Steve McNamara felt Catalans Dragons received a “reality check” after repelling a late surge from bottom club Leigh to secure a 36-30 win which took them top of Betfred Super League.
The Dragons trailed 18-12 at half-time after conceding two interception tries, but struck a purple patch to go 36-18 up when the match resumed.
However, the French side had to endure a tense finish before maintaining their best-ever start to a Super League season with an eighth win from nine games.
Dragons move top with win over Leigh
Catalans Dragons maintained their best-ever start to a Super League campaign with a tense 36-30 win over Leigh.
“I thought Leigh were tremendous today,” Catalans head coach McNamara said. “People will talk about us not being great, which may be the case, but the opposition were very good. They challenged us in a lot of areas today.
“The first half was a disaster for us. We conceded two tries through interceptions and lost our captain Ben Garcia in the first 10 minutes with a groin injury.
“We also lost Sam Kasiano before the match and we were at sixes and sevens. We were poor. We had to get a foothold in the game and we did it for about 10 minutes before stopping again.
“We’ve been consistent up to now but today we were that far off the team of the last 10 weeks. It’s a bit of a reality check for us. There were a few sub-standard performances and another win is the only silver lining.”
We’ve been consistent up to now but today we were that far off the team of the last 10 weeks. It’s a bit of a reality check for us.
Catalans head coach Steve McNamara
Stand-off Ben Reynolds, back from suspension to partner Joe Mellor for only the second time this year, and winger Brendan Elliot pounced for interception tries and second-rower Matty Gee scored his first for the club as the Centurions opened up a 12-point lead.
Youngster Arthur Mourgue got among the tries as the Catalans finally found their rhythm but were left hanging on for victory after conceding late tries to Ben Hellewell and Ryan Brierley.
It was a 10th defeat from as many matches for Leigh but, following their spirited performance at Wakefield Trinity in interim coach Kurt Haggerty’s first match in charge, there were again plenty of positives for the newly-promoted side.
“There is a lot of disappointment for the group because I thought we could steal the game at the end,” Haggerty said.
There are loads of good things to take for us and, if we can tidy up some of the tries we conceded, I’m confident we can beat Hull next week.
Leigh interim head coach Kurt Haggerty
“To claw our way back into it was a fantastic stepping stone for us. They showed a togetherness and never gave up.
“They all ripped in for each other. The spirit in the camp has improved drastically, it’s why we’re still in games.
“There are loads of good things to take for us and, if we can tidy up some of the tries we conceded, I’m confident we can beat Hull next week.”
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