Catalans Dragons inflicted Warrington’s seventh defeat of the season with a second-half peppering in Perpignan.
Sam Tomkins returned early from his broken leg to torment the Wolves with a dynamic display from full-back, including eight crucial goal-kicks which were decisive in what had been an edgy contest until three very late tries.
Warrington had nerves of steel early in this game as they held the Dragons 6-6 at half-time but five second-half tries from Mitch Pearce, Julian Bousquet, Gil Dudson, Fouad Yaha and Arthur Mourgue saw the Dragons worthy winners.
Tomkins was first to trouble the scoreboard with a ninth-minute penalty goal after Warrington second-rower Oliver Holmes was punished for a high tackle on Mourgue.
But the Wolves scrum-half George Williams turned the tide with two breaks which led to winger Connor Wrench scoring the first try of the game in the right corner, Peter Mata’utia on target from the touchline with the conversion to make it 6-2.
Young French centre Matthieu Laguerre soon crossed the line for Catalans but referee Liam Moore ruled he had not grounded the ball properly. However, there was nothing wrong with Tom Davies’ 23rd-minute touchdown after he collected a clever slip-pass from the tackle by his centre Tyrone May to level the scores.
It was the introduction of giant prop Sam Kasiano from the bench which really fired up the Dragons as he and fellow front-row replacement Dudson had Warrington on the rack with a series of powerful and punishing runs.
But Catalans could not turn pressure into points and the two teams remained level at 6-6 at half-time.
The Dragons came out firing after the break with an early penalty from Tomkins but Warrington hit back with a 70-metre break by Wrench, ended by a tackle from Tomkins.
The game was paused when Warrington full-back Josh Thewlis needed attention for an apparent injury and Catalans were then forced into making a goal-line drop-out. Pearce then went high on Thewlis and up stepped Peter Mata’utia to level the scores once more with a penalty.
Catalans then worked the ball to the other end of the field where Pearce side-stepped and twisted over the line, needing video referee evidence to prove he had grounded the ball, and Tomkins added the conversion to make it 14-8 in the 57th minute.
The Dragons trapped Thewlis in his own in-goal area to force another drop from between the posts and Warrington went further behind to a 65th-minute penalty when Jason Clarke was deemed to have interfered at the play-the-ball.
Indiscipline again cost Warrington when Tomkins was taken out with a high shot and from the resulting field position, prop Bousquet found a gap in the line to score from short range. Tomkins’ successful conversion stretched the lead to 22-8 with 10 minutes left to play.
Kasiano then burst up the middle of the pitch to release Dudson who slid over the line beneath the posts, Tomkins adding the conversion for 28-8.
Then Kasiano cut loose again to put winger Yaha in at the left corner, the try making him the club’s all-time top try-scorer with 88 touchdowns before Yaha then turned provider for French scrum-half Mourgue who rounded off the scoring in the final minute.