaho – 8
Matt Whitley – 7
Paul Seguier – 7
Ben Garcia – 8
Julian Bousquet – 6
Romain Navarrete – 6
Arthur Mourgue – N/A
Mana Ma’u – N/A

St Helens

Jack Welsby – 8
Tommy Makinson – 7
Mark Percival – 6
Will Hopoate – 8
Jon Bennison – 8
Jonny Lomax – 7
Lewis Dodd – 7
Matty Lees – 6
James Roby – 7
Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook – 7
Sione Mata’utia – 6
Curtis Sironen – 7
Morgan Knowles – 8
Alex Walmsley – 6
James Bell – 7
George Delaney – 7
Moses Mbye – 7