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Page last updated at 20:49 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 21:49 UK

Huddersfield 6-16 Catalans

Huddersfield (6) 6
Tries: Robinson Goals: Hodgson
Catalans Dragons (4) 16
Tries: Greenshields, Pelo, Elima Goals: Bosc 2

Luke Robinson goes through the Catalans defence
Luke Robinson goes through the Catalans defence

Catalans Dragons booked their place in the Super League play-off semi-finals with a surprise win over Challenge Cup finalists Huddersfield.

The French side deserved the victory with Clint Greenshields, Dimitri Pelo and Olivier Elima all crossing.

Their defence was outstanding while Huddersfield looked short of ideas and wasted a number of good opportunities.

Catalans, who finished eighth in the table, will face either Leeds or St Helens in next weekend's semi-finals.

It has been an amazing turnaround for the French side who lost six of their first seven games and only scraped into the end of season play-offs thanks to an unexpected win at St Helens in their final game of the regular season.

They now find themselves just 80 minutes away from the Grand Final at Old Trafford and could be chosen by Leeds as their semi-final opponents in Sunday's ClubCall announcement.

The Giants were dealt an early blow when they lost Jamahl Lolesi when he was hurt attempting a tackle on Dragons second rower Elima.


The first quarter was a bruising encounter with plenty of penalties but both defences held firm until the 19th minute when Adam Mogg spread the ball out wide to Greenshields who went over in the corner.

But five minutes before the break a moment of magic by Luke Robinson allowed the Giants to pull level.

The diminutive scrum-half jinked through the Catalans defence to go on a run to the line and crossed under the sticks and Brett Hodgson's kick edged the Giants in front.

Moments later, the Dragons looked to have hit back when Greenshields ran 60m to the line but the try was disallowed for obstruction by his team-mate Julien Touxagas in the build-up.

Huddersfield seemed short of ideas at the start of the second half and the strong Dragons defence was able to cope with anything that was thrown at them.

Then on 62 minutes the French side took the lead with a kick and chase from winger Pelo which saw him go over in the corner and under pressure, Thomas Bosc kicked the extras.

But a lovely passing move nine minutes from time involving Jean-Philippe Baile, Greg Bird and Greenshields led to a cheeky inside pass for Elima to go over and seal the shock victory.

Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown:

"Sometimes under pressure we don't play as smart as we should but once again the effort was great.

"It's not the way we wanted to go out but, on the whole, we've definitely become a consistent team.

"Nobody would have predicted us reaching the Challenge Cup final and finishing third so I think everybody should be proud.

"There are a couple of key areas we need to improve in but we've got some good players coming into squad next year and hopefully we'll move forward."

Catalans Dragons coach Kevin Walters:

"A month ago if anybody had said the Dragons would have got this far, people would have laughed, unless you are part of this squad. They have good self-belief.

"In the last month we've really found some form, a bit of belief in each other and the dividends keep coming through.

"Momentum is very important at this time of the year. You've seen in Australia with Parramatta pushing through to the final that it is possible.

"It's a very difficult ask again. The bar keeps going up and we're happy to go with the bar if we can."

Huddersfield: B. Hodgson, Cudjoe, Lolesi, Lawrence, D. Hodgson, Whaturia, Robinson, Mason, Moore, Sculthorpe, Finnigan, Fulton, Wild.
Replacements: Raleigh, D. Griffin, Crabtree, J. Griffin.

Catalans Dragons: Greenshields, Duport, Raguin, Baile, Pelo, Mogg, Bosc, Ryles, McGuire, Guisset, Elima, Gossard, Bird.
Replacements: Ferriol, Carlaw, Touxagas, Casty.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens)

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see also
Hull KR 16-30 Wigan
26 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
Leeds choose Catalans in play-off
27 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
Catalans criticise Giants tactics
23 Sep 09 |  Catalans
St Helens 15-2 Huddersfield
19 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
Wakefield 16-25 Catalans
19 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
Road to Old Trafford
25 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
Rugby league commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League
BBC's Super League Show
26 Sep 09 |  Rugby League

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