Tom Johnstone scored a hat-trick of tries for Catalans Dragons in their hard-fought 26-12 victory over Hull KR in Perpignan; captain Tom Davies and Julian Bousquet crossed over to score further tries for the hosts
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 18/03/23 8:11pm
Tom Johnstone scored a hat-trick of tries as Catalans Dragons maintained their winning start to the season with a hard-fought 26-12 victory over Hull KR in Perpignan.
The Dragons maintain their position just behind leaders Warrington on points difference after making it five wins from five, with Tom Davies and Julian Bousquet also crossing for tries.
Rowan Milnes and Ryan Hall scored second-half tries for the visitors, both converted by Mikey Lewis, but Catalans ran out deserving winners in the end.
Johnstone got the Dragons off to a flying start with a third-minute try following a 60-metre break through the Rovers line by Adam Keighran which the former Wakefield winger finished behind the posts.
Then Rovers full-back Lachlan Coote fumbled a kick to in-goal and Davies pounced to put Catalans 10-0 ahead in the 18th minute.
The Robins had lengthy periods of possession in the first half and twice went close to scoring but they could not pick up any points before the interval and lost stand-off Lewis to a head injury assessment, from which he later returned.
Rovers tried to take advantage of the cold, wet conditions at Stade Gilbert Brutus but Johnstone punished a loose carry by Lewis by picking up the ball and sprinting 70 metres to score his second try, this time between the posts, with Arthur Mourgue adding the conversion.
The return of prop Mike McMeeken from the bench put more beef into the Dragons attack and a powerful burst led to his fellow front-rower Bousquet going over the line, with Mourgue’s conversion seemingly putting the game out of reach for the visitors.
But the Robins hit straight back when substitute Milnes backed up a Jez Litten break and struck for a try from 20 metres out, converted by Lewis.
Any hopes of a comeback for Rovers were snuffed out when Johnstone claimed his hat-trick, latching on to a sweeping series of passes to finish in the left corner in the 64th minute and putting Catalans 26-6 ahead.
Nobody told veteran winger Hall it was over, however, as he struck on the hooter with a late consolation try for Hull but it was all too late for the visitors.
The next live Super League action on Sky Sports sees Huddersfield Giants host St Helens on Thursday night; coverage begins at 7.30pm on Sky Sports Arena, with kick-off at 8pm.
Hull KR look to get back to winning ways with a trip to Wakefield Trinity on Friday night from 8pm, while Catalans Dragons are next in action at Leeds Rhinos from 1pm on Saturday.