REPORT: Catalans Dragons 48 Wigan Warriors 0

Warriors suffered their first Super League defeat of the year - and how - as the deadly Dragons from Catalans proved far too hot in the south of France sunshine.

Saturday, 29th May 2021, 7:49 pm
Updated Saturday, 29th May 2021, 7:54 pm
Jackson Hastings takes on the Catalans line on a rare Wigan sortie in Perpignan

Adrian Lam's men surrendered their 100 per cent record with barely a whimper, as the Dragons built on last weekend's victory over St Helens and underlined their own title credentials.

Wigan had been forced to come from behind to record the majority of the wins this year after taking time to get going from the off.

But after falling behind inside six minutes in Perpignan, the visitors never once remotely looked like dragging themselves back into it.

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And it took until the 79th minute for any real fight to emerge, although the headbutt aimed by Zak Hardaker at Sam Tomkins - which earned him a red card - was definitely not what was required.

With so many ex-Wiganers in the Dragons line-up, it was inevitable a few of them would grab the opportunity to get one over their former employers.

And it was Micky McIlorum who opened the scoring, by taking advantage of a 'six again' to barge his way over from close range.

The Dragons looked to have doubled their advantage inside 13 minutes when James Maloney beat Tommy Leuluai to Josh Drinkwater's clever kick, only to fail to ground the ball properly.

But Wigan's attempts to take full advantage saw them cough up easy ball, with cheap penalties also piggy-backing the home side downfield.

Another Drinkwater kick caused havoc on 18 minutes and, with Jake Bibby unable to deal with it, Tomkins gleefully touched the ball down.

A couple of great runs by Tomkins then led to Samisoni Langi crashing over in the corner, although the video referee again spared Wigan by ruling Joe Shorrocks had got his hands under the ball.

There was another let-off on the half-hour mark when Mathieu Laguerre looked a certain scorer in the left corner, but the final pass was just behind him and the defence was able to scramble across to cover.

Maloney missed an easy penalty to make it 14-0 as the half-time hooter approached, but Wigan couldn't see it out.

And it was that man Tomkins who barged his way over to make the interval score 16-0 - which flattered Wigan hugely.

Whatever coach Lam said at the interval made little or no difference, as Catalans crossed for FOUR more tries in the space of 10 minutes shortly after the restart.

Wigan initially dodged a bullet when Tom Davies - another former Warrior - was denied a try by a bad bounce of the ball with the line in front of him.

But after the boot of Maloney made it 18-0, Catalans cut loose with devastating effect.

First, the lively Arthur Mourgue crossed, before Drinkwater - a thorn in Wigan's side all night - collected his own kick to score by the posts.

Drinkwater then took on the line and dummied his way inside John Bateman with several of his colleagues outside waiting for a walk-in score.

And Davies then sent Mike McMeekin over, with four goals from Maloney opening up a 42-0 lead - and 25 minutes still remaining.

The Wigan defence managed to hold out for another 11 minutes before Matthieu Laguerre scored what proved to be the final Dragons try.

But there was still drama to come, when Hardaker appeared to aim a head at his opposite number Tomkins, whose brother Joel piled in and aimed several right big hands at the Warriors full-back.

Referee James Child brandished red to Hardaker and yellow to Joel Tomkins, which only served to apply copious amounts of salt to already gaping Wigan wounds.