SAINTS survived the sending off of Morgan Knowles to secure a hard-fought 21-12 victory in Perpignan to stay on top of the Super League.

It was a performance built on a solid defensive effort, and they had to repel numerous sets on their own line to emerge victorious.

They got off to to a dream start when half back Jonny Lomax backed up Ben Barba for a try in the first minute.

They doubled the lead on 25 minutes when sparkling handling, including a spot-on cut-out pass from Barba sent Regan Grace flying in at the corner.

Danny Richardson again slotted the extras and Saints looked comfortable.

They did, however, have to repel a succession of Dragons sets on the line to go in at the break with a 12-0 to the good.

Saints were good for that lead, and as much as Catalans had pressed they seemed to lack a real cutting edge.

In the second half the hosts monopolised possession with repeat set after repeat set.

Eventually the line cracked, with full back David Mead being adjudged to have got the ball down, despite Barba's hand being beneath it, after the being referred upstairs to the video ref.

With Catalan having the lion's share of the ball, they received another leg up when Knowles lifted Margalet in what was adjudged to be a dangerous tackle and referee Phil Bentham went into his pocket for a red card.

Saints had it all to do, but we're fortunate to see Benjamin Jullien yellow-carded not long after for an apparent crusher tackle on Lomax.

That kept it even for 10, and they withstood further pressure before coming up with another score of their own.

And it was a pearler of a try when it came, with the recalled Adam Swift using power and footwork to beat two men on the line after nice hands from James Roby, Lomax and Tommy Makinson had fashioned the half chance.

Barba almost added another, but the pass from Mark Percival was forward.

As the game approached e last quarter, the Dragons threw the fat back into the fire when Da Costa bisected Barba and Luke Douglas for a soft try on 61.

Albert tagged on his second goal, and it was game on.

Saints pressed and twice Lomax went for a dab through on the last, with the second of those yielding a penalty.

Richardson's effort, however, struck the post.

However, the young half had no such trouble striking a one-pointer to make it a two-score lead.

They withstood a couple of more Dragons raids, with Swift twice defusing high kicks.

And then just before the final hooter, a high shot on Theo Fages saw Richardson slot another goal to wrap up the scoring.

Saints: Barba; Swift, Makinson, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Richardson; Douglas, Roby, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, Wilkin.

Subs: Fages, Walmsley, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles.

Catalans: Mead: Broughton, Thornley, Wiliame, Tierney; Bird, Albert; Casty, McIlorum, Simon, Julluen, Garcia, Baitiera. subs: Bousquet, Margalet, Maria, Da Costa.