Ben Pomeroy’s sending off threw the game wide open for Castleford Tigers but coach Daryl Powell admits his side lacked a spark against Catalan Dragons – even with a man advantage.
Pomeroy had a moment of madness in the first half as the former Cronulla centre grabbed Ashley Gibson around the waist and threw him over his head.
Gibson was stretchered off in a neck brace and Pomeroy received his second successive red card, but former NRL men Todd Carney, Zeb Taia, and Jeff Lima had all crossed for the Dragons in a frenetic start.
Ultimately Castleford could not turn the ship around and secure their third Super 8s win in a row, a 44-26 defeat leaving them one spot behind the semi-final places in fifth.
“We had such a poor start and had too many people off their game,” said Powell.
“Catalans were excellent and fully deserved to be 20-0 in front before we even looked like scoring. Performance-wise we were really off.
“I still thought we could win at half-time. It was obviously tough for both sides with them having a man sent off and us losing players through injuries.”
Chris Sandow proclaimed he was ready to ‘smash some pies’ in a video stunt before his Warrington Wolves home debut – but it only proved extra incentive for Shaun Wane’s Wigan Warriors as they secured a 28-0 victory.
Sandow, who made the switch from Parramatta Eels last month, didn’t live up to expectations – Matt Bowen instead orchestrating a fine Wigan performance.
It gives the Warriors a three-point buffer in second, with four Super 8s games left before the top four progress to the semi-finals, and Wane admits it was a near-flawless performance.
“The players were motivated,” Wane said of Sandow’s remarks, which made reference to Wigan’s nickname as pie-eaters.
“I thank the Warrington marketing department for doing my job for me. A few of the players thought it was a bit disrespectful.
“We played well and put a lot of things together. Our defence was very impressive and that was the main focus for me.”
Leeds Rhinos however remain top of the Super League thanks to a 36-22 victory against Hull FC and coach Brian McDermott tipped his hat to Rob Burrow after the veteran scored the 200th try of his career.