Catalans Dragons v Saints
Saints travelled to Catalans not only knowing that it would be a hard task to achieve what they did last year and come away with the points, but also with having to cope with a team re-shuffle, writes Graham Henthorne.
The late withdrawal of Kevin Brown meant a reorganisation of the team with Jordan Gibbons going to full back and a left wing combination of Joe Sharratt and Owen Smith, both of whom are much more at home in the second row.
However, it can’t have been too much of a handicap as the latter ended up running in a well taken hat-trick!
The hosts were the first on the board after seven minutes but the Saints responded almost immediately with a Callum Hazzard four pointer converted by Brad Billsborough.
From the restart the Saints went right back down again and Jordan Gibbons gave them the lead.
After a period of time with both teams vying for superiority it became a bit like the first team game to be played later that day. It was a bit we score-you score for the final 12 minutes of the half as first the Dragons regained the lead but the Saints took it straight back with the first of Smiths’ three.
He scored his second on 35 minutes to give the Saints a ten point lead but crucially they couldn’t hold on to that into the break as the Dragons scored on the half time whistle to get back to within four.
Again crucially the Dragons scored in the opening minutes of the half to wrestle the lead back. Had the Saints been able to hang on ahead for a bit longer and frustrate their hosts then the outcome may have been different but as it was they stretched their lead to 8 points on 56 minutes.
The Saints managed to hit back to within two straight from the restart with Smith’s hat-trick try and Billsborough’s fourth conversion but that was as good as it got as the Dragons ran in three more tries in the final quarter to run out easy winners.
Tries: Flovie, Le Cam (3), Albert, Franco, Scimone (2)
Goals: Albert (9 from 9)
Tries: Callum Hazzard (11), Jordan Gibbons (14), Owen Smith 3 (29, 35 & 57).
Goals: Brad Billsborough 4 from 5.
Half Time: 18-22
Full Time: 50-28
Franco; J. Flovie, Vergniol, Gambaro, Martin; Albert, Mourgues; Sabathier, Meunier, Séguier, Delor, Le Cam, Lardot.
Subs: Demacedo, Garcia, Scimone, Vailhen
1. Jordan Gibbons; 2. Sean Croston, 3. Cameron Brown, 4. Owen Smith, 5. Joe Sharratt; 6. Brad Billsborough, 7. Elliott Jenkins; 8. Matty Lees, 9. Josh Eaves, 10. Jorge Lewtas, 11. Alex Eckley, 12. Mike Weldon, 13. Callum Hazzard.
Subs: 14. Brad Pinder, 15. Evan Bullen, 16. Jordan Olmez, 17. Ben Sims.
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