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Super League Aussies Abroad - Season Preview

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One of the leading expats is league legend Steve Menzies, who will line up for his 21st season of top-flight rugby league after signing a 12-month contract extension with the Catalans Dragons who open with a match in east Yorkshire against Hull Kingston Rovers.

The French club, who finished fourth on the table last season, will be looking to improve even further especially with Menzies, now 39, playing as well as ever.

But the Dragons will start the season without Taree-born half-back Scott Dureau who had a tumour removed from behind his eye. It is unclear when he will play again.

And they will undoubtedly miss coach Trent Robinson who has returned to the NRL and the Sydney Roosters after leading the Dragons to successive play-off appearances.

Meanwhile, Menzies, nicknamed Beaver, has played 502 first-grade matches in a career spanning two hemispheres which began at Manly in 1993.

"When you are 19, you don't think about what you are doing at 21, let alone 39," he said during a visit to Australia in December.

"Looking back, 1993 was 20 years ago. If someone said they'd give me 10 years I would have taken it.

"To play in Australia, then go to England and now France.

"I'm still really enjoying it and the footy's been really good over there. I am still competing at that level and wanted to play one more season then I am pretty sure that will be it."

Warrington Wolves, beaten 26-18 by Leeds in last season's Grand Final, have four Aussies - Brett Hodgson, Michael and Joel Monaghan and Trent Waterhouse - in their squad for 2013.

The Wolves, who finished second in last season's home-and-away fixtures, one point behind Wigan Warriors, look to have a comfortable introduction to the new campaign at home to perennial strugglers Castleford Tigers on Sunday February 3.

Hodgson, who will celebrate his 35th birthday on February 12, joined Warrington in 2011 and will chalk up his 300th first-grade appearance two matches into the Super League season.

The former Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers full-back broke the Wolves record for the fastest to kick 100 goals for the club, reaching this milestone in only his 19th game.

Wigan, last year's minor premiers, will once again look to goal-kicking winger Pat Richards to win the big games for them, starting at Salford Reds on Friday, February 1.

NSW-born Richards, another former Eels and Tigers player from the NRL, has starred with the Warriors since joining them in 2006.

He is now third in the club's top points scorer of all time overtaking Frano Botica (1,913 points) last season.

Richards is Wigan's fifth highest goal scorer of all time and needs 813 goals to draw level with Colin Tyrer who is fourth.

Hull, who travel to World Club Challenge finalists Leeds Rhinos on Friday, February 1, will look to veteran second-rower Ben Galea and new signing, stand-off Daniel Holdsworth, to help them improve on their sixth position finish last season.

And St Helens forward Anthony Laffranchi, the Murwillumbah-born former Wests Tigers and Gold Coast Titans player, will aim to add to the eight tries he scored in 27 games in his debut season for the Saints in 2012. They are at home to Huddersfield Giants on Saturday, February 2.

Bradford Bulls, having survived their financial crisis, meet Wakefield Wildcats while London Broncos tackle Widnes Vikings on Sunday.

More here


Edited by AndyCapp

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