Catalans Dragons 14 Wakefield 16: Perfect start continues for Trinity

David Fifita.
David Fifita.
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Wakefield maintained their perfect start to the Betfred Super League season after overturning a half-time deficit to pip Catalans Dragons 16-14 in Perpignan.

Trinity had beaten Hull KR in their season-opener and Salford two weeks ago but Benjamin Garcia’s try plus a conversion and two penalties from Lucas Albert lifted Catalans into a 10-8 lead at the interval.

But David Fifita crossed the whitewash for Wakefield’s third try, following first-half scores from Reece Lyne and Tom Johnstone, while Liam Finn’s penalty and conversion meant Lewis Tierney’s touchdown was ultimately scant consolation.

Wakefield join St Helens on six points in the embryonic standings and they, along with defending champions Leeds, are the only unbeaten teams this year.

The visitors were dealt an early blow when they lost hooker Kyle Wood to injury after only three minutes but they started brightly at the Stade Gilbert Brutus, taking the lead after a quarter of an hour when Lyne burst through an attempted Sam Moa tackle to dot down.

Finn was unable to split the posts with his conversion but Albert made no mistake with his attempt in the 27th minute after Greg Bird teed up Garcia to go over on the left edge.

Catalans extended their lead on the half hour to four points with Albert adding a penalty goal.

But the scrum-half’s attempted drop goal three minutes later was charged down and the ball collected by Pauli Pauli before being quickly worked to Johnstone, who raced down the left touchline to score Wakefield’s second try.

Finn once again failed to add the extras and that was compounded when Wakefield conceded a penalty for a ball steal on the stroke of half-time, allowing Albert to score his third goal of the evening.

Catalans started the second half as they finished the first, attacking the Wakefield line, Julian Bousquet was held up over the line, as were Bird and David Mead moments later.

Wakefield’s stout defence proved crucial as they burst forward and although Fifita seemed to be halted before crossing the line, the tackle was not completed and the Tongan prop regained his feet before racing over to score to the left of the posts in the 51st minute.

Finn added the conversion to register his 500th point in Super League and then slotted home a penalty five minutes later to give Wakefield a 16-10 advantage.

With 15 minutes remaining, Tierney scored the second Catalans try of the night following a smart pass from Mead but Albert’s missed conversion would prove costly.

Catalans continued to attack the Wakefield line in the dying moments, with Tony Gigot - returning to action after winning his appeal against a two-year ban imposed by the French anti-doping authority - unable to gather in Bird’s kick to the right edge.

In the last minute a Mead knock-on confirmed the defeat for the home side.