Castleford found out how tough life back in the top flight is going to be when a heavy penalty count and a late flurry of points from Thomas Bosc confined them to defeat on their return.
The first game back in Super League for Cas attracted an optimistic crowd to The Jungle, but they soon got a hint of what the competition is all about.
The Dragons played a high-tempo game designed to stop the promoted side settling down, and it was no surprise that they took the lead through a Bosc penalty. It could have been a lot worse for Cas if the Catalans' new recruit from rugby union, Jean-Philippe Baile, had not been held up on the try-line.
The Tigers had plenty of other pressure to soak up but managed to find defensive grit to keep the French at bay. After Anthony Thackeray had led the charge out of defence, the stand-off helped to set up the attack that saw Stuart Donlan go over from Luke Dorn's pass, withJoe Westerman's conversion making it a four-point lead.
The Catalans wasted a number of positions by throwing one pass too many. That was the case when Thackeray intercepted after 35 minutes and took play to the other end for the Tigers to capitalise again. Westerman was again on target with the goal.
The balance shifted after the break when Cyril Stacul's break set up a length-of-the-field move for Gregory Mounis to score. Castleford were conceding far too many penalties and were in danger of paying the price.
They did so after 52 minutes when Bosc put through a kick and Jason Croker reached the ball just before it ran dead, with Bosc's conversion putting the Catalans back in front, at least until Westerman's equaliser shortly afterwards.
In the last few minutes, David Ferriol was sin-binned for the Dragons but a horrible fumble at the play-the-ball from Sherwin conceded vital possession and the Catalans took advantage when Bosc stretched over. He compounded the damage with the conversion and a drop goal three minutes from time.
Castleford: Dorn; Wainwright, Shenton,McGoldrick, Donlan; Thackeray, Sherwin; Leafa, Henderson, Korkidas, Guttenbeil, Lupton,Westerman. Replacements used: Moore, Huby, Haberecht, Boyle.
Catalan Dragons: Greenshields; Stacul, Baile,Wilson, Khattabi; Bosc, McGuire; Chan, Gorrell, Ferroil, Gossard, Croker, Carlaw. Replacements used: Gosset, Raguin, Mounis, Casty.
Referee: P Benham (Warrington).Reuse content