NEWS | Catalans Dragons match preview

NEWS | Catalans Dragons match preview

8th May 2019

The Dons make the trip to the south of France to take on Super League side Catalans Dragons in the Challenge Cup sixth round.

Richard Horne’s are the lowest ranked team left in the competition after knocking out Championship outfit Batley Bulldogs at the Keepmoat Stadium in round five.

The Dragons are the current Challenge Cup holders having beaten Warrington Wolves 20-14 at Wembley in August 2018.

Who’s the gaffer?

Steve McNamara took over as Catalans head coach midway through the 2017 campaign after leaving his role as New Zealand Warriors assistant coach. The 47-year-old started his coaching career with Bradford Bulls in 2006, becoming the youngest man in charge at the top level.

After an impressive few years at Odsal, McNamara was named as England head coach and guided the side to the 2013 Rugby League World Cup semi-final before being beaten by New Zealand. Spells as the Warriors and Sydney Roosters assistant followed prior to his return to Super League with the Dragons.

Ones to watch

Sam Tomkins

The experienced full-back joined Catalans from boyhood club Wigan at the end of the 2018 campaign. Tomkins burst onto the scene at the Warriors in 2008, scoring five tries in a Challenge Cup tie against Whitehaven on his debut for the club. After a Grand Final win in 2010 and two years of playing in the halves, he made the move to full-back and went on to win the Man of Steel award in 2012. The following season it was announced that Tomkins would move to the NRL to play for New Zealand Warriors, and bowed out at the DW Stadium with a league and cup double in 2013. He returned to Wigan ahead of the 2016 season and went on to win two more Super League titles before signing for the Dragons.

Brayden Williame

A skilful centre, Williame started his career with Parramatta Eels in the NRL before joining Manly in 2015. He scored seven times in 23 appearances for the Sea Eagles before signing for Catalans at the end of 2016. The Fijian international has been a key member of the Dragons’ squad since joining the club, and is always a threat with the ball in hand down the left edge.

Greg Bird

A vastly experience forward, Bird started his career with Cronulla Sharks in 2002 and played more than 100 appearances for the club before joining Catalans for his first stint with the club in 2009. He spent just one season in Super League before a return to the NRL with Gold Coast Titans. Bird has represented his state of New South Wales on 18 occasions, and also has 17 caps for Australia. The 35-year-old returned to the Dragons ahead of the 2017 campaign and guided them to Challenge Cup glory last season.

NEWS | Catalans Dragons match preview