Huddersfield 20 Catalans 22: Marauding Mogg gatecrashes Giants party

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Catalans Dragons made sure of a home draw in this first round of the Super League play-offs, showing all the resilience that has characterised their away form this season. The French side spent most of the evening hanging on to the Giants' coat tails, but once they finally took the lead in the 70th minute through Thomas Bosc's third goal, they knew how to hold on to it.

Two second-half tries from Adam Mogg were the other key to the Dragons' victory and what was ultimately a frustrating night for a bumper crowd of more than 12,000 attracted by free admission and the promise of a major announcement. After rumours of everything from the signing of Darren Lockyer to a move back to Fartown, that announcement turned out to be merely a generous offer on season tickets for next year. The irony of that is that if every game was as entertaining as this, there should be little need for the hard sell.

The first half was a tight affair in which the Giants just about deserved to have their noses in front. They took the lead when Chris Thorman's superb kick forced a drop out and Kevin Brown's grubber was pounced on by Martin Aspinwall.

The Catalans' reply was similar in conception, Bosc forcing the drop-out, then throwing the long pass which enabled Justin Murphy to squeeze in at the corner. Huddersfield were ahead again when David Hodgson intercepted from Clint Greenshields and showed his natural pace on an 80-metre run to score.

Aaron Gorrell replied in kind on the half-hour when he intercepted from Andy Raleigh for the converted try that levelled the scores again, but Thorman's second penalty gave the Giants their narrow advantage.

Another Thorman penalty edged the Giants further ahead 11 minutes into the second half. This time the Dragons' response was another of the game's spectacular tries, Greenshields beating five men on his kick return before releasing the supporting Mogg.

Bosc's kick hit the post to leave the scores tied again and Huddersfield led once more when the impressive Danny Kirmond scooped up a loose pass for an opportunist's try.

Mogg was again the man to bring the Dragons back into it, beating a couple of defenders with his deceptive footwork and stretching over the try line.

Ten minutes from time, the Catalans led for the first time, thanks to Stuart Jones' dangerous tackle and Bosc's penalty. They are now guaranteed their big night in Perpignan, but in this mood they would be equally dangerous on the road.

Huddersfield: Cudjoe, Aspinwall, Brown, Whaturia, Hodgson, Thorman, Robinson, Crabtree, Hudson, Griffin, Raleigh, Jones, Wild. Substitutes used: Loesi, Jackson, Kirmond, Faiumu.

Catalans Dragons: Greenshields, Murphy, Wilson, Raguin, Pelo, Mogg, Bosc, Elima, Gorrell, Guisset, Fakir, Mounis, Carlaw. Substitutes used: Chan, Ferriol, Duport, Touxagas.

Referee: A Klein (Keighley).