27 Mar 2020

Early season report: Catalans Dragons

We take a look at how Catalans Dragons have performed so far in the 2020 Super League season.

Catalans Dragons season has been a story of contrasting fortunes on and off the field. 

On it, the French outfit have played some quite wonderful rugby on their way to three wins from four matches. 

They have scored at least 30 points in three successive matches since the round one loss to Huddersfield. 

Steve McNamara's side look a team very much capable of a challenging at the top of Super League. 

Away from the pitch, things have looked a lot less rosy.

The acquisition of Israel Folau was highly controversial.

No one doubts Folau's rugby abilities but some of his comments away from the game meant his arrival in Super League was not exactly welcomed by many.

The Dragons have also had to deal with a number of postponements. Their trips to Wakefield and St Helens were lost to the weather and World Club Challenge, respectively. 

Catalans' most recent clash was also postponed, with Leeds opting not to travel to the Stade Gilbert Brutus due to a member of their squad showing Coronavirus symptoms.

Story so far

L (12-32) v Huddersfield Giants

W (36-18) v Castleford Tigers

W (34-29) v Hull FC

W (30-14) v Salford Red Devils

Position: 7th

Points: 6

Best player

Sam Tomkins has been in imperious form so far in 2020. The full-back crossed for a hat-trick against Castleford and also played a key role in the comeback win over Hull FC. When at his best, Tomkins remains one of the most dangerous players in Super League, and he has definitely shown that in Catalans' opening four games. 

Most impressive new signing

Catalans certainly had a star-studded cast of new players join them at the beginning of the campaign. One man who perhaps snuck under the radar was Josh Drinkwater. The 27-year-old rejoined the club from Hull KR after a year away and has made a good start to life back in Perpignan. Drinkwater has registered an assist in all four of the Dragons' matches, and notably three in the win over Castleford.

Outstanding performance 

It was not an 80-minute effort, as they were outperformed for long periods, but the comeback against Hull FC was a sign of just how destructive the Dragons can be when they are on song. Trailing 28-10 at the KCOM Stadium, Catalans drew the game level at 28-28 before James Maloney went over for the match-winning try.

Low point

The first week of the season was a pretty tough one for the Dragons. Catalans announced the signing of Israel Folau, which was met with widespread condemnation from the world of rugby league. The French outfit were then resoundingly beaten at home by Huddersfield Giants in their opening match. Things have since improved but it certainly was a difficult start.

What’s to come?

Catalans face a significant fixture pile up when Super League gets up and running again. They have only played four times and may find themselves playing twice a week to catch up with the rest of Super League. A challenge for any club but even more when you are based in a different country. However, there is enough quality in this Dragons squad to still obtain positive results to continue their strong start to the season.

Grade: A

By Oli Lathrope