Saints suffer narrow Dragons defeat

Saints suffered a 12-14 defeat to League Leaders Catalans at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Thursday evening...

The visitors took the lead 14 minutes in. Consecutive penalties on the Saints line and they opted to kick for two with the latter of those. Adam Keighran took the kick and converted, 0-2 the French side led.

That lead extended midway through the half. A high kick from Jonny Lomax to the Dragons’ left corner was fumbled but claimed by Keighran who found Tom Johnstone on the wing, he then raced the length of the pitch to increase the visitors’ lead. Keighran added another two points, 0-8.

James Roby was then forced to leave the field for a HIA, which he failed which also rules him out of next weekend’s Betfred Challenge Cup Semi Final against Leigh Leopards. Saints tried their best to work an opening to get back into the contest, as pass by Joey Lussick found the ground but was spilled by the visitors, the referee ruled that the ball went backwards though, so no knock on was awarded.

The hosts had a good chance to add their first points of the game. A kick through went towards James Bell who was tackled off the ball with it being touched down afterwards but the referee ruled knock on.

The hosts did respond soon after though, after relentless pressure on the Catalans line. Lewis Dodd’s low kick found the chasing Mark Percival who collected it before grounding the ball to to left of the sticks. He converted his own try, 6-8 Saints trailed.

Catalans broke through again as Sam Tomkins found Mitchell Pearce, who gave the ball back to the former Wigan man, however the referee ruled forward pass. That was the final action of the first 40, as Saints trailed 6-8 at the Totally Wicked Stadium at the break.

The Dragons grabbed the first points on the second half. The ball was worked right to Matt Ikuvalu and he was able to spin over and ground the ball. The try being awarded after a trip to the video referee. Keighran converted, 6-14. In the process of the try, try-scorer Percival was forced off for a HIA, he did not return so will also miss next weeks game against Leigh.

Saints had chances to reduce the gap, but both Lussick and Sione Mata’utia got held up inches short of the try-line. Another chance soon followed. Will Hopoate broke a tackle down the right edge and looked to have gone over in the corner, but the touch judge ruled that he had gone out before getting the ball down.

More chances followed, but Saints were unable to capitalise on their good field position as the Catalans defence stood firm.

After constant pressure, Saints did reduce the deficit. An off the cuff move saw Saints throw it around before it found its way to the right edge. Bell found Hopoate, he made a break before finding the supporting Dodd on his inside who was able to get over the line. Lussick converted, 12-14 Saints trailed.

Saints pushed hard to grab a winner but were held up just five metres from the Catalans line before almost winning it with the final play of the game but the ball found touch as Hopoate tried to find Hurrell on the visitors line. That was to be the final play, as we suffered a 12-14 defeat at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Thursday evening.

Match Summary

Saints Team: Jack Welsby, Will Hopoate, Konrad Hurrell, Mark Percival, Jon Bennison, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Sione Mata’utia, James Bell, Morgan Knowles.

Interchanges: Joey Lussick, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Agnatius Paasi, George Delaney.

18th Man: Ben Davies.

Tries: Mark Percival (34), Lewis Dodd (74)

Conversions: Mark Percival (1 from 1), Joey Lussick (1 from 1)

Catalans Dragons Team: Sam Tomkins, Tom Davies, Matt Ikuvalu, Adam Keighran, Tom Johnstone, Tyrone May, Mitchell Pearce, Romain Navarrette, Michael McIlorum, Mike McMeekan,  Matt Whitley, Paul Seguier, Benjamin Garcia.

Interchanges: Julian Bousquet, Tiaki Chan, Jordan Dezaria, Manu Ma’u.

18th Man: Arthur Romano.

Tries: Tom Johnstone (20), Matt Ikuvalu (45)

Conversions: Adam Keighran (2 from 2)

Penalties: Adam Keighran (1 from 1)

HT: 6-8

FT: 12-14

Attendance: 12,193

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