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Catalans Dragons 28-0 Wigan Warriors: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

For the second season in a row, Catalans ended Wigan’s unbeaten start to the season with a dominant win at the Warriors’ expense. Last year, Catalans cemented themselves as a major threat to the Super League title with a 48-0 win, this year they dispatched title rivals Wigan 28-0 with a comprehensive showing in the rain.

Highlights:

Mitchell Pearce opens the scoring
In the opening few rounds, Mitchell Pearce received criticism as he struggled to fill the boots of his ex-Sydney teammate and Catalans’ former talisman James Maloney. However, he now seems to be finding his feet in a Catalans shirt. That was literally the case today as he used them to wrong foot Liam Farrell with a killer right footed step to burst through for the opening try of the game.

Catalans kill Wigan with kicks
In wet conditions as we saw today, a kicking game becomes even more profound as it becomes another way of scoring points due to the difficulties it causes defences and the fact it doesn’t require a side to spread the ball. Today the Dragons used this skill to good effect with tries from grubbers either side of halftime from Mickael Goudemand and Mitchell Pearce thanks to kicks from Michael McIlorum and Josh Drinkwater. They took the score out to 22-0 virtually ending the contest. Later in the game, Drinkwater was at it again with the delicate grubbers creating another try with his boot this time for Samisoni Langi.

Catalans’ Champion defence
Around the 55th minute, Wigan began a real siege of Catalans’ defensive line with a number of sets of six on Catalans’ line with penalty after penalty. However, they denied the Warriors through some bone crunching tackles and some great scrambling defence. That was perhaps Wigan’s moment to get back into the game and it passed them by.

Talking Points:

1. Wigan wasteful in the wet
I dare say if this game had taken place in the traditional sunny conditions we associate with the south of France, it could’ve been a different contest as it would have favoured the pace of Jai Field and co as well as Matt Peet’s attacking philosophy. However, it rained and rained and rained and this undid the Warriors. They routinely coughed up possession in their own half due to some high risk plays or the ball simply slipping out of their grasp. That pressure would add up throughout the first half giving Catalans a 16-0 lead at the break. It took Wigan 30 minutes to get a good look at the Dragons’ line and that was largely down to errors which had kept them in their own half for much of the game at that point. On the back of such an energy sapping first 40, it was always going to be difficult for Wigan to find a way back.

2. Catalans spine central to victory
Many believed James Maloney’s departure from Catalans could be the Dragons’ undoing. However, today’s game proved that the Catalans spine is still one of the best in the league. Mitchell Pearce grabbed a brace whilst Josh Drinkwater kicked Wigan to death from close range. In the wet Sam Tomkins also tested the Wigan defence and bossed proceedings moving the ball into dangerous areas routinely. They also showed some real maturity in the opposition 20 converting sets into points either through penalties or through smart plays resulting in tries.

3. Wigan’s test now
Last year, like tonight, Wigan’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end against Catalans Dragons and from there their campaign stalled. They slipped to fourth in the table and struggled to find attacking rhythm. So, in a similar position after a humbling defeat away at Catalans for the second season in a row, the test for Wigan is what they do next. The Warriors do look a lot sharper than they did throughout 2021 with plenty of strike in attack with Jai Field and co giving them plenty of firepower. It’s about getting back to what they do best next week and not letting this defeat get to them. Easier said than done as we saw how much this game between two title rivals meant to both sides with a fiery exchange of punches from Kaide Ellis and Jordan Dezaria resulting in a pair of red cards.

Player ratings:

Catalans Dragons
29 Sam Tomkins – 9
2 Tom Davies – 7
4 Dean Whare – 7
3 Samisoni Langi – 8
19 Arthur Romano – 7
6 Mitchell Pearce – 9
7 Josh Drinkwater – 9
23 Jordan Dezaria – 7
9 Michael McIlorum – 8
12 Mike McMeeken – 8
11 Matt Whitley – 8
15 Benjamin Jullien – 7
13 Ben Garcia – 7
Substitutes
8 Gil Dudson – 7
17 Mickael Goudemand – 8
20 Tyrone May – 6
27 Joe Chan – 8

Wigan Warriors
23 Jai Field – 5
5 Liam Marshall – 6
2 Jake Bibby – 5
21 Kai Pearce-Paul – 7
3 Zak Hardaker – 5
6 Cade Cust – 6
7 Thomas Leuluai – 6
8 Brad Singleton – 6
9 Sam Powell – 6
15 Kaide Ellis – 5
12 Liam Farrell – 5
13 John Bateman – 5
11 Willie Isa – 6
Substitutes
10 Patrick Mago – 5
14 Morgan Smithies – 7
20 Liam Byrne – 6
22 Joe Shorrocks – 6

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