Been reported here the utility player 27 yrs old with 77 SL games under his belt has signed for the Bulls for next two seasons. Joining up with another Carcassonne lad Mikael Simon who has gone to Wakefield.
Catalans continue to expand their operation. Here the new club committee convened this past week with two new members Mathieu Khedimi, who will have responsibility for the new U19s Academy set up in 2015 and Gerard Callis who is the Chairman of St Esteve Elite 1 club and the Dragons feeder side. Both sound like good appointments bringing the diverse elements of the club together. See that Cyril Gossard who played in the Wembley Final of 2006 is going to be one of the Academy trainers next year - good solid player & bloke to have on board with the youngsters. Seb Raguin who was also in that Wembley match continues his work as the clubs football manager more especially now as he has retired from playing fully after a last year fling at St Esteve. For me Guasch makes some good signings certainly off the field.
Being more of a long time TV watcher of the game and only recently becoming a regular at attending, I could be very wrong here but I've never noticed an ice cream stand at any of the grounds I've been to.
Now we're a summer sport and we actually seem to be having a summer for the second year in a row, I'd have expected to see a van or one of those mobile stalls doing a roaring trade particularly on a blazing hot Saturday or Sunday afternoon game.
It's not like you'd have to do anything other than have someone on standby once you know what the weather's likely to do. Surely some grounds have this??
Broncos at the Stoop circa 1997 had Haagen Dazs on tap. As a kid could buy ice cream at Naughton Park Widnes circa 1958. A fella from St Helens by the name of Mitchell had the franchise. He was there for years. A 99er with cadbury flake in February just a treat!
For me further sign of Catalans foot print. Larroyer first at Hull KR now Simon to Trinity. At the top well sure Casty at the Roosters. Pelissier and even more so Escare courted strongly across the Channel. Now for the Academy to come on stream in 2015 to accelerate the process. Onwards and upwards.
Warrington coach Tony Smith had little sympathy with London's plight after watching his side run in 13 tries against the Broncos.
Smith said: "For the London club and for Super League it's a lesson to be learned. It shows you how not to get ready for a rugby league season.
"London are paying the price for having a handful of players at the start of the season while the rest of us when were honing our skills and doing the hard work in November and December for a long and arduous contest.
"When you start the season with just a few players do you expect anything else? It didn't matter who was the coach it was a year for relegation and being so under prepared of course they were going to get their backsides kicked.
"And if they didn't you would have to look at the rest of us in the competition because of the advantage that we had.
"It's how not to do things and how not to improve the standards of Super League by letting clubs in when they were so ill-prepared like London were."
Eloi Pelissier cuts such an efferescent figure in Catalan country whether on home territory up the Agly Valley at St Paul, the family Pizza shop at Canet Plage or on the field at Brutus. This week he has been followed on his jaunts by a Bein Sports Television crew doing a profile on one of the Dragons treasured jewels; the 22 year old hooker is on the verge of becoming the youngest ever Dragons player to reach 100 appreances for the club. They'll show the piece prior to their live coverage of the Wigan game tomorrow night. The French game depends entirely on Bein Sports to give the game visibility nationwide. These player profiles - they've done the same with Escare,Whitehead,Williams, Bosc & Duport too - valuable to raise the Dragons & the games profile this side of the Channel.
Not sure why SKY are televising all the Catalans home games. If they think these are good TV I bet Catalans and Toulouse derbies may go down well with the broadcaster?
I am under the impression that SKY have paid more this year because more games are being shown. And every other week that extra game come from Perpignan courtesy of French televisions Bein Sports feed.The Sky commentry crew sit I think if I'm not mistaken in a studio somewhere in the UK. The trade off is Bein Sport take other SL games from across the Channel produced by Sky with the French commentary this time done from Paris. Additionally Catalan have outlayed money to install a permanent giant screen which saves SKy the expense of having to re-locate and negates the RFL having to send over additional officials.
