THE Wire had no right to win this game – but they left Perpignan thinking they should have done.

One point is a slender lead to protect with 30 seconds left on the clock, let alone 10 minutes, but the issues that have proven troublesome for them all season – arguably longer – reared their ugly head once again.

> Steve Price's thoughts on Wire's first defeat of the season

> Mike Boden's match action picture gallery

> A look back at the game as it happened

> Wire fans soak up the sun in Perpignan

In their attempts to slow down a ruck made lightning quick by the work of the Catalans forwards, Warrington’s efforts often incurred the ire of referee Robert Hicks and ultimately, it was one of those penalties that won the game for the hosts.

On the balance, though, you would have to say the Dragons deserved their victory. Indeed it is to Wolves’ credit that they worked themselves back into a winning position after a truly shocking first half.

After Catalans got points on the board with their first set in possession, things rarely got better for Warrington before the interval.

Old adversary Sam Tomkins was running the show, aided and abetted by a punishing display from Steve McNamara’s forward pack.

The Wire were struggling to cope and found themselves pinned down when they had the ball – rarely able to penetrate the brick wall Catalans erected in front of them.

When they did have moments of joy, Blake Austin was at the heart of it more often than not.

A scintillating break with the score at 6-0 should have led to a try for Tom Lineham, but the winger’s knock-on was symptomatic of the handling problems Warrington’s outside backs seemed to have.

The tactic was clear – give the ball some air and get it to the edges quickly to move the Dragons giants around – but their execution was often found wanting.

However, having gone in at half time thankful to still be in touch, everything seemed to change.

They gained more control of the ruck and the bench trio of Jason Clark, Joe Philbin and Ben Murdoch-Masila gave them more punch up front.

If the tries scored by Daryl Clark and Ryan Atkins were typical of the players themselves, Dec Patton’s effort owed much to a stunning flicked offload from Chris Hill.


Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Had Wolves held on for victory, that is what would have been remembered – such a piece of individual skill arguably deserved to win any game.

Sadly, it did not and The Wire were left to lick their wounds – but they must do so quickly.

Castleford’s arrival at The Halliwell Jones Stadium is just around the corner and another defeat – especially to a rival for silverware – would risk their good work in the season’s opening weeks unravelling further.

Three wins from four games is not to be sniffed at and the Stade Gilbert Brutus is an incredibly difficult place to play as an away side, but The Wire will not be able to help but wonder what might have been.


. Wire’s first defeat of 2019 season

. Chris Hill makes 200th Super League appearance

. Dec Patton scores first try of season


Super League, Round Four

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Catalans Dragons…23 Warrington Wolves…22

Dragons: Sam Tomkins; Fouad Yaha, Samisoni Langi, Brayden Wiliame, Lewis Tierney; Tony Gigot, Matty Smith; Mickael Simon, Michael McIlorum, Sam Moa, Kenny Edwards, Benjamin Jullien, Remi Casty. Subs: Matt Whitley, Mickael Goudemand, Antoni Maria, Jason Baitieri

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Josh Charnley, Ryan Atkins, Bryson Goodwin, Tom Lineham; Blake Austin, Dec Patton; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Jack Hughes, Toby King, Lama Tasi. Subs: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Joe Philbin, Jason Clark, Jake Mamo

Scoring: Wiliame try, 3mins, Tomkins goal, 6-0; Edwards try, 14mins, Tomkins goal, 12-0; Tomkins penalty, 19mins, 14-0; Ratchford try, 35mins, Ratchford goal, 14-6; Gigot drop goal, 39mins, 15-6; D Clark try, 46mins, Ratchford goal, 15-12; Atkins try, 58mins, 15-16; Casty try, 63mins, Tomkins goal, 21-16; Patton try, 68mins, Ratchford goal, 21-22; Tomkins penalty, 75mins, 23-22

Penalties: Dragons 8 Wolves 3

Referee: Robert Hicks

Attendance: 8,158