TURBULENT TIGERS | Wests Tigers' 2016 season was... interesting.
From the demotion and eventual dep...
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The struggling Dragons, who had conceded 108 points in their previous two games, turned the formbook upside down to double their points tally for the season in a remarkable game at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium.
The Dragons looked like a side rejuvenated under their new coach and showed tremendous character to fight back from 26-16 down with two tries in the last 13 minutes.
Warrington looked to have cracked the French resistance when they overturned a 16-6 deficit, but there were shades of their epic opening win over Wigan as the Perpignan club finished the stronger side.
Australian scrum-half Michael Dobson, the man brought in as a stop-gap replacement for injured captain Stacey Jones, helped lay the platform with a clever kicking game that kept the Wolves pinned back in their own half for long periods of the first half.
And when Warrington opened the scoring on 11 minutes, it was very much against the run of play, with centre Toa Kohe-Love relieving the pressure on his own line with an interception.
Winger Henry Fa?afili fluffed a chance by spilling Martin Gleeson?s pass with the line open and prop Paul Wood had a try disallowed for a double movement before loose forward Jon Clarke took the ball from first receiver and handed off his man to score the game?s first try.
The Dragons quickly recovered from the setback, however, and drew level on 14 minutes when winger Justin Murphy touched down Gregory Mounis? kick to the corner.
Dobson put over the touchline conversion and the visitors, growing in confidence, took the lead with the aid of two tries in seven minutes.
First full-back Thomas Bosc took Mounis? pass to finish off a flowing move at the corner and then substitute prop Lionel Teixido charged over from Dobson?s inside ball.
A second goal from Dobson put the Catalans 16-6 up but Warrington struck on the stroke of half-time when half-back Chris Bridge eluded the attempted tackle of Murphy to score direct from a scrum 40 metres out.
The Dragons sent on French Test hooker David Berthezene for his Super League debut and he made an immediate impact with a lovely break only to ruin the good work by dropping the ball when looking to pass.
It was a rare attacking move from the Perpignan club, who spent most of the second half on defence.
Briers and Clarke combined with Martin Gleeson to get leading scorer Fa?afili over for his eighth try in six matches on 48 minutes and Barnett had a try disallowed two minutes later.
Gleeson went off with a facial injury on 52 minutes but Warrington were in the ascendancy by then and they looked to have wrapped up the points with two more tries in a five-minute spell.
Ben Westwood took a pass from fellow substitute Michael Sullivan, who had a growing influence on the game, to crash over and the Dragons defence opened up invitingly for Kohe-Love to dance through for a try.
Briers kicked his third goal to make it 26-16 but that was the signal for the visitors to launch their fightback under the guidance of the experienced Julien Rinaldi.
Murphy went 40 metres for his second try after an offload by Sean Rudder on 67 minutes and four minutes later prop Adel Fellous showed tremendous power to force his way over from close range.
Dobson maintained his accuracy to edge his side back in front and they maintained their nerve in a tense finish to claim the spoils.
As the Wolves pressed for victory, Clarke was hauled down short of the line and Murphy pulled off a try-saving tackle to deny Barnett.
Warrington (10) 26. Tries: Clarke, Bridge, Fa'afili, Westwood, Kohe-Love. Goals: Briers 3.
Catalans Dragons (16) 28. Tries: Murphy 2, Bosc, Teixido, Fellous. Goals: Dobson 4.
Warrington: Grose, Fa'afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Barnett, Briers, Bridge, Leikvoll, Mark Gleeson, Wood, Wainwright, Swann, Clarke. Replacements: Sullivan, Westwood, Lima, Parker.
Catalans Dragons: Bosc, Murphy, Wilson, Hughes, Verges, Rudder, Dobson, Guisset, Rinaldi, Chan, Fakir, Hindmarsh, Mounis. Replacements: Beattie, Fellous, Berthezene, Teixido.
Referee: S Ganson (St Helens)