Super League: Catalan Dragons 20-28 Huddersfield Giants
Catalan Dragons (10) 20
- Baile, Taia, Pelissier, Vaccari
- Bosc 2
Huddersfield Giants (8) 28
- Wardle, Murphy, Cudjoe, Lunt
- Brough 4
Huddersfield edged a gritty encounter with Catalans to maintain their pursuit of Wigan at the top of Super League.
They trailed at the break as Jean-Philippe Baile and Eloi Pelissier tries and a Thomas Bosc kick cancelled out scores by Joe Wardle and Aaron Murphy.
Zeb Taia extended the lead, before Wardle and Leroy Cudjoe drew Giants back into the game.
Frederick Vaccairi replied for the hosts, but Danny Brough's penalty and a Shaun Lunt try sealed Giants' success.
Both sides have hearts set on a place in the top four, having been regular season contenders for the spot over the last few seasons, but while the home side enjoyed that status last term, Giants fell away at the crucial stage.
However under Paul Anderson the Giants appear to have found the grit and mental toughness to come to a side who have lost just once at home this season to champions Leeds.
Neither side were unable to impose themselves on a game which whilst full of drama and incident, lacked the quality both sides are capable of.
Anderson's side made a dream start when Brough's kick-off bounced awkwardly through the legs of Leon Pryce, and from the resulting set the half-back's grubber was bounced upon by centre Wardle for the first score.
Taia knocked on for Catalans soon after after Morgan Escare was dumped to the turf while Giants should have extended the lead when Jermaine McGillvary delayed his pass too long, and when Luke Robinson received the ball he was challenged heavily by Remi Casty.
Brough continued to kick the visitors around the park and after Leroy Cudjoe was denied by the video referee after another teasing ball through, finally Murphy took in his looped pass to extend the lead.
Dragons responded well, using the power of centre Baile to good effect when he drove over after Pelissier's ball was neatly kept alive, and the provider turned scorer when Escare burst through the gap to play in the France hooker for a try that Bosc converted.
After break Catalans continued their strong end to the first-half and scored again when Taia latched onto a grubber kick from Pryce to score.
Huddersfield scored immediately when Brough collected his own chip over the line, found Brett Ferres and he then slipped wide to Wardle.
Luke Robinson was sent off to leave the visitors with 12 for the last 25 minutes, but Catalans passed up the chance to go ahead when Bosc skewed his penalty horribly wide.
With the match entering a crucial stage, the sides exchanged scores, firstly when Larroyer failed to gather his own tap back in goal and Cudjoe dived on the loose ball to ensure the Giants went ahead.
Then Vaccari dived in at the corner after an excellent move to the left to restore the lead, although Bosc again missed the target from out wide.
Brough kicked for two when awarded a penalty in front of the posts to gain a slim advantage and despite serious Catalans pressure, ensured victory when Lunt dived over to score.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Catalans coach Laurent Frayssinous:
"It's definitely disappointing when you lose a game but I am happy in a way because when you look at the two team sheets, we were without a lot of experienced players and we were close to beating the second team in the league table.
"We just need to keep learning lessons and to keep on working hard. Credit to Huddersfield. They played 30 minutes with 12 players and won the game. It was a great effort from them.
"Having said that, I am disappointed that we didn't play with vision in the last 30 minutes. We were not disciplined enough with the ball."
Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson:
"It rates as a very, very dogged and determined win.
"Broughy's been on a drip for a few days. He's not been well. He got a virus. His wife was sick at the airport and his kids have been ill as well.
"We had a lot of adversity. A lot of barriers kept being put in front of us but we kept knocking them down. The commitment and camaraderie amongst the group were clear to see."
Catalan Dragons: Escare; Blanch, Pala, Baile, Vaccari; Pryce, Bosc; Simon, Henderson, Casty, Taia, Larroyer, Baitieri.
Replacements: Mounis, Pelissier, Fakir, Paea.
Huddersfield: Grix; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy; Brough, Robinson; Kopczak, Lunt, Patrick, Ferres, Ferguson, Lawrence.
Replacements: Crabtree, Faiumu, Ta'ai, Dwyer.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).