The second of the afternoons double-header at the Totally Wicked Stadium pitted the Catalans Dragons against Wakefield Trinity as the 2018 Challenge Cup winners took on the side who last won the trophy in 1963 and were last at Wembley in 1968.
The Dragons have an unbeaten record in Super League in 2021 while Wakefield have lost both of their opening fixtures, the ‘home’ side therefore were clear favourites for the bookies but the visitors were boosted by the news that free-scoring winger Tom Johnstone had been declared fit after suffering a head knock last time out.
It looked the scoring would be opened for Trinity after a fabulous solo effort by Mason Lino saw the half-back collect his own short grubber on the halfway line and go to within five metres of the Dragons line before releasing the ball which was picked up and grounded by Jay Pitts. Referee Kendall went to the video referee for confirmation after giving ‘No Try’ on the field, and the video official agreed and ruled out the tenth minute try for a knock-on.
On fifteen it was the Dragons who opened the scoring thanks to a jinking run to the line by Sam Tomkins after the ball was moved from right to left. James Maloney added the conversion for a 6-0 Catalans lead.
Trinity were back on level terms on twenty-five as Mason Lino collected a delightful infield kick from Tom Johnstone and dabbing down next to the uprights. Lino added the conversion to his own try for 6-6.
A high tackle from Trinity on Jason Baitieri gifted a penalty to the Dragons and with the kick under the sticks Maloney took the opportunity to put his side into the lead on the half hour.
Johnstone went close on the dying seconds by was denied by Tom Davies and the sides went into the sheds separated by just two points.
A determined Josh Drinkwater extended the Dragons lead on fifty as he stepped twice and spun out of the final tackle to ground ten metres to the left of the uprights. Maloney added the conversion for 14-6.
The Dragons had a couple of tries ruled out by the video referee before Tom Davies found space wide right on sixty-two to slide over the line for a four pointer and take the game out of Wakefield’s reach. Maloney’s conversion left Trinity needing three tries to snatch the game which looked well beyond them.
A Gil Dudson try on sixty-seven, crashing over under the uprights, confirmed the Dragons win and when Maloney added the conversion it was 26-6.
While Trinity were still well in the game at the interval a devastating second half performance from the Dragons sealed the win and earned them a quarter final game against either the Swinton Lions or the Warrington Wolves. Trinity can take some positives out of the game but they seem to have got the losing habit.
Catalans Dragons: Tomkins S (T), Yaha, Langi, Whare, Davies (T), Drinkwater (T), Maloney (5G), Bousquet, Da Costa, Dudson (T), Whitley, McMeeken, Garcia. Subs: Morgue, Seguier, Baitieri, Kasiano.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Senior, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone, Miller, Lino (T, G), Fifita, Wood J, Tanginoa, Ashurst, Pitts, Westerman. Subs: Crowther, Green, Arona, Batchelor.
Referee: Chris Kendall.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 6-4, 6-6, 8-6 : HT : 12-6, 14-6, 18-6, 20-6, 24-6, 26-6 : FT.