BEFORE descending into chaos at the death, there was a match full of incident and frustration.

A feisty, spiteful, intimidatory undertone to the whole affair between Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves in Perpignan on Saturday finally ended with four yellow cards and two red ones.

Had referee James Child and his assistant officials not missed other shenanigans, there could have been more.

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It was fire matching fire in the physicality stakes, but the hosts certainly got away with some rough-house tactics in their own backyard – knees to the head, high tackles, facial treatment, dangerous body positioning.

Several exchanges heated over before the ugly mass brawl at the end, which preceded violence in the stands.

Catalans hooker Micky McIlorum, who had been sin-binned with Wire co-captain Chris Hill in the first half after a flare-up, was shown a red card for the high tackle on Sitaleki Akauola that sparked it all.

So too was his former Wigan teammate Sam Tomkins for punching Jake Mamo, who was shown his second yellow of the game for putting his head in the Catalans full-back’s face.

Mamo’s first spell in the sin-bin, after a sensational try-saving effort from distance on David Mead was spoilt with a ball steal following the tackle being completed, ultimately led to Catalans winning the game in the final 15 minutes.

They extended their six-point lead to 24-10 at that time, 12-man Wire not helping themselves with the succession of penalties conceded – Dec Patton being the worst culprit.

It is actually testament to the fitness of Steve Price’s men that they were still in the game at three-quarter time in the intense 32 degrees heat after having overdone things in defence in the first half through persistent poor ball control.

Wire’s try-line defence in particular was outstanding and needed to be as waves of attacks were rebuffed, Ben Currie, Stefan Ratchford, Jason Clark and the starting front row particularly catching the eye.

A setback was suffered in losing the services of marquee half-back Blake Austin, who was carried off with an ankle injury, after 25 minutes yet it was after his exit that Mamo crossed for a levelling try following superb approach work by Patton and Toby King.

Then at the start of the second half a superb pass across the face of Akauola allowed Hill to crash over and give his side the lead for the first and only time.

That was as good as it got though ahead of the madness that will mean ramifications for both clubs for some time to come.


. Tom Lineham’s 100th game for Wire

. Blake Austin’s 250th career appearance

. Wire’s fifth loss in seven Super League games

. Defeat confirms St Helens as League Leaders’ Shield winners


Super League Round 24, Saturday, August 3, 2019

Catalans Dragons…30 Warrington Wolves…10

Dragons: Sam Tomkins; David Mead, Samisoni Langi, Brayden Wiliame, Fouad Yaha; Greg Bird, Tony Gigot; Julian Bousquet, Micky McIlorum, Mickael Simon, Matt Whitley, Ben Garcia, Remi Casty. Subs: Kenny Edwards, Alrix Da Costa, Sam Kasiano.

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Jake Mamo, Toby King, Bryson Goodwin, Tom Lineham; Blake Austin, Dec Patton; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Jack Hughes, Ben Currie, Jason Clark. Subs: Joe Philbin, Sitaleki Akauola, Harvey Livett, Matt Davis

Scoring: Tomkins penalty, 11mins, 2-0; Tomkins penalty, 16mins, 4-0; Mamo try, 25mins, 4-4; Yaha try, 34mins, 8-4; Hill try, 43mins, Ratchford goal, 8-10; Mead try, 54mins, Tomkins goal, 14-10; Tomkins penalty, 58mins, 16-10; Tomkins penalty, 67mins, 18-10; Whitley try, 72mins, Tomkins goal, 24-10; Gigot try, Tomkins goal, 30-10.

Penalties: Catalans 12 Wolves 11

Sent off: McIlorum, high tackle, 80mins; Tomkins, punching, 80mins

Sin bin: Hill, high tackle, 16mins; McIlorum, retaliation, 16mins; Mamo, ball steal, 64mins; Mamo, fighting, 80mins.

Referee: James Child

Attendance: 9,634

Top man: Daryl Clark