All the attention was on Israel Folau for today’s Betfred Super League game at the Stade Gilbert Brutus, as the former Aussie rugby union star made his debut wearing squad number 4 for the Catalans Dragons.
Folau scored a try, but he was outshone by his fellow Dragons’ star Sam Tomkins, who scored a stunning hat-trick in the Dragons’ 36-18 victory.
And the Dragons made a blistering start against Castleford Tigers, with fullback Sam Tomkins scoring after only two minutes, and Folau scoring his first try for the club after just ten minutes, when he caught a high ball and touched down, with James Maloney converting both tries to give the Dragons a12-0 lead.
The Tigers fought back with a try for Derrell Olpherts, who raced the length of the field to touch down, with Danny Richardson converting to halve the Dragons’ lead.
However, the Catalans moved further ahead when Maloney added a penalty and then Fouad Yaha made a long break before popping up a ball for Samisoni Langi touch down, with Maloney’s conversion putting the Dragons 20-6 ahead.
The Tigers were in no mood to give in, however, and just before the break they hit back when Cheyse Blair forced his way over, with Richardson converting to reduce the margin to eight points.
Sam Tomkins went in for his second converted try on 50 minutes and the Tigers’ woes increased when Olpherts was sin-binned four minutes later.
It didn’t take the Dragons long to extend their lead to 30-12, when Yaha touched down following good work by Sam Tomkins and Samisoni Langi, with Maloney missing the conversion for the first time.
The Tigers were still in the battle, however, and on 65 minutes Richardson cleverly made a try for winger James Clare, with Richardson adding the goal to make it 30-18.
With eight minutes remaining Sam Tomkins missed a field-goal attempt, but with three minutes to go he went in for his hat-trick try to secure the Dragons’ first win of the season, while the Tigers’ suffered their first defeat after winning their first two matches of the season.
Dragons: S Tomkin, Tierney, Langi, Folau, Yaha, Maloney, Drinkwater, Casty, McIlorum, Bousquet, Whitley, J Tomkins, Garcia; Subs: Jullien, Maria, Baitieri, Kasiano
Tries: S Tomkins 3, Folau, Langi, Yaha Goals: Maloney 6
Tigers: Rankin, Olpherts, Blair, Shenton, Clare, Trueman, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Griffin, Holmes, Millington, Massey; Subs: McMeeken, Smith, O’Neill, Hepi
Tries: Olpherts, Blair, Clare Goals: Richardson 3
A full report and photos from this game will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express