Carmont puts Wigan on brink of final

Wigan 46 Catalan dragons 6

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The Independent Online

Wigan are within 80 minutes of the Grand Final at Old Trafford after efficiently neutralising the French threat. A convincing victory, kick-started by their soon-to-depart centre, George Carmont, ensured that the league leaders over the regular season would have next weekend off, whilst the Catalans must try to reach the big occasion by the more circuitous route.

They could still regroup to be a force on their home terrain next week, but last night were barely in the contest.

Wigan have a chequered history against the Catalans and some uneven recent performances and there was absolutely no reason for the Warriors to be complacent, even when Carmont got them off to a flying start.

Carmont did not arrive at Wigan with the biggest of reputations, but he has been so consistently excellent over his five years at the club that he is going to be fiendishly difficult to replace.

His key contribution last night came in the form of two tries in the first eight minutes. The first was a simple case of the Dragons' defence getting its numbers wrong on the right-hand side. The second was the result of Brett Finch's short ball to Liam Farrell and Carmont's run in support.

The French visitors enjoyed plenty of possession but Wigan's defence was so solid, however, that the only hint of a try came when Vincent Duport intercepted on half-way, only to be correctly brought back for Scott Dureau's previous fingertips on the ball. Wigan extended their lead through Thomas Leuluai's try from Finch's pass, before the Catalans finally got on the scoreboard through Thomas Bosc's ball and Louis Anderson's lunge for the line.

Even then, Wigan were back in the comfort zone by half-time, thanks to Darrell Goulding taking Leuluai's pass and finding a gap. When Farrell, a forward with a sharp eye for the try-line as well as a famous name, found his way over shortly after the break, Wigan had as good as booked their week off.

Sam Tomkins had one try disallowed for obstruction, but then claimed one from Matty Smith's cross-kick. It was still not Wigan's most sparkling display of the season, but it was more than good enough.

Dureau, the Super League player of the season, could not get into the game and the Catalans' much-vaunted pack was always second-best. Carmont completed his hat-trick to underline his side's superiority, with Pat Richards tagging on his sixth goal, before Josh Charnley rounded it off with a wonderful length-of-the-field effort.

Wigan: Tomkins; Charnley, Goulding, Carmont, Richards; Finch, Leuluai; Lauaki, O'Loughlin, Mossop, Hansen, Hughes, Farrell Subs used: Lima, Smith, Dudson, Flower.

Catalans: Greenshields; Blanch, Sa, Duport, Millard: Bosc, Dureau; Paea, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Anderson, Baitieri. Subs used: Mounis, Raguin, Pelissier, Fakir.

Referee: R.Silverwood (Mirfield)