Halifax 0 Catalans Dragons 24: Depleted visitors too strong for Fax

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Catalans Dragons overcame playing a quarter of the game with 12 men to ease their relegation fears with an initially hard-fought yet ultimately comfortable 24-0 victory at Halifax.

It was the Dragons’ second win in four games in the Betfred Super Eight Qualifiers, and much needed in their quest to extend their 12-year stay in the top flight after losing at home to Leigh in their previous encounter.

Halifax remain pointless and bottom of the Qualifiers table, having lost all four of their matches so far, albeit all against full-time opposition.

The Super League side from Perpignan, fresh from a three-day high-altitude training camp in the Pyrenees a week beforehand, were subjected to huge waves of pressure in the opening half.

James Saltonstall and Ben Heaton both came within a metre of scoring in either corner, only to be successively forced into touch by the visitors’ scramble defence.

Justin Horo went close, just failing to chase a neat grubber from Luke Walsh at the other end.

A quarter of an hour before half-time, with the deadlock still not broken, Greg Bird was sin-binned for Catalans for a spear tackle on Heaton. Almost immediately the 12-man Dragons had a chance to take the lead but Walsh was wayward with a penalty 30 from metres out.

A couple of minutes later Walsh made partial amends when his floated cross-field kick was not dealt with by the Halifax defence and Louis Anderson pounced to put the visitors ahead.

Horo then broke free for Richie Myler to cross beside the posts and Walsh’s second successful conversion doubled the lead.

Catalans added a brace of further tries after the interval.

Just three minutes into he second half on-loan Wigan winger Lewis Tierney broke free down the left for the supporting Brayden Wiliame to score, with Walsh again adding the extras.

Tempers flared on the hour leading to Ben Johnston and Vincent Duport, who remains just one short of equalling Catalans’ try-scoring record, both being sin-binned for fighting.

Catalans exploited the extra space to score again through Fouad Yaha in the corner, with Walsh’s fourth successful conversion ensuring the French side victory.