The Huddersfield Giants captain Danny Brough was officially warned by the referee in the game against Catalans. Photograph: Ed Sykes/Action Images
Catalan Dragons broke their duck at the sixth attempt with an impressively robust 30-14 victory over the Huddersfield Giants to ease fears that Super League's successful French experiment could be an unintended victim of the reintroduction of relegation.
The Dragons were one of two teams, with the London Broncos, who had lost their first five fixtures, a wretched run that had led their famously volatile owner, Bernard Guasch, to order the team home from a planned stay in England for crisis talks.
The threat of the cleaver from Guasch, a big deal in meat in Perpignan and its surrounds, seems to have worked wonders, as this performance came less than a fortnight after they had conceded 56 points at Wakefield.
It was earned without a number of injured and suspended regulars, meaning that the young French players around whom the Dragons must build their long-term future played a prominent role. Éloi Pélissier had a fine game at hooker with the props Mickael Simon, Olivier Elima and Benjamin Garcia all holding their own against the big Huddersfield pack, and out wide Mathias Pala laid on two fine second-half tries, one of them for Morgan Escaré, the elegant full-back.
But the Catalans were also indebted to a pair of former Bradford players, as Leon Pryce steered them intelligently and Elliott Whitehead was outstanding in the second row.
Huddersfield remain in mid-table with two wins, two draws and two defeats, but that will be no huge concern to their coach Paul Anderson who will surely write this off as one of those character-building nights ahead of big home tests against Warrington next Sunday then St Helens in the Challenge Cup. They were denied the game's opening try by the French video referee, Thierry Alibert, who then reinforced his reputation for idiosyncrasy by awarding a score to Louis Anderson when the former New Zealand second-row seemed to have lost control before grounding the ball.
In addition, Catalan, who have been comfortably the least disciplined team in the competition this season and were far from angelic on this occasion, somehow received the game's first six penalties from the referee, Richard Silverwood. Huddersfield may have been guilty of losing their discipline, especially their captain, Danny Brough, but they could certainly claim provocation.
Consecutive penalties handed the Catalans the position for Escaré to send Zeb Taia over for the game's opening try after 16 nervy minutes, and Brough received an official warning from Silverwood before Anderson's try, awarded by Alibert. Thomas Bosc converted both and added a penalty to establish a 14-0 half-time lead, and Anderson's second try four minutes into the second half after excellent work by Taia and Pala allowed Catalan to relax.
Escaré's score, which followed an Elima offload, made it 24-0, so late Huddersfield tries from Scott Grix, Brett Ferres and Jodie Broughton did not cause much local concern. Whitehead touched down a Pélissier kick for the try his performance deserved, and Catalan ended a game smiling for the first time this season.
They are now 11th in the table above London and also Hull KR and Bradford, who meet on Sunday.