IT turned into a pretty convincing win in the end, but Saints at times looked guilty of expecting victory to be a formality against a Dragons side that will play in the qualifiers at the back end of the campaign.

Catalans, with former Saint Luke Walsh prominent, led four times and only trailed by two points going into the last eight minutes to make the 10,000 Sunday afternoon crowd sweat for a while.

Although the manner in which Saints rattled in tries was pleasing, there were some traits on display that they will not be able to display next week at Wakefield and moving forward.

But the plus points are another win to extend Justin Holbrook's unbeaten home record to five and closes the gap on the top four to three points.

Defensively this was Saints at their loosest since Holbrook took the helm, with a feeling of tit-for-tat ‘you score, we score’ pervading.

A look down the visitors teamsheet showed a line up littered with quality players, who have for whatever reason failed to deliver this year.

Former England boss Steve McNamara is now at the helm, charged with the task of keeping them in the top flight.

And in flashes they looked dangerous, but their ill-discipline was again their Achilles heel.

The game was barely three minutes old when Justin Horo collected Walsh’s reverse kick to touch down, with the ex-Saints number seven slotting the extras.

Saints’ response was swift and after a penalty for holding down, one of many, Saints pressed with James Roby finding the supporting Theo Fages with the scoring pass.

Fages once again had a fine game, stepping up to the plate with the Saints pair up against more experienced campaigners in the Dragons side.

Following Fages' score Saints had a turn with the ball but Regan Grace could not take a Jonny Lomax long ball.

Saints then failed to retrieve a short drop out when they should have been turning the screw.

They paid for it at the other end on 17 minutes with some surprisingly soft tackling allowing Walsh to step and drive to the posts.

The same player made a hash of his last tackle play to give Saints, emboldened by the introduction of Alex Walmsley, to turn the momentum their way.

Walmsley added an extra bit of crunch to the Saints tackling, which was vital but it was his 45-metre gallop to the line, sidestepping, before powering over for a try that caught the eye.

Percival kicked a penalty on 29 minutes – but after Lomax had uncharacteristically dropped the ball from the kick off Catalans pressed again.

And two minutes later full back Tony Gigot raced on to a Walsh kick to restore the Dragons lead.

The nip-and-tuck game continued, with Percival blotting his copybook by failing to put Grace away .

To make matters worse Percival cut inside on this occasion and lost the ball on impact and the position went begging.

On the positive side, Percival’s decision to cut inside set the platform for Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook to score the last try of the first half to put Saints 20-18 to the good.

After McCarthy-Scarsbrook had twice been penalised for a seemingly pernickety play-the-ball offence Catalans doubled the punishment on 50-minutes when Horo scored his second.

Percival levelled it at 22-22 with a penalty on 59 minutes and after giving the ball some air from the restart they found themselves in front again when Ryan Morgan dashed down the right before cutting inside, drawing the full back and sending the appreciative Lomax in between the sticks on his landmark 150th appearance for the club.

A Percival conversion and penalty took Saints into a two-score lead deep in the last quarter.

But with the game seemingly won Danny Richardson, who had tried to show off different aspects of his half back box of tricks, chipped a ball over only for it to be plucked out of the air by his opposite number Richie Myler.

The Leeds-bound half back raced the full length, despite Roby tracking him all the way, with Walsh slotting touchline conversion to cut Saints’ lead to 30-28.

Crucially, Catalans fluffed the deep Saints restart with Saints winning in a penalty.

They tapped it, with Percival storming on to a fine Lomax pass to score in the corner.

The England centre’s conversion made sure of the points with Saints then adding some flattering gloss to a scoreline as the slain Dragon wilted.

Luke Thompson powered in for one after taking Richardson’s reverse pass, and then with hooter about to sound, Roby, back on after a short breather, darted through on the right before chipping it on the hoof for Morgan to collect and touch down.

In the end a comfortable win with some nice tries created, but Saints won’t get another day from here on in which they can clock off as many times defensively and still come up with the good.

Saints: Lomax; Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace; Fages, Richardson; Douglas, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Peyroux, Wilkin. Subs: Walmsley, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lee, Knowles.

Catalans: Gigot; Tierney, Inu, Duport, Yaha; Walsh, Myler; Moa, Aiton, Bousquet, Anderson, Horo, Baitieri. Subs: Casty, Bird, Da Costa, Navarrete.