Castleford 18 – 8 Catalans

Tryouts from Greg Eden and Gareth O’Brien helped the Tigers take a decisive lead in the Mend-A-Hose jungle; The Dragons fought back through tries from Sam Tomkins and Joe Chan, but penalties converted by O’Brien cemented the home side’s victory.

Last update: 08/12/22 10:23 p.m.

Castleford picked up a crucial win over a Catalan side struggling with injuries.

Castleford kept up their challenge for Betfred’s Super League play-offs with an 18-8 win over Catalans Dragons in the Jungle.

The win kept the Tigers ahead of in-form Leeds and closed the gap on the fourth-placed Catalans to four points with four games remaining in the regular season.

Skipper Paul McShane led the way in his impromptu half-back role in the absence of an injured Danny Richardson while partner Gareth O’Brien scored a crucial five goals from as many attempts.

The French club, who had spent the week in West Yorkshire following their win over Wakefield five days earlier, rallied after leading 14-0 and tried either half-time side of Sam Tomkins and Joe Chan brought them back into contention but Tomkins was unable to add either conversion.

The Catalans were without record-breaking winger Fouad Yaha through compassionate leave, but have been boosted by the return of prop Dylan Napa from a five-match suspension as well as Tomkins, Dean Whare and Mitchell Pearce through injury.

History of the game

The visitors carved out the first scoring opportunity through second rower Chan and the Tigers were grateful for a last-ditch tackle from McShane to pull him over the line.

Castleford were more clinical as they created an opening, with scrum-half O’Brien faking his way past Tomkins for the first down after 11 minutes.

O’Brien kicked the conversion and added an offside penalty midway through the first half to extend his side’s lead to 8-0.

It quickly became 14-0 when the Tigers pounced on a Napa handling error on his own 20-yard line with fullback Greg Eden clipping in for their second down.

The introduction of big forward rower Sam Kasiano injected another goal into the Catalan attack and he looked set to score after taking a pass from hooker Michael McIlorum near the line to overturn the ball.

The Dragons eventually pulled back a try two minutes before the break when Tomkins found space in the home defense but was wide with the conversion.

The England captain was also off target when the dangerous Chan blasted his way in for the Catalans’ second try five minutes into the second half, after Pearce’s pass had created the opener.

O’Brien netted twice between the sides with another penalty on the hour but the Catalans put caution aside in the final quarter with substitutes Arthur Mourgue and Whare both throwing threatening runs at each flank.

The home side defended heroically in the face of the constant onslaught and, when Kasiano was held over the line, it spelled the end of the Dragons’ hopes and O’Brien wrapped up the scoring with his third penalty.

Winger Bureta Faraimo nearly scored a third try for Castleford in the last minute when he kicked in a loose ball but it was denied by Tomkins’ final tackle and the home side finished with 12 men when the prop Suaia Matagi was sentenced for an off-the-ball tackle.

And after?

Castleford will be next in action at Huddersfield on Thursday August 18, live on Sky Sports Arena at 8pm. Sunday August 20, the Catalans welcome the Salford Red Devils to the Stade-Gilbert Brutus, with a kick-off at 6 p.m.

Sky Sports

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