Carney debuts as Catalans overcome Wolves in Perpignan

Todd Carney may not have scored on his debut today for the Catalans Dragons, but his presence in the team at stand-off alongside scrum-half Scott Dureau looks as though it will have a big impact on the Dragons’ prospects in 2015 as they earned a convincing 38-18 victory over the Wolves.

The Dragons took an 18-0 lead at the break with tries by Willie Tonga, Michael Oldfield and Vincent Duport, with Dureau converting all three, although the most crucial moment of the first half came on 23 minutes, when the Catalans were leading 6-0 and fullback Morgan Escaré cleverly held up Chris Hill when the big prop forward had got over the line.

Warrington threatened to come back into the game in the first ten minutes of the second half, when they scored tries by Joel Monaghan and Gary Wheeler, both of which were converted by Gareth O’Brien.

The Dragons refused to panic, however, and Dureau added a penalty for a high tackle by Micky Higham on Ian Henderson.

The crucial score came in the 59th minute from Zeb Taia, from a great pass by Dureau after the Dragons had broken downfield from their own line through brilliant play by Escaré and Oldfield when Matty Russell had lost the ball near the Dragons line.

Dureau’s conversion extended the lead to 14 points, and Taia went in again when he supported Carney’s outrageous dummy and break.

The Wolves scored a consolation try by impressive youngster Joe Philbin, but the Dragons had the last laugh when Oldfield touched down a Dureau kick to the corner. Dureau landed all seven of his goal attempts, while O’Brien did the same with three conversions for the Wolves.

A full report and photographs from this game will feature in Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.