Super League and RFL launch investigation after huge brawl between fans of Warrington Wolves and Catalans Dragons

4 Aug

Super League and the RFL will launch an investigation into the ugly scenes which marred the end of Saturday’s clash between Catalans Dragons and Warrington in Perpignan.

Catalans duo Sam Tomkins and Michael McIlorum saw red after the match for their role in an on-field fracas, while tempers also flared in the stands, with fans trying to climb over barriers in ugly scenes as punches reigned down.

Warrington’s Jake Mamo also received a second yellow card in the incident, as the Dragons defeated Warrington 30-10.

Warrington and Catalans fans clash in Perpignan
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“We were appalled to see the pictures from Perpignan, and an investigation will be launched,” read a joint statement from Super League and the RFL.

“The scenes are alien to Super League and have no place in our game. We will be taking firm action to make it clear this behaviour is totally unacceptable.”

A Warrington statement explained that the club is “working in conjunction with Catalans Dragons and Super League to gather further information”, while Bernard Guasch – the hosts’ chairman – said: “We are now waiting for the CCTV footage before making any decision.”

Warrington’s release added: “We sincerely believe that this behaviour does not reflect the vast majority of our loyal and supportive fan base following the team in France this weekend.”

There were reports of chairs and glass being thrown
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Man of the match Tomkins had created three tries and kicked seven goals as Catalans claimed a 30-10 victory.

“We’ve always had good challenges against Catalans every time we play them,” said Warrington coach Steve Price. “It was really disappointing how the game finished – you don’t like to see that, do you?”

When asked whether he thought events on the pitch had influenced those off it, Price responded: “What do you reckon? I think you’re answering the question yourself there.”

Price also criticised the officiating of referee James Child – a sentiment echoed by opposite number Steve McNamara.

“I’m clearly not happy with the whole of the game in terms of how it was managed,” said McNamara. “After the game I will take that up with the relevant people.

“I think it is best to stay nice and calm and speak to the relevant people and deal with the issues that will be brought up from that game.

“I have no idea how (the scenes at the end of the game) have come about, but it’s disgraceful scenes that we don’t want to see in our sport and I’m sure, again, the relevant people will look into that and find out.

“I just sincerely hope that no one is hurt from that because it didn’t look good.”

McNamara did, however, hit out at a suggestion from Price that his side had deliberately slowed the game down.

“I’m sick and tired of every time a team comes here and complains about the tactics and how tough it is and how difficult it is,” he said.

“I’ve said this numerous times, we have to do it 14, 15, 16 times a year. We face it every week when we travel away, yet teams want to whinge and carry on when they come here because it’s our ground.

“The best team won today and the best team won by a long way in the end and that result was correct. Nothing to do with anything other than the better team won on the day, simple as that.”

Price added that it was ‘way too early’ to offer an update on the fitness of Blake Austin, who left the field with a suspected ankle injury.

The result meant St Helens took the League Leaders’ Shield, with Warrington cut adrift.

Wigan 12-4 Warrington: Warriors secure fifth title with victory over Wolves in Super League Grand Final

13 Oct

Wigan coach Shaun Wane went out on a high as his side managed to grind out a fifth Super League title – beating Warrington 12-4 in an error-strewn but entertaining Grand Final.

The hero was Warriors winger Dom Manfredi, who scored two of his side’s three tries after being out of the game for more than two years with a career-threatening knee injury.

This is Wigan’s fifth Super League title

The Wigan players attempted to play down the sentimental factor in the build-up but the tears at the end of an absorbing contest told a different tale as they joyously celebrated with Wane, who will now go into rugby union with a third Grand Final ring.

There was also a fitting finale for Sam Tomkins, John Bateman and Ryan Sutton but there were tears of a different kind for the Wolves as they slumped to a fourth defeat in as many Grand Finals.

Tyrone Roberts, George King and Bodene Thompson were all on the losing side in their final match for Warrington, who also fell agonisingly short in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley in August.

The drama unfolded on an unseasonably balmy evening in Manchester where it was red-hot out in the middle.

This is Warrington’s fourth defeat in as many Grand Finals

Tempers were frayed throughout the first half and appeared to boil over as the teams went down the tunnel at half-time.

The Rugby Football League says the fracas, which appeared to be sparked by a push from Warrington centre Bryson Goodwin on Wigan full-back Morgan Escare, will be included in the match commissioner’s report and scrutinised on Monday.

In the fiery contest, Tomkins went desperately close to becoming the first man to be sin-binned in a Grand Final as he escaped with warnings from referee Robert Hicks for a trip on Goodwin and using his knees to the head of Daryl Clark.

Yet in between the spats and a flurry of handling errors, watching England head coach Wayne Bennett, who was seen chatting with England rugby union coach Eddie Jones at half-time, will have appreciated the flashes of creative brilliance from three members of his squad chosen to face New Zealand.

Warrington full-back Stefan Ratchford’s cut-out pass got former Wigan winger Josh Charnley over for the game’s first try while classy centre play from Oliver Gildart worked Manfredi over for an equalising score and Wigan’s other winger Tom Davies touched down an inch-perfect kick from George Williams to put his side in front.

There were also acts of bravery worthy of such a big occasion, notably from Wigan scrum-half Thomas Leuluai, who went off with a head knock six minutes before half-time but returned for the start of the second half, and Manfredi who sustained a nasty facial cut while forcing his opposite number Tom Lineham into the corner flag but was thrust back into the action after undergoing repairs.

Trailing 8-4 at the break, Warrington lost much of their direction in the second half and relied on the cutting thrust of man of the match Ratchford to find a way through the Wigan defence, where he found replacement full-back Escare an immovable last line of defence.

The kicking game of Williams kept the Warriors on the front foot and the Wolves suffered a blow when Roberts was forced off with a knee injury 15 minutes from the end.

Manfredi’s late try secured the triumph for Wigan

Wigan’s best scoring chance in the second half came from a break by Escare, who was stopped in his tracks by the excellent Ratchford, while the Frenchman made a hash of a drop-goal attempt and Tomkins was wide with an ambitious penalty shot from almost halfway.

However, Wane’s nerves were finally settled four minutes from the end when Manfredi took Tomkins’ pass to dive over for his second try and the outgoing coach punched the air in celebration.

Catalans Dragons 20-14 Warrington Wolves: French side secure historic upset win in Challenge Cup final

25 Aug

Catalans Dragons stunned Warrington Wolves to win their first Challenge Cup.

The French side became the first non-English team to win the trophy in its history.

Ben Garcia of Catalans Dragons celebrates scoring their second try

The Dragons looked capable of the upset as soon as Lewis Tierney went over early on.

Ben Garcia and Brayden Wiliame got their two additional tries, and Josh Drinkwater kicked four goals.

Wire crossed twice (Ben Murdoch-Masila and George King) and Tyrone Roberts kicked three goals.

But, in front of Wembley Stadium’s worst Challenge Cup final crowd (50,672) since WWII, the Catalans Dragons ultimately ran out deserved champions.