They dreamed of returning to Old Trafford, theater of their nightmares a year ago in the final against St Helens and those two points behind that sometimes haunt their nights (10-12). But the Dragons will not see Manchester again, any more than they will cross the Channel to finish the final phase there, they whose course came to an abrupt end in the quarter-finals on Friday evening at Gilbert-Brutus against Leeds (10-20 ).
The anger of the Catalan lair at the mermaid and the goblets of beer flying towards the lawn will perhaps give way to the cold feeling of a major appointment missed by Catalans who have also ended up losing their nerves, with red cards against Gil Dudson for a whim (75th) and Mitchell Pearce after a second yellow card for high tackle (78th), he who had already been sanctioned in the first period after a collision (23rd).
Turning point at the end of the first period
Add another passage through the ”sin bin” for Micky McIlorum (60th) to understand that indiscipline will have cost the Dragons dearly, provoked by Rhinos who made them fall into the trap. Between numerical inferiorities and missed tackles against the devastating support of Blake Austin and Richie Myler, it is difficult for the Catalans to set up their game.
On the scoreboard, the match tipped the wrong way at the end of the first period when the Catalans had resisted well at the start of the game before passing two penalties by Sam Tomkins (2-0, 26th and 4-0, 32nd ). But their defensive curtain gave way on tries concluded before the break by Rhinos center Liam Sutcliffe (4-6, 35th and 4-12, 40th), the latter even offering himself a hat-trick in the second period behind a foot game of Aidan Sezer (10-18, 63rd). Meanwhile, the Dragons had rekindled their flame with a try in the same vein from Dean Whare (10-12, 43rd) but they failed to maintain this newfound momentum, ending up venting their frustration on the referee, James Child , who therefore experienced a turbulent end to the match.
Still far from their ambitions
After the 2020 semi-final and the 2021 final, this premature elimination does not correspond to the ambitions of Steve McNamara’s men, whose merit still remains to be a regular in the final phase of the prestigious Super League. It now remains to sometimes better control their emotions. To, one day, see Old Trafford again.