Warrington too good for the depleted Dragons

Warrington Wolves had to come from behind twice in the game to secure a well earned, and well needed, victory.

The Dragons' away record now stretches to only one win in eight; a trend they need to reverse immediately with three of their final six weekly round games being played away from the south of France.

Warrington started in the manner which they ended the game against St. Helens  - poorly - with the kick off from Gareth O'Brien landing out on the full. Early pressure came from the Dragons, and  in the fifth minute, when a kick was collected by Ratchford, Elliot Whitehead was on hand to knock the ball free in the tackle for centre Tony Gigot to collect and race under the posts.

Video referees Phil Bentham and George Stokes ruled the ball came away legally and the try was awarded. Dureau converted to give Catalans a 6-0 lead. 

The game went back and forth for the majority of the first half, with both sides lacking a solid structure in attack. Knock ons ensued, with Warrington perhaps getting the better of field position. An Elliot Whitehead intercept on his own line sent Scott Dureau racing away, but a wild pass in an attempt to find his winger only put the ball into touch. He then missed a penalty conversion from 40m out and on the touchline in the 18th minute. 

Warrington continued their pressure on the Catalans line, who were at this point struggling to make any metres down field when they had the ball in hand. A good passage of play from Warrington, who looked to be finding a much needed attacking structure, found Currie in open space and raced to the line. O'Brien levelled the scores at 6-6 with 23 minutes played.

On the 30th minute, the Wolves finding themselves once more on their oppositions' try line, a deflected kick from hooker Clark fell into Richie Myler's hands who, sending a looping pass towards the left, found Ryan Atkins in space, and he beat three men to put the Wolves in front. O'Brien converted for the home side to lead 12-6. A missed drop goal from Ratchford meant the sides left the field for half time under that score.

For all the caginess and rigidity in the attack of the first half, the second half opened with both sides now looking to play more expansive, not afraid to throw an offload; often times irrelevant as to field position.

The first points fell back to the Dragons, with substitute Eloi Pelissier fooling all the defenders with an over-exaggerated dummy to race to the line from 10m out unchallenged. Dureau brought the scores level with the conversion: 12-12 after 49 minutes. 

Two minutes later and the visiting side were in again, with Catalans offloading the ball at will near the Wolves' line, and sending NRL bound Whitehead over with three men on his back in the right-hand corner. Dureau slotted the more difficult of his three conversions over: 12-18 after 51 minutes. On the subsequent set, the game should have been all but won for the Dragons, as fullback Escare cruised through a gap, on what should have been ruled a forward pass, but justice was served as his pass to winger Yaha only found Warrington hands.

The Wolves took advantage of this act of providence, and their first real attacking structure - the ball being moved through the hands of the scrum half, stand off, and full back - put Atkins in for his second try of the game. O'Brien missed the conversion, and the Dragons still led 16-18 with 57 minutes played. 

As quickly in succession as the Dragons had been scoring, Warrington equalled the feat, as Chris Bridge eased past the defenders as though the red carpet had been rolled out for him and his 50th career try, and the Wolves led once more: 22-18 with the try converted. 

The away side would not score for the rest of the game, now, and it fell to Currie to score the final, and perhaps the best, try of the game. A kick easily collected by winger Gene Ormsby put man of the match Ratchford through on an angled run, who in turn offloaded to Currie to cruise down the line for his second of the night. The conversion was missed but it mattered little, as the Dragons could muster neither the energy nor the prowess to mount any sort of challenge in the closing minutes. Warrington missed a penalty as good as on the siren, and the Wolves ran out victors 26-18.

Warrington coach Tony Smith was quick to comment on the way his side turned the game around, saying: "I'm really proud of my boys to hang on and dig in and do what they did to scramble when they were behind. You might say we dodged a bullet but I thought we handled those situations exceptionally well."

Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous summed up the efforts of his team saying: "We talked about creating opportunities and we did well against a good team like Warrington away from home but couldn't finish them. We earned the right to play tonight but not the right to win."

The teams:

Warrington - Ratchford, Monaghan (c), Bridge, Atkins, Ormsby, O'Brien, Myler, Hill, Clark, Sims, Currie, Westwood, Harrison (subs) Laithwaite, England, Dwyer, King
Tries: Currie (2), Atkins (2), Hill
Goals: O'Brien (3)

Catalans - Escare, Oldfield, Gigot, Pomeroy, Yaha, Robin, Dureau, Elima, Henderson, Casty (c), Taia, Whitehead, Batiari (subs) Anderson, Pelissier, Bousquet, Maria
Tries: Gigot, Pelissier, Whitehead
Goals: Dureau (3)

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