Jack Broadbent leads spirited effort but Castleford are 'devastated' at loss in France
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The Tigers produced a spirited effort that was much improved from their previous week against Warrington and looked set for a rare and surprise victory in France as Jack Broadbent’s brilliant long range try put them ahead with eight minutes remaining.
But McMeeken – who was part of the Cas team that went all the way to the Grand Final – dashed hopes when charging over from close range four minutes from time for what proved the winning score.
First half tries from Paul Seguier and Tom Johnstone had Catalans 12-6 ahead at the break with Broadbent replying for Cas after he reacted quickest to pick up a loose ball and race over.
Although Arthur Mourgue crossed for another home score early in the second half Jordan Turner’s try kept the Tigers in the hunt after he finished off good work by full-back Greg Eden and winger Mahe Fonua.
Broadbent, who impressed in a half-back role he was pushed into with Gareth Widdop unable to play because of illness, came up with a thrilling 80-metre break after stepping past Mourgue to give the visitors the lead for the first time only for McMeeken’s effort to leave them empty handed.
“We’re absolutely devastated,” said Cas boss Last.
"To come here to a quality side like Catalans, they are a difficult team to play against anywhere but here in Perpignan and we take them to the last couple of sets of the game – I am very proud of our players.
“After all of our effort we haven’t come away with the points and that’s what it’s all about.
"Our travelling support has been superb and they know the lads are trying hard.
“I did think we’d won the game when Jack Broadbent went 80 metres to score but we couldn’t quite see it out and that’s where we’re at against the best teams in the competition.
“Every single play is important and we just didn’t quite nail one or two of those plays and it came back to bite us.”
Last revealed a bout of sickness in the camp had affected his players before the game, with experienced stand-off Gareth Widdop unable to play as a result.
He explained: “We had a little bit of diarrhoea in camp. We had to isolate one or two of them, so to come away with that type of performance is a real credit to them.”