Catalans Dragons 20-18 St Helens: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

Catalans Dragons took on St Helens at the Stade Gilbert Brutus this evening.

Sione Mata’utia crossed early for Saints with Tommy Makinson delivering his trademark finish moments later. However, Makinson missed both conversions as the Red Vee moved into an 8-0 lead.

Things got worse for Catalans when Dylan Napa was sinbinned for a dangerous shot, but that actually seemed to kick the Dragons into life.

Matthieu Laguerre was somehow able to finish in the corner despite the attention of Jonny Lomax whilst Josh Drinkwater was able to latch onto a Fouad Yaha kick through to take the lead going into the break at 10-8.

Ben Davies finished well to put Saints into a 12-10 lead, but Samisoni Langi continued the tit-for-tat nature as the game approached the hour.

However, the Dragons set up a two-score cushion when Mitchell Pearce threw out a world-class pass to Arthur Romano who was able to feed Dean Whare back on the inside to make it 20-12.

Jack Welsby had other ideas, though, pinching the ball from Sam Kasiano for a one-on-one steal after the kick-off to bring Saints back to within two.

Arthur Romano was able to force Regan Grace into touch with six minutes left and that proved key as Catalans held on.

Highlights

Tommy Makinson and Jonny Lomax exchanging passes for Saints’ second try was a joy to behold.

Josh Drinkwater was able to finish a brilliant inside kick from Fouad Yaha to send the Dragons into the lead.

Mitchell Pearce’s incredible pass out to Arthur Romano who then offloaded inside to Dean Whare was sublime.

Arthur Romano somehow forced Regan Grace into touch with six minutes to go.

Talking points

1. Drinkwater the best half in Super League? 

Is Catalans Dragons’ halfback Josh Drinkwater the best half in the competition? He certainly provided evidence of that today. With a pinpoint kick for Fouad Yaha to take and offload to Matthieu Laguerre and then to follow up Yaha’s inside kick showed just how important the number seven is for the French side after missing the last few months with injury.

2. Napa naughtiness

When Catalans signed Dylan Napa they were going for aggression and physicality, unfortunately, that has sometimes spilled over into ill-discipline. The Australian forward was red carded in the first game of Super League and then banned for four matches and it looks like he may receive another suspension. Napa hit Ben Davies around the head as the latter ran out of defence and it could see him sitting out next week at least.

3. Saints’ goal-kicking woe

At one point, Saints led 12-10, but they had scored three tries to Catalans’ two as Tommy Makinson had missed all three conversions. With first-choice goal-kicker Lewis Dodd out injured, Kristian Woolf has had to experiment with Makinson taking charge since then. However, it remains to be seen if Saints continue with the winger in front of goal.

4. Just…what a game!

You could tell that these two teams are the ones to beat in Super League. It was an enthralling affair from minute one to minute 80 as last year’s Grand Finalists were prepared to fight tooth and nail for every blade of grass at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.

Player ratings

Catalans Dragons

29 Sam Tomkins – 9
18 Mathieu Laguerre – 8
4 Dean Whare – 7
3 Samisoni Langi – 7
5 Fouad Yaha – 7
6 Mitchell Pearce – 7
7 Josh Drinkwater – 9
8 Gil Dudson – 7
9 Michael McIlorum – 6
22 Dylan Napa – 5
11. Matt Whitley – 7
15 Benjamin Jullien – 6
17 Mickael Goudemand – 6
Substitutes
14 Alrix Da Costa – 6
16 Paul Seguier – 6
19 Arthur Romano – 7
28. Sam Kasiano – 7

St Helens

27 Jon Bennison – 8
2 Tommy Makinson – 8
22 Ben Davies – 7
11 Sione Mata’utia – 7
5 Regan Grace – 7
1 Jack Welsby – 9
6 Jonny Lomax – 7
8 Alex Walmsley – 7
9 James Roby – 7
10 Matty Lees – 6
16 Curtis Suronen – 6
12 Joe Batchelor – 6
13 Morgan Knowles – 7
Substitutes
14 Joey Lussick – 6
17 Agnatius Paasi – 7
19 Jake Wingfield – 6
20 James Bell – 6

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