The heroics of a week before were nowhere to be seen as Castleford Tigers were heavily beaten 44-16 by Catalans Dragons to lose their third spot in the Betfred Super League.
Woeful defence in the Perpignan heat saw Daryl Powell’s men struggling for much of the awful 80 minutes.
The Tigers were up against it after falling behind in the first 10 minutes, although they briefly recovered to lead 10-8 only to be dominated for the rest of the first half.
Catalans put their first points on the board with a Josh Drinkwater penalty in the fourth minute and they had their first try three minutes later, Drinkwater backing up Greg Bird’s break to score. His conversion made it 8-0.
Cas replied from their first serious attack as quick play close to the line on the last tackle saw Michael Shenton get the ball wide to James Clare and the winger did the rest with a diving finish.
Paul McShane’s 40-20 put Cas back on attack again, but nothing came of their pressure and the Dragons were denied a try by the video referee after David Mead raced 90 metres downfield to put the ball down behind the line. Replays showed a knock-on before the ball got to the home player and the visitors were relieved.
They were celebrating on 19 minutes as Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e collected Junior Moors’ pass and weaved his way over the line for a try converted by Jamie Ellis.
However, that proved to be as good as it got for the Tigers as Clare knocked-on behind his own line from the restart and they rarely had the ball for the remaining 20 minutes of the first half, punished by a succession of penalties handed to the Dragons by referee Robert Hicks and their own mistakes.
Cas did well to hold Drinkwater over the line only to concede a soft try from the very next play as Bird weaved his way over on a one-man play.
The luck was on Catalans’ side when Drinkwater’s kick bounced straight back to him off Ellis and he dived over for his second try.
Louie Anderson then took advantage of weak defending to score another home try and the Dragons made it 30-10 at half-time as Julian Bousquet went over from close range and Drinkwater kicked his fifth goal.
Jake Trueman’s kick forced a goal-line drop-out early in the second half, but there was little sign of a comeback for Cas as only a knock-on close to the line as he tried to kick on by Fouad Yaha prevented another home score.
There was no respite two minutes later when Kenny Edwards raced onto Drinkwater’s grubber to score another Dragons try.
Cas briefly responded with the industrious McShane scoring a try off a scruffy kick close to the line. Ellis added the conversion, but were not to score again.
Long range tries completed the Tigers’ misery with Drinkwater racing clear for his hat-trick after intercepting Moors’ pass and Lewis Tierney following up a kick ahead by Samisoni Langi, who had collected a loose ball in his own half. That the ball had gone loose via a Catalans hand and the video referee failed to look at this seemed to matter not as Castleford were comprehensively beaten.
Scorers - Catalans: Tries Drinkwater 3, Bird, Anderson, Bousquet, Edwards, Tierney; goals Drinkwater 6. Castleford: Tries Clare, Laulu-Togaga’e, McShane; goals Ellis 2.
Catalans Dragons: Gigot; Yaha, Williame, Mead, Tierney; Langi, Drinkwater; Casty, McIlorum, Simon, Julien, Garcia, Bird. Subs: Anderson, Bousquet, Baitieri, Edwards.
Castleford Tigers: Laulu-Togaga’e; Egodo, Webster, Shenton, Clare; Ellis, Trueman; Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao. Moors, Holmes, Massey. Subs: Millington, Cook, Springer, Clark.
Referee: Robert Hicks