Catalans Dragons pulled clear of the bottom four with a 32-24 victory this afternoon at the Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan.
Todd Carney was back from injury for the Dragons, who were giving a debut to local youngster Fouad Yaha on the left wing, while the Robins were giving a debut to Dane Tilse, their new prop forward signed from Canberra Raiders.
The Dragons took the lead in the seventh minute, when Ian Henderson fed Jason Baitieri near the line, and Thomas Bosc added the goal.
Soon afterwards they could have been in again, but Elliott Whitehead couldn’t take a bullet pass from Carney.
And the Robins drew level after twelve minutes, when Maurice Blair broke through some weak defence from Bosc and Damien Cardace, with Josh Mantellato’s conversion putting the sides level.
And the Robins took the lead soon afterwards when Mantellato added a penalty.
They could have gone even further ahead when Albert Kelly intercepted a pass from Ian Henderson and raced to the line, but Morgan Escaré just managed to get to him to stop him touching down.
Kelly then played a key role when Ben Cockayne scored in the right corner after some beautiful passing, but Mantellato’s conversion attempt hit the post.
The Dragons drew level on 29 minutes, however, when Gadwin Springer reached out to score, with Bosc converting, and they took the lead seven minutes later when a fine offload by Whitehead led to a try in the corner for Michael Oldfield, although Bosc’s conversion attempt also hit the post.
The Dragons moved further ahead in the 43rd minute, when Eloi Pelissier picked up from dummy-half and dashed over. Bosc’s goal made the score 22-12.
The Robins fought back when Kevin Larroyer made a great break, and Kieran Dixon was in support to touch down, with Mantellato again adding the goal.
Larroyer then had a hand in a Catalans try, when he deflected an offload by Carney, and Benjamin Garcia collected the ball and showed great footwork to get over the line, with Bosc’s goal restoring a ten-point advantage.
Ben Cockayne was unlucky to be brought back for a forward pass when he was over the line, and the Dragons went 14 points clear when another smart Carney pass put Whitehead over the line.
The Robins got a late try when Mantellato touched down a Dixon kick to the corner, and he converted the try to make the final score 32-24.
A full report and photographs will feature in Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.