Catalans 16 Wigan 37

Shaun Wane

Shaun Wane

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SHAUN Wane hailed his troops after they emerged from a bruising clash with a hugely-impressive victory.

Brilliant full-back Matty Bowen scored two of their six tries to condemn Catalan to their first home defeat since February.

But the game was marred by a series of controversial flashpoints, which saw the Dragons reduced to 11-men for a spell during the second-half.

Wane didn’t want to comment on the incidents, including a choke on Josh Charney by Vincent Duport, opting instead to salute the professionalism of his players.

He said: “I thought we went around our business really well. It was a tough rugby league game.

“This is a tough place to come, as St Helens found out.”

Having led 12-10 approaching half-time, Wigan hit their opponents with a two-try burst to lead 24-10 at the break. And with Scott Taylor and Joe Burgess going over early after the restart the result was put beyond Catalan’s reach.

The congested top-half of the ladder meant they needed the two points to nudge back ahead of Castleford into third spot in the ladder - a defeat would have left them vulnerable to a fall to fifth spot if Warrington overcome London on Sunday.

The return of Sean O’Loughlin from a hamstring problem offset the absence of Welsh props Ben Flower (injury) and Gil Dudson (suspension).

O’Loughlin galvanised the defence, even if his first major contribution was a spill in a good attacking position.

His error was one of many in an infuriating opening in which both sides seemed determined not to complete a set.

But Wigan slowly fell into their familiar pattern as Tony Clubb charged onto George Williams’ pass and through a gaping hole.

Catalan struck twice without reply, a stunning effort by Morgan Escare and a try by Elliot Whitehead to edge 10-6 ahead.

But Bowen, having played such a pivotal role in their first try, scored the second to shift the game’s momentum.

With Catalan increasingly testing James Child’s patience, Wigan profited from some favourable calls and made it count, Charnley racing over for his 11th try in five games since returning from injury.

From the resulting kick-off, Bowen worked a blindside move and took off, piercing Catalan’s left edge, linking with Charnley and following up to take the score to 24-10 with Smith’s goal.

Perhaps aware the game was beyond their reach, Catalan’s discipline deteriorated.

Duport was sinbinned for choking Charnley, and Benjamin Garcia was yellow-carded for a swinging arm.

Tries by Scott Taylor and Joe Burgess were followed by a Matty Smith drop-goal, though Catalan had the final say through Damien Cardace’s late converted try.

Catalan: Escare; Cardace, Pomeroy, Duport, Oldfield; Pryce, Williams; Elima, Henderson, Lima, Taia, Whitehead, Baitieri. Subs: Anderson, Mounis, Pelissier, Baitieri.

Wigan: Bowen; Charney, Sarginson, Gelling, Burgess; Williams, Smith; Crosby, Powell, Clubb, Bateman, Farrell, O’Loughlin. Subs: Taylor, Hughes, Burke, Pettybourne.