Yesterday Castleford Tigers ran Catalans Dragons all the way in the South of France despite the absence of a key player.
That was Gareth Widdop whose absence was a surprise to say the least.
Speaking on Tigers TV, Interim coach Andy Last explained his absence:
“He’s had diarrhoea. I don’t know if it was the French food, maybe Baguettes or ham and cheese.”
As reasons for an absence go, that is pretty gross. Though a difficult ankle injury was also partly to blame.
Widdop wasn’t the only one to struggle with illness with Last confirming that a few players were put in separate rooms.
Meanwhile, Alex Sutcliffe had to drop out just before kick off due to a tight calf.
In Widdop’s absence, Jack Broadbent took over in the halves and was simply sensational.
After falling behind to a controversial Paul Seguier, it didn’t take Cas long to hit back through Broadbent filling in at the halves in place of the absent Gareth Widdop. Broadbent reacted quickest to a loose ball to score.
After a chance for Jacob Miller, Catalans converted a penalty for a late hit on Adam Keighran to make it 8-6.
They extended their lead in the 25th minute as Cesar Rouge found Tom Johnstone to score another try in a fantastic campaign from the former Wakefield winger. Keighran missed the attempt at goal and it remained 12-6 at break.
In the second half, the Dragons pulled further ahead as Arthur Mourgue scored a superb try ducking and weaving through the Tigers defence with great pace and evasion.
The Tigers then held on brilliantly for a spell and after a great ball back inside from Mahe Fonua, Greg Eden set up Jordan Turner to score and make it 16-12 as Paul McShane made it two from two.
With 10 minutes to go a sensational Broadbent second levelled matters as he broke from his own half and outwitted Mourgue to score a brilliant try.
A third McShane goal saw the Tigers edge in front for the first time at 18-16.
Two minutes later it appeared that the Dragons could have retaken the lead but Johnstone knocked the ball on with five minutes to go.
But soon enough a former Tigers was inflicting heartbreak on the Tigers as Mike McMeeken crossed for a huge try.
The try came from a penalty on halfway and was created by Alrix Da Costa. Mourgue converted.
Again it looked as if the scoreline would sway back the way of the Tigers as Greg Eden broke clear but Fonua was tackled into touch.
That was the last chance for the Tigers. They remain on one win as Catalans set up next weekend’s clash with Warrington as a top of the table battle.