Catalans Dragons 20-36 St Helens: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

St Helens continued their quest for a treble beating a spirited Catalan Dragons side in Perpignan by sixteen points.

Saints proved too good in the rematch of last season’s Grand Final as they scored six tries on the way to victory.

Highlights

Saints turn game on its head in 5 minute spell
After conceding the first try of the game, St Helens then turned the game in their favour during a blistering five minute spell. Jack Welsby was the orchestrator for Saints as his line break put St Helens on the front foot and then scored a try two plays later thanks to excellent support play. Welsby then turned provider for the second try as he made another line break and fed the supporting Lewis Dodd for a second try in as many sets. Mark Percival then burst through some poor Catalans defence to score on the left edge to complete a dominant spell for the current Challenge Cup holders and build a lead which the Dragons never recovered from.

Yellow card for Sironen causes scuffle
The Dragons and Saints have history after a number of important games in recent seasons and the tensions in both camps spilled over when Curtis Sironen hit Benjamin Garcia high which led to him being sin binned. The Catalans captain was incensed by the challenge, squaring up to Sironen causing both sets of players to run in and get involved in the scuffle. After a poor opening 30 minutes, the sin bin and subsequent push and shove was the instigator needed for the Dragons to get themselves back in the game as they crossed for a try whilst St Helens were down to 12 men.

Joe Batchelor rounds off the scoring
St Helens proved to be too good for the Dragons as they dominated the forward battle on their way to victory. Backrow Joe Batchelor put in a monster shift all game for Saints with his uncompromising defence, which is central to this St Helens team under coach Kristian Woolf. He was rewarded for all his effort during the game with a try in the 70th minute after a lovely short ball from Jonny Lomax allowed him to crash over. Since breaking into the starting lineup for Saints midway through 2021, he hasn’t looked back as he continues to improve his all-round game.

Talking Points

1. Sam Tomkins limps off injured
In what could be a big moment in the Catalan Dragons season, Sam Tomkins limped off the field midway through the first half with a calf injury. The reigning Man of Steel hadn’t been involved in the game before this moment and after fielding a kick he pulled up and left the field. The Dragons were fortunate to have young gun Arthur Mourgue on bench to fill the void left by Tomkins but he was also unable to get the Dragons going. If Tomkins is set for a period on the sidelines this could have big implications on Catalans’ hopes of reaching the Grand Final once again.

2. Saints become first team to win in Perpignan this season
It is well documented that St Helens tend to struggle on their visits to France, with their last trip ending in a shock defeat to bottom of the table Toulouse. They made no such mistake in Perpignan as they put in a dominant display against their French counterparts who are usually so dominant themselves when playing at the Stade Gilbert Brutus. St Helens became the first team to beat Catalan at home this season, scoring six tries on their way to victory.

3. Saints look well on course for the treble
St Helens have been undoubtedly the best team in the Northern Hemisphere for a number of seasons now and they continue to go from strength to strength. This game against the Dragons is the first for the Champions in what will be a tricky nine days. With their win against Catalan, they are still going strong in the Challenge Cup and two difficult games in the Super league follow over Easter weekend as they have a Good Friday clash against rivals Wigan and then travel to the inform Huddersfield Giants. If Saints can make it three wins from three over this period, then they will be well on their way to a treble this season.

Player Ratings:

Catalan Dragons
29. Sam Tomkins – 5
2. Tom Davies – 6
19. Arthur Romano – 5
20. Tyrone May – 6
5. Fouad Yaha – 7
6. Mitchell Pearce – 5
7. Josh Drinkwater – 7
8. Gil Dudson – 6
9. Michael McIlorum – 7
22. Dylan Napa – 6
12. Mike McMeeken – 6
15.Benjamin Jullien – 7
13. Benjamin Garcia – 6
Interchange
1. Arthur Mourgue – 6
23. Jordan Dezaria – 6
27. Joe Chan – 5
28. Sam Kasiano – 6

St Helens
1. Jack Welsby – 9
3. Will Hopoate – 7
23. Konrad Hurrell – 7
4. Mark Percival – 8
2. Tommy Makinson – 7
6. Jonny Lomax – 8
7. Lewis Dodd – 7 T
8. Alex Walmsley – 7
9. James Roby – 8
10. Matty Lees -6
12. Joe Batchelor – 8
16. Curtis Sironen – 7
13. Morgan Knowles – 9
Interchange
14. Joey Lussick – 7
15. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook – 6
17. Agnatius Paasi – 6
24. Dan Norman -7

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