Catalan Dragons win Super League leadership shield with spectacular victory
The Catalan Dragons made history in the most spectacular fashion with a 31-30 gold point victory over defending champions St Helens to clinch the Super League Leaders’ Shield at Magic Weekend in Newcastle.
The French team went from 30 to 12 to tie after 80 minutes with three tries converted into five minutes and send the game into overtime.
Veteran half-back James Maloney, who retires at the end of the season, went on to win the game with a 40-meter drop goal over eight minutes in overtime to ensure the Perpignan club finish the season in the lead. for the first time. in their 16-year history.
The Dragons scored the first down in the third minute when a Sam Tomkins dummy allowed him to breach the St Helens defense, with the conversion of Maloney.
Mark Percival was sent to the trash two minutes later for a tall order over Tomkins and the Catalans looked to use the extra man to their advantage, but Fouad Yaha was tackled by Lachlan Coote just inches from the line. goal.
The Saints received a 12th-minute penalty after a charge from Mike McMeeken.
Tommy Makinson claimed a try for St Helens, rushing down the right wing and pinning the ball in the corner, but Coote failed with the conversion attempt.
St Helens hit the ground again in the 19th minute when Percival handed the ball over to Coote to score and he also added the conversion to bring the score to 10-6.
Sione Mata’utia got the Saints’ next try on a short ball and Coote converted.
The Catalans saw Maloney dumped shortly before the break for a shoulder charge on Joe Batchelor. Coote converted the subsequent penalty for St Helens to take an 18-6 lead in the interval.
The French team nearly scored early in the second half when Michael McIlorum handed the ball to Gil Dudson, but he failed to touch the ground.
Mata’utia got his second try of the game in the 49th minute, beating two Catalan players and finding space to collide before diving in to score, with Coote converting.
St Helens had a chance to extend their lead but Makinson’s try was called off for a double move.
Julian Bousquet replaced the Catalans in the 58th minute after leaping forward and planting the ball between the posts and Maloney converted.
Both teams saw plenty of the ball as the half progressed, but the Saints got the next try after taking possession of Mata’utia, who sprinted down the pitch to put pressure on the Catalans and Morgan Knowles scored in the 70th minute with a successful conversion from Coote.
The Dragons didn’t let their heads drop and made a stunning comeback, with three tries in the final five minutes to take the game into overtime.
Dean Whare got the first goal in the 75th minute, Dudson added another soon after and Sam Kasiano completed the comeback as Maloney secured a hat-trick in successful conversions.
Samisoni Langi was carried off the field on a stretcher in the last minute of overtime after a challenge from Agnatius Paasi who saw him sent to the trash.
Coote attempted a drop goal in the second half of overtime, but missed the shot, and soon after, Maloney scored with his 40-yard effort for a dramatic and historic victory.