Castleford Tigers hit back from 12-6 down at the break to earn a battling 17-17 draw in a thrilling game against Catalan Dragons.
A drop goal from on-loan half-back Gareth O’Brien five minutes from time ultimately earned the point and he was agonisingly close with another field goal effort while Jamie Ellis sent a further effort wide in the last minute to the relief of the Dragons.
In a frantic finish there was also controversy as referee James Child failed to see a late high tackle on Weller Hauraki that left the Tigers second rower with a suspected broken nose.
With Jordan Tansey and Nathan Massey earlier also having “tries” disallowed it left Castleford coach Ian Millward unhappy with the officials, but he was pleased with the effort shown by his team.
It was mostly in defence in the first half after they were pinned back for long periods by their French visitors. Three drop-outs were forced at different times, but it took the Dragons 27 minutes to open the scoring when centre Vincent Duport went over on a determined run.
Thomas Bosc added the conversion, but within five minutes Cas replied as Jordan Thompson went over with his first touch after coming on as substitute and Jamie Ellis’s goal made it 6-6.
That was how it stayed until the last minute of the half when Leon Pryce sent Louis Anderson over. There were suspicions of a forward pass, but it was allowed to go and Bosc’s conversion made it 12-6 at half-time.
Tigers were first to strike after the break when Grant Millington sent Michael Shenton over and they then went in front when Weller Hauraki put Kirk Dixon over for a try converted by Ellis.
Back came the Dragons through Damien Blanch and although Bosc missed the conversion he landed a drop goal with seven minutes remaining to put Catalan 17-16 in front.
Cas were not done, however, and O’Brien’s drop goal levelled the scores again to set up a great finish.
Castleford: Tansey; Carney, Shenton, Webster, Dixon; O’Brien, Ellis; Walker, Clark, Mason, Gilmour, Hauraki, Millington. Subs: Huby, Massey, Holmes, Thompson.
Catalan: Millard; Blanch, Menzies, Duport, Pala; Pryce, Bosc; Fakir, Henderson, Casty, Taia, Anderson, Baitieri. Subs: Elima, Mounis, Pelissier, Simon.
Referee: James Child.