Maloney field-goal seals extraordinary win for Catalans

Catalans Dragons won what might be the most extraordinary game in Magic Weekend history when James Maloney landed a field-goal in the eighth minute of golden-point time to secure a 31-30 victory over St Helens.

But that is only a small part of the story.

St Helens went into the final five minutes of the match 30-12 ahead with the game clearly over, at least in their minds.

Even when Dean Whare scored on 76 minutes, with Maloney converting, no one really thought it was anything other than a consolation try.

But alarm bells were ringing for St Helens two minutes later, when Gil Dudson took a great offload from Arthur Mourgue, with Maloney’s goal reducing the deficit to six points.

And then, almost unbelievably, the Catalans played the ball with three seconds remaining and the hooter went before Josh Drinkwater launched a high kick to the Saints line towards a group of players with Sam Kasiano in the centre of them. Kasiano caught the ball and touched it down for an easy conversion for Maloney to level the scores.

Saints went into the golden point period clearly looking shocked by the Dragons’ comeback.

Tommy Makinson then missed a drop-goal attempt in the first five minutes, before Lachlan Coote also failed in the second half of golden-point time.

And then it was Maloney’s turn. And he made no mistake, landing the 30th field-goal of his career to claim an astonishing victory.

Earlier, the Catalans had taken an early lead through a brilliant Sam Tomkins try after only three minutes.

But then St Helens took over, scoring three first-half tries through Makinson, Coote and Sione Mata’utia to lead 18-6 at half-time.

Mata’utia then added a second try on 47 minutes to push Saints out to an 18-point lead before Julian Bousquet grabbed one back for the Dragons.

But when Morgan Knowles added St Helens’ fifth try on 69 minutes to restore the 18-point advantage, the Saints’ fans could have been forgiven for heading to the exits, convinced that the job had been done.

Unfortunately for them, the Dragons showed that the job was still unfinished.

Saints: T – Makinson (13), Coote (19), Mata’utia (35, 47), Knowles (69); G – Coote 5/6
Dragons: T – S Tomkins (3), Bousquet (57), Whare (76), Dudson (78), Kasiano (80); G – Maloney 5/5; FG – Maloney (88)
Half-time 18-6

A full report, photos and reaction from this and all the Magic Weekend games will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express