A poster a while back said that Catalans are quids in on this one because a supplement is paid to all clubs shown on television. I hope this is so because there has been a fall off in French fans travelling distances to Perpignan since Bein Sport came on stream (for just €11 a month).
Catalan have announced the names of their 35 player Academy squad for 2015. 24 are from the Catalan area including five from rugby union including a quartet from USAP and one each from Albi, Avignon,Carpentras,St Gaudens and Villeneuve-sur-Lot. It seems that the Dragons have abided by the Federations decision to restrict their recruitment to one per elite club although there are half a dozen from the three Aude clubs Carcassonne, Lezignan & Limoux. There are only 5 players who played for French U18s recently against the England Academy side. The group reassemble this week for initial training session before being presented to the crowd at the Wigan match Saturday night. There will be some fine tuning before the final 25 man group is established before pre-season starts in September.
Elsewhere Avignon are making some changes. They seem a bit out of the equation presently especially after that 17,000 crowd at Parc des Sports last November against the Kiwis. After winning the Cup year before last fell back a bit even if they supplied 11 players to the senior, juniors & cadets at national level last term. They may well lose some of their top juniors to the Catalan Academy in 2015 too. A change of Presidents has been announced with an emphasis on that word 'professionnalisation'again as at the ASC. One big change could be interesting in the arrival at SOA of Mohamed Chaabi from the Federation & who was responsible for getting some of those big international crowds into Avignon in recent years.
Really pleased for Laurent Frayssinous. Having a French coach going forward with new Academy set up next year ticks the box. He had six years under Potter, Walters and Robinson as the No2. Hopefully seeing this new contract out will see him become the longest serving coach at the Dragons. The trouble with the Aussies so far is they've only stayed a couple of years at most. The club year by year grows as a French entity. This passed year with a French trainer Fred Marcerou for the first time. In Australia the two big expansion clubs Brisbane & Melbourne both benefited hugely long term under the involvement of Bellamy and Bennett. Catalan need this stability as they re-structure and become more & more professional.
Elsewhere the Catalan Dragons Business Club met recently to discuss future plans.
The multiplier effect at the Dragons must be impressive surely. The Sky money something like less than 20% of their turn over? How many other clubs match that. Their successes off the field enabling them at last to field an Academy set up in 2015. Whatever largess in the millions from Sky Catalan has been well used to grow their operation attracting considerable public & private investment. What better example of priming the pump.
On the recent Sky contract wasn't there an immediate increase for all SL clubs across the board because they where showing more games in 2014 - but weren't half of these of Catalan games played in Perpignan with Sky taking the Bein feed?
So as per the original question do any treizistes such as Audois and Cliff Spracklen have the inside scoop on Carcassone's bid?
In two articles appearing in local papers in the last week or so reference has been made to a SL1/2 bid down the line. The first one by the Sports bod employed by the Town Council and then by the new ASC coach Laurent Garnier freshly arrived from Brisbane. He wants the club to be fully professionalised; going to three weekly training sessions from next season. The Fed President Zalduendo is pushing hard for Toulouse and their bid but is now being challenged it seems by the Carcassonne President Dr Guilhem for the Federation position within two years. You get the feeling here that the movers and shakers are seeing cross Channel connection imperative to the games future. An axis Toulouse-Carcassonne- Perpignan-Avignon could be the key.
Catalans continue to press the right buttons as these images here portray. Past linking with the future.Hundreds attend the inauguration of the new west stand behind the posts at Brutus last weekend. Not only the stand re-named the Puig Aubert Tribune but other parts of the complex too. The mayor of Perpignan present and the leader of the County Council (Department) also. Bernard Guasch in his element both at Brutus and later at the 80th birthday celebration of the XIII Catalan club - one of the founders which became the Dragons. This event took place at a local chateau and was attended by more than 1300 old and new plus a special guest in Keith Senoir preparing for his special bike ride back to Headingley. Looking at these events unfolding to me indicate how the club has grown and becoming a major sporting player in this part of France.