Catalans Dragons beat Warrington 30-10 in heated encounter

Sam Tomkins lines up a penalty
Sam Tomkins lines up a penalty

Ugly scenes marred a man-of-the-match performance by Sam Tomkins as Catalans Dragons defeated Warrington 30-10.

Tempers flared on the field and in the stands as Tomkins and Michael McIlorum saw red after the final whistle for their role in the bust-up on the field.

Television cameras then zoomed in on the flare-ups on the terraces as both sets of fans became frustrated at the action on the field.

Tomkins had created three tries and kicked seven goals as Catalans defeated Warrington for the second time this season.

Warrington headed to Perpignan looking to avenge their 23-22 loss earlier in the year and also seeking to stay in the hunt for the League Leaders' Shield, which St Helens claimed following full-time.

The Wolves were in buoyant mood following their Challenge Cup semi-final victory over Hull last weekend while Catalans were looking for their third win in four and had their sights firmly set on replacing Castleford in the final play-off place.

The Dragons welcomed back Greg Bird into the starting line-up, starting at stand-off alongside Tony Gigot.

Catalans started brighter and, following Gigot's 40-20 kick, Warrington conceded a penalty when Mike Cooper was ruled offside. Tomkins kicked the penalty goal to give the hosts an early two-point advantage.

Both sides were reduced to 12 men in the 15th minute, with Chris Hill and McIlorum being sent to the sin bin for a high tackle and rushing in respectively.

Tomkins added the penalty goal from a similar position to the first to take the score to 4-0.

Warrington were back on level terms in the 26th minute following a stoppage that saw their influential half-back Blake Austin leave the field.

A neat run-around by Daryl Clark and Declan Patton's long ball sent the action to the right to allow Jake Mamo in at the right corner. Stefan Ratchford missed the conversion.

In the 34th minute, a second high tackle by Joe Philbin on Samisoni Langi gifted Catalans field position to attack.

They sent the ball to the left through Gigot and Tomkins and put Fouad Yaha in to score in the corner. Tomkins missed the conversion as the score remained 8-4 heading to the break.

Warrington started the second half in blistering fashion, a penalty offering field position before a wide face pass from Clark close to the line sent Hill over to score to the right of the posts.

Ratchford added the conversion to give Warrington the lead for the first time in the game.

Catalans retook the lead in the 53rd minute with a smart move that saw Bird and Tomkins combine to send the ball to the right and to David Mead, who fended away a Warrington defender and touched down in the corner.

Tomkins converted for 14-10 and added a further penalty in the 58th minute to give the Dragons a six-point advantage.

In the 64th minute Mamo managed to chase down Mead, who looked a certainty to score after picking up a loose ball.

Mamo stripped the ball once the tackle was complete and was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul.

Tomkins added another penalty from in front of the posts with 15 minutes remaining to give the hosts an eight-point lead.

With eight minutes remaining, Matt Whitley secured the win for the home side with a try from yet another assist by Tomkins, who converted from the touchline to take the score to 24-10.

Gigot touched down to the left of the posts, following up McIlorum's grubber to the in-goal area, Tomkins' conversion taking the score to 30-10.

The result meant St Helens took the League Leaders' Shield, with Warrington cut adrift.

Following the final hooter, a fight between both teams inflamed the crowd, both sets of fans desperately trying to climb over the barriers to get to each other.

The result was Tomkins and McIlorum being sent off for their actions and Mamo receiving a second yellow card.

Post-match reaction

Warrington head coach Steve Price expressed disappointment at both his side's 30-10 defeat to Catalans Dragons and the ugly scenes that marred the end of the game on Saturday.

Catalans duo Sam Tomkins and Michael McIlorum saw red after the final whistle for their role in an on-field fracas, while there were also flare-ups in the stands.

Man of the match Tomkins had created three tries and kicked seven goals as Catalans defeated Warrington for the second time this season.

"We've always had good challenges against Catalans every time we play them," said Price. "It was really disappointing how the game finished - you don't like to see that, do you?"

When asked whether he thought events on the pitch had influenced those off it, Price responded: "What do you reckon? I think you're answering the question yourself there."

Discussing his side's overall performance, Price commented: "We had our chances and we were in front there for a while and we were in the arm wrestle. They were going hard and we were going hard and then we had some trouble getting out of yardage and the momentum swung.

"I thought Catalans were committed. That's what they do, they try and frustrate you and they got away with it today."

Price also criticised the officiating of referee James Child - a sentiment echoed by opposite number Steve McNamara.

"I'm clearly not happy with the whole of the game in terms of how it was managed," said McNamara. "After the game I will take that up with the relevant people.

"I think it is best to stay nice and calm and speak to the relevant people and deal with the issues that will be brought up from that game.

"I have no idea how (the scenes at the end of the game) have come about, but it's disgraceful scenes that we don't want to see in our sport and I'm sure, again, the relevant people will look into that and find out.

"I just sincerely hope that no one is hurt from that because it didn't look good."

McNamara did, however, hit out at a suggestion from Price that his side had deliberately slowed the game down.

"I'm sick and tired of every time a team comes here and complains about the tactics and how tough it is and how difficult it is," he said.

"I've said this numerous times, we have to do it 14, 15, 16 times a year. We face it every week when we travel away, yet teams want to whinge and carry on when they come here because it's our ground.

"The best team won today and the best team won by a long way in the end and that result was correct. Nothing to do with anything other than the better team won on the day, simple as that."

Price added that it was "way too early" to offer an update on the fitness of Blake Austin, who left the field with a suspected ankle injury.

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