Super League: Catalans Dragons 13-12 Castleford Tigers
|Catalans Dragons (0) 13|
|Tries: Escare, Whitehead Goals: Dureau 2 Drop-goal: Dureau|
|Castleford Tigers (6) 12|
|Tries: Carney, Tansey Goals: Gale 2|
Half-back Scott Dureau ended a 12-month absence by inspiring Catalans Dragons to their first Super League win of the season against Castleford Tigers.
Dureau's late drop-goal settled a brutal encounter that Castleford led 6-0 at half-time through winger Justin Carney's converted try.
Morgan Escare and Elliott Whitehead overturned the deficit in the second half as Catalans edged ahead.
Jordan Tansey's score levelled but Dureau showed composure to slot over.
Former Newcastle Knights playmaker Dureau spent time on loan at Sydney Roosters last season as he battled to regain fitness after a series of injury and health problems.
He marked his first Dragons appearance since February 2014 to play a key role in an important win against Daryl Powell's Castleford, who have started the season with two narrow defeats.
There was a spiteful edge to the game, with Dragons duo Eloi Pelissier and Olivier Elima and Tigers centre Jake Webster all sin-binned.
|Escare loves to score against Castleford|
|France full-back Morgan Escare has scored five tries in his last four matches against Castleford, while Catalans have won the last five games against the Tigers on home soil.|
The visitors started brightly, dominating field position and possession, and were rewarded when half-back Ben Roberts' perfect chip was taken on the run by Carney, who stayed in play to cross in the left corner.
Zeb Taia was held up over the line on Catalans' first real raid on Tigers territory, while at the other end Denny Solomona's effort from a Luke Gale bomb was ruled out for offside.
Referee James Child sent three players to the bin after a series of scuffles erupted, while Dureau's missed penalty on the hooter ensured Castleford's clean sheet was intact at half-time.
However, Catalans were a different proposition after the break, notably when restored to their full complement.
Dureau was an inch of grass away from a try when he crossed with a foot in touch, but showed creativity to drop a reverse kick into the path of Escare that levelled the scores.
Carney's high tackle on Escare resulted in another penalty attempt that this time Dureau landed, and clever hands by Michael Oldfield and Ben Pomeroy got Whitehead in on the right.
Pomeroy was on his way to an intercept try when his pass infield was dropped by Michael Oldfield, and Castleford punished the French side's error when Tansey gathered a looping pass after a burst by Carney to score down the middle.
With the scores level and time ticking away, it seemed a drop-goal would settle the contest and a swing of Dureau's boot ensured it did in favour of the Perpignan club.
Catalans Dragons head coach Laurent Frayssinous:
"Scotty has had a tough last two years, he has come back and said to me that he wants to repay the club. He has shown how tough he is as a person, he has come back from a lot of adversity and shown character to perform like that.
""The players dug really deep today to come back and get the two points.
"In the context, everything was against us today, so it is worth so much more than two points to us."
Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell:
"I thought we deserved something out of the game to be honest. In the second half, we couldn't quite get our game together, which was disappointing.
"We weren't the smartest team of footballers out there today as a team but we certainly were one of the most committed.
"I thought we were great in lots of ways but just lost our composure at the key moment within the game, especially when Catalans were down to 11 men. We should have come out of that in front and as it happened, we came out of that two points behind."
Catalans Dragons: Escare; Oldfield, Pomeroy, Tonga, Duport; Bosc, Dureau; Lima, Henderson, Anderson, Taia, Whitehead, Mounis.
Replacements: Elima, Pelissier, Garcia, Baitieri.
Castleford: Tansey; Solomona, Channing, Shenton, Carney; Roberts, Gale; Lynch, S. Moore, Millington, O. Holmes, Moors, Massey.
Replacements: Webster, Wheeldon, Finn, Crossley.
Referee: James Child (RFL)