With a valiant 26-12 victory over Hull KR in Perpignan, Tom Johnstone scored a hat-trick of tries to help Catalans Dragons maintain their winning start to the season.
The Dragons have won five straight games, keeping them in second place behind Warrington on points differential. Tom Davies and Julian Bousquet have both scored tries for the team.
Despite second-half tries from Rowan Milnes and Ryan Hall for the visitors that were both successfully converted by Mikey Lewis, Catalans ultimately emerged victorious.
In the third minute, Johnstone scored the Dragons’ first try after Adam Keighran had made a 60-meter break through the Rovers line and finished behind the posts.
After Rovers full-back Lachlan Coote misjudged a kick to goal in the 18th minute, Davies pounced to give Catalans a 10-0 lead.
The Robins had extended stretches of possession in the first half and twice came very close to scoring, but they were unable to do so before the break because of their inability to score and the loss of stand-off Lewis due to a head injury that was later treated.
At Stade Gilbert Brutus, Rovers attempted to take advantage of the chilly, rainy weather, but Johnstone punished a careless carry by Lewis by picking up the ball and sprinting 70 meters to score his second try, this one in the middle of the posts, with Arthur Mourgue completing the conversion.
returning to prop Mike McMeeken, who came off the bench, added extra muscle to the Dragons’ attack. A strong burst allowed his front-row teammate Bousquet to cross the goal line, and Mourgue’s conversion appeared to put the game beyond the reach of the guests.
But the Robins immediately responded when substitute Milnes supported a Jez Litten break and scored a try from 20 meters out, which Lewis added the conversion.
When Johnstone scored his hat-trick in the 64th minute, ending up in the left corner and giving Catalans a 26-6 lead, all chances that Rovers had of pulling off a comeback were dashed.
However, no one informed Hull’s seasoned winger Hall that the game was lost when he scored a late consolation try on the hooter, but it was too late for the visitors.