Super League: Warrington Wolves 24-32 Catalans Dragons - Catalans go second in table

Betfred Super League

Warrington (12) 24

Tries: Musgrove, King, Harrison, Williams Goals: Thewlis 4

Catalans (18) 32

Tries: Davies, Johnstone 2, Garcia, Rouge, Abdull Goals: Abdull 4

Catalans Dragons won a thrilling game at Warrington Wolves to move level on points with leaders St Helens at the top of Super League.

Three converted tries in 12 minutes put the visitors 18-0 up, but Wolves had reduced the gap to six by half-time.

The French side then led 28-12 before James Harrison and George Williams scores made it a four-point game.

But Jordan Abdull's 79th-minute try made sure of the victory and ended Warrington's four-match winning run.

Warrington had been in fine form since losing in Perpignan in the season opener, but this game was considered to be a mark of their progress against last season's Grand Final runners-up.

It was master against apprentice as head coach Sam Burgess came up against Steve McNamara, the man who gave him his debut at Bradford Bulls as a 17-year-old in 2006.

But Burgess could only watch as Catalans stormed out of the blocks. Their first attack ended with Tom Davies shrugging off opposite winger Matty Ashton to touch down.

Abdull's clever kick bounced perfectly for Tom Johnstone to run in for the second try and then with Warrington prop Paul Vaughan in the sin-bin for a tap tackle, Catalans skipper Benjamin Garcia drove over from close to the line.

At this point, it looked like the visitors might run away with things, but the Wolves showed commendable spirit to fight their way back into the game.

Samoa prop Zane Musgrove scored his first try in England to get Warrington on the board, before a bit of ingenuity on the last tackle from Williams and Ashton helped Toby King touch down on his 200th career appearance.

But two tries in the opening 10 minutes after the break allowed the visitors to re-assert their authority.

Adam Holroyd had held up Michael McIlorum under the posts, but Warrington's reprieve lasted barely 15 seconds as France full-back Cesar Rouge dived over after wonderful athleticism from Johnstone to keep Abdull's kick in play.

Then the former Hull KR half-back went down the short side and via Arthur Romano, Johnstone scrambled over.

However, again Burgess' team refused to go away. Harrison powered his way over the try-line before a piece of individual brilliance from England captain Williams reduced the gap to four points with a quarter of the game to play.

Warrington looked set to complete the comeback only to be denied by heroic defending from the French outfit.

They repelled four sets of six close to their own line in the last eight minutes before Abdull dived over to put a seal on Catalans' third straight win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium as Warrington drop to third.

Warrington Wolves head coach Sam Burgess told BBC Radio Merseyside:

"To be 18 points down is too much. We showed some spirit to get back into it but it just proved too much in the end.

"It's disappointing for the team because our standards have been high all pre-season. We missed the jump early, we got the momentum back at times but then missed it again in the second half.

"There was some great efforts out there but too many points scored so it's hard to get the win."

Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara:

"We looked a little tired and leggy at the end of both halves but we did a fantastic job at the start of both halves to build enough of a lead.

"Momentum can change so quickly in a game and teams can score points quickly and Warrington are one of those type of teams - if you give them any sort of time and space they have players who, showed today, can score points.

"We are disappointed with some of the tries we conceded, but the effort in the last five minutes to hold them out was incredible.

"Our last-gasp defence had to be good at the end and overall it was an outstanding effort to withstand that late barrage."

Warrington: Dufty; Thewlis, King, Tai, Ashton; Williams, Hayes; Harrison, Walker, Vaughan, Holroyd, Fitzgibbon, Currie.

Interchanges: Philbin, Musgrove, Crowther, Powell.

18th man: Nicholson.

Sin-bin: Vaughan (11)

Catalans: Rouge; Davies, Romano, Ikuvalu, Johnstone; Abdull, Tison; Navarrete, McIlorum, Bousquet, Sims, McMeeken, Garcia.

Interchanges: Seguier, Sironen, Satae, Dezaria

Referee: Jack Smith