Coach Chris Chester said he was “disappointed and embarrassed” by his team’s performance and apologised to the large number of Trinity supporters who had made the trip to Perpignan.
“I really feel for the Wakefield fans that have turned up tonight,” said Chester.
“It’s a long way to come, an expensive trip, and we’ve let them down.”
Both teams struggled with 34-degree heat and humidity and the game paused regularly for water-breaks but the Dragons seemed to cope better in the conditions.
A hat-trick of tries from winger Jodie Broughton and a fierce display from fellow Yorkshireman Michael McIlorum ensured victory for a Catalans side who had previously lost six games in a row.
“Catalans were a desperate team tonight,” said Chester.
“They were dominant from the start and for the full eighty minutes. They completely out-enthused us.
“Ninety-five per cent of this game is about attitude and we weren’t where we needed to be.
“We knew how important the first 15 minutes of that game was going to be, especially in this heat, and we just capitulated to be honest.
“It’s really disappointing and embarrassing. We got out-muscled, out-thought, out-coached and it’s back to the drawing board because that performance wasn’t acceptable.
“We made too many errors and there were too many individuals out there today that were performing at two or three out of ten. It’s not good enough. We need guys playing at eight, nine out of 10.
“Myself and the coaching staff have got to take some of the flak because we got a few things wrong as well.”
Chester said scrum-half Danny Brough will undergo scans for a suspected pectoral injury and prop David Fifita was “running around on one leg.” Both look doubtful for Friday night’s home game against local rivals Castleford Tigers.
Chester added: “The players know how important the derby game is. We’ve not beaten them for a while. But those individuals who were poor tonight have got to put in a massive game on Friday night. That’s if they get another chance.”
They didn’t have much chance in the blistering cauldron of Stade Gilbert Brutus as the Dragons turned up the heat.
Broughton was first over the line after intense pressure on the Wakefield defence then Matt Whitley burst through the middle of the field to put Catalans ahead 10-0 after 15 minutes.
David Mead then raced 40 metres to put Samisoni Langi in under the posts as Wakefield’s defence melted away.
Trinity rallied briefly when centre Reece Lyne scored in the 26th minute but a second try for Broughton made it 20-6 at half-time.
The former Huddersfield and Salford winger completed his hat-trick after the break, picking up a loose ball in the left corner then Huddersfield target Kenny Edwards danced through the defence to make it 32-6.
A rampaging run by Sam Kasiano allowed Tony Gigot to stroll over the line and he scored a second try after great approach work by Broughton and Brayden Wiliame.
There was a consolation try two minutes from the end for Bill Tupou after great handling from Jacob Miller and Ryan Hampshire but Wakefield had little else to offer as players yearned for the final hooter and a cold shower.
Catalans coach Steve McNamara paid tribute to both teams: “It was an inferno out there so it’s a tribute to both sets of players who played in extreme circumstances.
“That was hot and even though we dealt with it better than the opposition all the players deserve credit for playing hard in those conditions.”
Catalans Dragons: Tomkins, Broughton, Mead, Wiliame, Romano, Langi, Gigot, Bousquet, McIlorum, Simon, Whitley, Garcia, Casty. Subs: Edwards, Albert, Maria, Kasiano.
Wakefield Trinity: Hampshire, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel,Tupou, Miller, Brough, Fifita, Randell, Kopczak, Pauli, Tanganoa, Crowther. Subs: Wood, Hirst, King, Gwaze.
Referee: Liam Moore.