Castleford Tigers were left searching for their first Super League win as after a narrow loss in France.
The visitors drew first blood through Justin Carney’s try but the Dragons seized the initiative through second-half scores from Morgan Escare and Elliott Whitehead.
Jordan Tansey’s try drew the visitors level at 12-12 with seven minutes to go and set up a grandstand finish before Scott Dureau settled matters with a drop-goal that went over off the post.
Castleford have now lost both of their opening Super League matches by a combined total of three points – having squandered a 22-6 lead against Wakefield in a 24-22 defeat last weekend.
And this latest setback was tough to take for Tigers coach Daryl Powell. “I thought we deserved something out of the game to be honest,” he said.
“In the second half we couldn’t quite get our game together, which was disappointing. We weren’t the smartest team of footballers out there today as a team but we certainly were one of the most committed.”
Powell felt his side should have taken advantage when Catalans were reduced to 11 men following a fracas that saw Olivier Elima and Eloi Pelissier and Castleford centre Jake Webster sent to the sin bin.
The Tigers were winning 6-0 before the incident but Escare’s converted try and a penalty from Dureau put the Dragons ahead before the yellow-carded trio returned to action.
“I thought we were great in lots of ways but just lost our composure at the key moment within the game, especially when Catalans were down to 11 men,” added Powell. “We should have come out of that in front and as it happened, we came out of that two points behind.”
Catalans Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous paid tribute to the returning Dureau. He made his first Super League appearance in almost 12 months but has been largely out of action for almost two years due to ill-health.
“Scotty has had a tough last two years, he has come back and said to me that he wants to repay the club,” said Frayssinous. “He has shown how tough he is as a person, he has come back from a lot of adversity and shown character to perform like that.”
Catalans Dragons: Escare, Oldfield, Pomeroy, Tonga, Duport, Bosc, Dureau, Lima, Henderson, Anderson, Taia, Whitehead, Mounis. Substitutes: Elima, Pelissier, Garcia, Baitieri.
Castleford: Tansey, Solomona, Channing, Shenton, Carney, Roberts, Gale, Lynch, S. Moore, Millington, O. Holmes, Moors, Massey. Substitutes: Webster, Wheeldon, Finn, Crossley.
Referee: J Child (RFL).