Castleford Tigers could not repeat their heroics against the Super League champions as they conceded seven tries to lose 41-22 away to Catalans Dragons.
Daryl Powell’s men showed some good things in attack as they went over for four tries themselves with youngster Greg Minikin crossing twice in his first full start and Joel Monaghan collecting two on the wing.
But their defence was carved open too often and defeat always looked on the cards although they came back from 18-4 down to 18-16 until letting in a try in the final seconds before half-time.
The first half was an open affair in which both sides looked like scoring with every attack.
It was Catalans who went ahead on four minutes when Jodie Broughton went over in the corner after taking Todd Carney’s long pass and Thomas Bosc kicked the touchline conversion.
But Cas hit back after good play by full-back Denny Solomona forced a drop-out they came up with their first score as Minikin went over for a try on his first Super League start, winning the chase to get to Luke Gale’s astute grubber kick. Gale could not add the goal.
Another promising break came to nothing when Ryan Hampshire’s pass went into touch.
The Dragons looked dangerous with the ball in hand, though, and scored their second try on 19 minutes when Louise Anderson was too strong for Hampshire as he drove over the line for a try converted by Bosc.
The hosts were unlucky not to add another score four minutes later when Tony Gigot lost the ball over the line according to video referee Thierry Alibert.
But within a minute they made it 18-4 as Jake Webster lost the ball and Carney scooped it up to race clear. Bosc added the easy goal.
Cas were given a lifeline when awarded a controversial try as Monaghan went over from Gale’s high kick. The ball appeared to bounce to him off Mike McMeeken’s head with the winger looking to be offside but the video referee gave the score.
Another try followed when Solomona’s great break and offload sent Minikin over for his second try. With Gale goaling it was now 18-16.
However, the Tigers could not defend their line in the final minute of the half. Good work by Webster saw Gigot held up over the line, but there was no respite as on the last play Catalans ran it and Vincent Duport’s offload sent Morgan Escare over to make it 22-16 at the break.
Catalans were first to score after the break after the Tigers were unlucky to see Webster’s run for the line halted by a forward pass decision given against Gale.
It was Escare again, so often the scourge of Cas on this ground, who scooted over, showing good feet on the line over for a try goaled by Bosc.
Carney added his second despite a valiant effort on the line by McMeeken and Paul Aiton went over from close to emphasise the hosts’ superiority.
Cas did get a consolation when good handling by young half-backs Tom Holmes and Hampshire sent Monaghan over in the corner.
Gale added the touchline goal, but Catalans had the last word when Escare kicked a drop-goal.
The defeat dropped Cas down to eighth and they finished without key player Solomona, who had strapping on his knee.
Scorers - Catalans: Tries Broughton, Anderson, Carney 2, Escare 2, Aiton; goals Bosc 6; drop-goal Escare. Castleford: Tries Minikin 2, Monaghan 2; goals Gale 3.
Catalans Dragons: Escare; Broughton, Gigot, Duport, Yaha; Carney, Bosc; Bousquet, Pelissier, Taylor, Anderson, Mounis, Stewart. Subs: Aiton, Casty, Baltieri, Mason.
Castleford Tigers: Solomona; Monaghan, Minikin, Crooks, Hitchcox; Hampshire, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Boyle, Webster, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: McShane, Millington, Maher, T Holmes.
Referee: Ben Thaler.