Super League: Catalan 12-27 Leeds

Ryan Bailey

Leeds Rhinos overcame the dismissal of Ryan Bailey to earn their first regular Super League season victory at Catalans Dragons since April 2010.

Bailey's shoulder charge with the Rhinos 10-0 up handed Catalans an advantage that they took through tries from Leon Pryce and Thomas Bosc.

However, Leeds levelled through Kevin Sinfield's penalty, one of seven successful goals on the night.

Paul McShane and Jamie Jones-Buchanan crossed to secure a Rhinos success.

Although Bailey's exit was a major talking point, the performances of Danny McGuire and Sinfield were crucial to securing a win in Perpignan, and deserved merit.

Four home wins for Catalans this term outlined their confidence, but they have also been slow starters having come from behind to win in their last three matches.

Conditions were not conducive to a flowing style, but Leeds made the breakthrough when a move to the left saw Joel Moon outmuscle Dragons winger Damien Blanch to touchdown in the corner.

Kallum Watkins needed to be at his best to smother Pryce's kick through, before Vickery touched away Bosc's grubber as Mathias Pala looked set to touchdown.

Zeb Taia's ball-spill proved a let-off as Leeds scrambled for cover, coming inside a brace of penalties dispatched by skipper Sinfield to give the Rhinos a double-figure lead at half-time.

Although little flare-ups emerged all over the field in a tense encounter, the match looked to have turned on Bailey's dismissal early in the second period.

The versatile forward lit up last season's play-off encounter at the Stade Gilbert Brutus with a rampaging run that led to Danny McGuire's try, but his stamp on this game centred around a shoulder charge which left Bosc on the floor.

Referee Ben Thaler's red card for the England international reduced the Rhinos to 12 men, and Catalans enjoyed immediate retribution when Leon Pryce stretched out an arm in the tackle to score, and Bosc shrugged off the after-effects to pop the kick over for the extras.

Laurent Frayssinous's side revelled in the extra space left by the departure of the visitors' enforcer, and Bosc in particular took advantage when his immaculate dummy created a gap that he skipped through to cross.

Leeds were granted a penalty when Ablett appeared to be held back as he dived for McGuire's grubber, and Sinfield kicked his fourth goal to level.

McShane then sneaked over from dummy-half to delight the Rhinos' travelling support, and Jones-Buchanan's excellent line running onto McGuire's clever pass put Leeds out of sight.

Sinfield's kicking master-class continued with a late penalty to add to his drop goal that earned the Rhinos their fifth win of the campaign, and condemned Catalans to their first loss at home since the 2012 play-offs.


Leeds coach Brian McDermott:

"I don't think the sending off had a bearing on the result to be honest with you, but it showed how much character we have in the squad.

"Catalans get awarded more penalties than anyone else in the competition, and they have done for the last two years.

"At one point the penalty count was 15-3, I thought we did remarkably well to overcome that.

"I'd like to be clear, I don't think that Catalans play well due to them getting penalties, they are a very good team.

"We talked before that when boxers go to box in Germany or Europe, they very rarely get the points victory, they have to knock their opposition out - we had to knock our opposition out tonight."

Catalans coach Laurent Frayssinous:

"As a team, we have learnt a good lesson tonight in how to win big games. Leeds showed us how to do that tonight, they kept the ball in the last 20 minutes and we couldn't do anything about that.

"After we took the lead, we made some mistakes and gave them the ball, and we didn't see the ball for the next 10 minutes after that.

"I think if you watch the game back all the penalties were deserved, they came here and tried to slow us down.

"They were cautioned twice for this and I have spoken to the referees about why this happened with no sin-binning. It is their call and we can talk about it further in the week."


Catalan Dragons: Escare; Blanch, Menzies, Millard, Pala; Pryce, Bosc; Elima, Henderson, Casty, Taia, Anderson, Mounis.

Replacements: Pelissier, Fakir, Paea, Baitieri.

Leeds: Watkins, Vickery, Ablett, Moon, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Bailey, Burrow, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Ward.

Replacements: McShane, Kirke, Achurch, Moore.

Attendance: 9,465

Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield)