Catalans Dragons 22 Huddersfield Giants 12: Giants suffer second-half collapse

David Mead scored four second-half tries as Catalans Dragons ended their Super League season with a 22-12 win over Huddersfield.

Huddersfield Giants coach Simon Woolford.
Huddersfield Giants coach Simon Woolford.

Twins Louis and Innes Senior’s tries gave the Giants a 12-0 half-time lead but Mead hit back in style after the break.

The game had a real end-of-season feel to proceedings as the home side took the opportunity to rest some of their stars following a season that saw them become the first side outside of the UK to win the Challenge Cup.

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Huddersfield put out as strong a side as possible, with Ryan Hinchcliffe starting for his final game before retirement.

And they started brightly, Lee Gaskill breaking through the Catalans defence before drawing the full-back and handing the ball on to the supporting Louis Senior who touched down. Danny Brough added the conversion to give the visitors an early four-point advantage.

Catalans refused to lie down, marching upfield to test the Huddersfield defence, and Mead and Brayden Williame both went close to scoring but were denied by a matter of inches.

The home side thought they had scored through Remi Casty in the 17th minute, the Catalans captain touching down Josh Drinkwater’s grubber, but the video referee ruled Casty offside following a number of viewings and the try was ruled out.

Huddersfield extended their lead in the 22nd minute as Innes Senior touched down. Brough missed the conversion but added his second goal of the game five minutes later, Casty penalised for a high tackle and Brough adding the resulting penalty from 10 metres out.

In the closing minutes of the half Oliver Roberts looked certain to extend the Giants’ lead but lost possession in the act of scoring and it remained 12-0 at half-time.

A 40-20 from Brough put Huddersfield on the front foot at the start of the second half and they attacked the Catalans line relentlessly, but some desperate last-gasp defending kept them at bay.

Catalans got their reward when Mead latched onto Drinkwater’s inside pass to touch down in the 50th minute and Lucas Albert added the conversion.

The comeback looked to have hit the rails five minutes later when Lambert Belmas was sent to the sin-bin following a dangerous tackle but short of the hour, Catalans levelled the game. Samisoni Langi’s chip to the corner was tapped back by Williame into the arms of Mead, who collected and touched down to score.

With 15 minutes remaining both sides had men sent to the sin-bin for a brawl, Mickael Simon for the home side and Hinchcliffe for the visitors.

Drinkwater’s chip over the top then saw Mead collect and touch down for his hat-trick, and Albert’s third conversion gave the hosts a six-point advantage.

Catalans sealed the win with Mead’s fourth try of the game three minutes from time, Benjamin Jullien sending him over in the corner. Louis Anderson missed the conversion attempt from the touchline.