WARRINGTON Wolves bounced back from successive defeats to beat Catalan Dragons and become only the third side to win at Stade Gilbert Brutus in Super League this season.
Michael Monaghan’s try gave Wolves a brief lead but Michael Oldfield replied before Gene Ormsby sent Wolves in ahead at the break.
Rhys Evans and Joel Monaghan crossed after the interval for Wolves, but Gregory Mounis’ score and Oldfield completing his hat-trick kept things tight.
Evans knocked on as he attempted to gather a high kick from Leon Pryce and Catalan were awarded the scrum, but a Ben Pomeroy fumble returned possession to Wolves two minutes in.
Three minutes later and Wolves were nearly the first to cross, but Evans was again unable to gather in the wet conditions.
The winger did well to reach Michael Monaghan’s deft grubber but was unable to ground under pressure from the Catalan defence.
Both sides were struggling to hold onto the ball in first 10 minutes with Thomas Bosc the next to watch a simple pass slip from his grasp.
Wolves took possession and worked their way towards Dragons’ line before a Pryce infringement handed Tony Smith’s side a penalty.
Anthony England took the first ball from Richie Myler but the former Championship player was grounded two metres short.
Michael Monaghan picked up and went himself to roll three defenders and mark his return from a seven-game absence with the first try of the game. Chris Bridge added the extras.
But on 14 minutes the hosts hit back following another dropped ball, this time from Myler. Catalan worked the ball right and Elliot Whitehead’s pass found Oldfield via the turf for the Australian’s 14th try of the season.
Bosc converted from wide out.
Morgan Escare took a great catch from a Gareth O’Brien bomb at one end and was next to cross at the other, but his forceful pass had rebounded forward off the arms of Zeb Taia.
On 26 minutes Wolves’ most fluent move of the match almost had O’Brien through with men in support, but an ankle tap caught the breaking half-back.
Warrington were beginning to find a more sustained period of pressure and a side-footed grubber kick from Myler had Catalan back-pedalling and resulted in a goal-line drop out.
With three minutes of the half remaining Joel Monaghan took a quick tap from a penalty and attempted to drive Wolves forward.
Myler was tackled short of the line but Michael Monaghan was in for a quick play-the-ball to send Ormsby in at the corner for his 13th try of the season. Bridge converted from a difficult angle.
Two minutes into the second half Myler charged down Escare’s kick and did well to gather but from the play-the-ball Joel Monaghan appeared to be hurt in a high tackle.
Wolves’ top try scorer returned to his feet and Bridge opted to kick the penalty and increase the visitors’ lead to eight points.
The slippery conditions were still causing problems for both sets of players and after Simon grix had spilled forward Bosc took the opportunity to break.
The half-back showed his footballing skills by twice kicking on, but Myler recovered with the help of Joel Monaghan.
Moments later Catalan and again took to the kick to break Wolves’ line, but after an awkward bounce O’Brien beat Whitehead to his own grubber, confirmed by the video referee.
However, on 47 minutes a controversial play-the-ball allowed Mounis to pick up from and drive between the posts from close range. Bosc converted.
Referee Richard Silverwood went to the video referee again on 50 minutes as from a Myler kick Joel Monaghan palmed down into the path of Paul Wood.
The ball hit the powerful forward on the head and bounced over the line, but Wood was pulled back by Daryl Millard and a penalty awarded to Wolves.
Wolves thought they had furthered their lead three minutes late as Bridge, in a centre in Ryan Atkins’ absence, found space to deliver a perfectly weighted kick into the path of Evans.
The Welsh winger was convinced he had grounded with a determined dive and was proved correct on the video. Bridge crossed the 1,000-point mark for Wolves with his fourth conversion of the night.
Trent Waterhouse, returning from a lengthy lay off, was penalised for not releasing, but on the fifth tackle Ormsby scampered across to dive on Bosc’s kick and stop Louis Anderson from grounding.
But on the hour-mark the hosts replied with a move through hands finding Escare, who fed Pomeroy and he passed wide for Oldfield to stretch over for his second. Bosc added the extras.
Five minutes later and Wolves had re-established their lead thanks to great reactions from Ratchford.
The former Salford man was first to gather the bouncing ball after O’Brien’s kick ricocheted inside Catalan’s 10 metre line.
Ratchford side-stepped into space before giving a no-look pass for Joel Monaghan to finish his 27th of the season and leave Bridge a simple conversion.
If the first half had been slow and lacking fluency, the second kept on producing tries and another excellent kick from Bosc allowed Oldfield to dive over for his hat-trick nine minutes from time.
The 30-year-old then reduced Wolves’ lead to two points with a difficult conversion.
Escare punched the ball dead as Joel Monaghan took chase late on, but Wolves were able to hang on and ensure they head into next Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi final on the back of a win.