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Page last updated at 18:56 GMT, Saturday, 20 September 2008 19:56 UK

Catalans 26-50 Wigan

Catalans Dragons (10) 26
Tries: Pelo 2, Elima, Murphy, Wilson Goals: Bosc 3
Wigan (14) 50
Tries: Carmont, Barrett 2, Mathers, Richards 2, Calderwood 2, Hock Goals: Richards 7

By Phil Harlow

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Highlights: Catalans 26-50 Wigan

Wigan put themselves within 80 minutes of a place in the Grand Final after coming through a pulsating play-off eliminator against Catalans Dragons.

A fiercely contested first half ended with Wigan 14-10 ahead thanks to tries from George Carmont, Trent Barrett and Richie Mathers.

The Dragons gave themselves hope as they fought back to level at 20-20.

But a superb surge from Wigan silenced the crowd as they crossed for six second-half tries to seal the victory.

The match had looked destined to go down as a play-off classic with the partisan home fans providing an atmospheric backdrop to some thrilling action on the pitch.

But Wigan showed real character - and an impressive level of fitness - to pull away in the final 25 minutes and kill the game off as a genuine contest despite the best efforts of a fired-up Dragons side.

The scoreline was harsh on the hosts, who have enjoyed their best ever season in Super League, and they got off to much the stronger start, dominating possession and territory early on.

And they took a deserved lead when the outstanding Dimitri Pelo scorched in from the halfway line after collecting a fine offload from Jerome Guisset before dancing round Wigan full-back Mathers.

Guisset blotted his copy-book by conceding a penalty straight from the kick-off, and Wigan took advantage as Carmont gathered Gareth Hock's offload to power over.

Barrett extended the lead with a classy score after the hard work had been done by Joel Tomkins and Cameron Phelps down the touchline.

Dragons half-back Casey McGuire had a score disallowed after the video referee decided Remi Casty had gone in high on Hock to dislodge the ball and Mathers made them pay with a try for Wigan after being put into space by Barrett.

Pelo crossed shortly before the half-time break to narrow the gap after intelligent running lines from Sebastien Raguin had created the opportunity.

Wigan started the second half much more brightly than they had the first, with Pat Richards unfortunate to have a try ruled out for offside against Barrett.

Dragons half-back Casey McGuire
Catalans Dragons contributed much to an entertaining encounter
But he did not have to wait long to get over the try-line, with an unnecessary John Wilson offload deep in Wigan territory allowing the winger to gobble up possession and sprint almost the length of the pitch.

Pelo got his side going with a great run inside his own half. A few tackles and a penalty later, and Olivier Elima was burrowing over the line under the posts after being missed by Stuart Fielden.

Another quality Catalans try - this time from Justin Murphy after good work by Adam Mogg and Wilson - raised the volume levels inside the Stade Gilbert Brutus to deafening levels.

But with the French side threatening to cut loose, Wigan suddenly turned on the style to close the door on their hosts.

Richards went over for his second after his team-mates kept the ball alive superbly, and soon after Barrett claimed his second after taking an inside ball from Phil Bailey.

That opened the floodgates for Wigan, and Calderwood took advantage of a Clint Greenshields mistake to amble over before Hock claimed a deserved score against some dejected Dragons defence.

The home side played on for pride though, with Wilson getting on the end of an inch-perfect Mogg chip for a consolation score.

But Wigan had the last word, although the scoreline was unfair on a valiant Dragons outfit, with Calderwood claiming his second of the game.

Catalans Dragons: Greenshields, Murphy, Wilson, Raguin, Pelo, Mogg, Bosc, Chan, McGuire, Elima, Croker, Fakir, Carlaw.
Replacements: Guisset, Duport, Casty, Baile.

Wigan: Mathers, Calderwood, Phelps, Carmont, Richards, Barrett, Leuluai, Fielden, Higham, Coley, Hansen, Bailey, J. Tomkins.
Replacements: Paleaaesina, Hock, O'Carroll, Smith.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

see also
Noble proud of Wigan performance
20 Sep 08 |  Rugby League
Catalans Dragons 46-8 Warrington
13 Sep 08 |  Rugby League
Wigan 30-14 Bradford
12 Sep 08 |  Rugby League
Catalans Dragons 16-16 Wigan
09 Aug 08 |  Rugby League
Catalans 45-38 Wigan
14 Jun 08 |  Rugby League
Wigan 24-26 Catalans
11 Apr 08 |  Rugby League

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