Catalans Dragons on the hunt for centres and a prop forward for 2023

CATALANS DRAGONS are firing up their recruitment drive as they rebuild for 2023.

The end of the World Cup has allowed coach Steve McNamara and General Manager Alex Chan the opportunity to approach players and agents as the Dragons fill some big holes in their squad.

Two centres and a prop forward are the main targets for Les Dracs after seeing twelve first-team players depart from last season’s playing group and just three new recruits announced so far for next season.

Catalans have released four prop forwards (Gil Dudson, Sam Kasiano, Matthieu Cozza and Dylan Napa) and recruited only two in Romain Navarrete and Sio Siua Taukeiaho.

First-choice centres Samisoni Langi and Dean Whare have also left the club and replacements are actively being sought.

The Dragons gave been linked with a series of players in Australia, including Sydney Roosters’ Kiwi international prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, as the club tries to reinvigorate the squad that finished fourth in Super League last season following a league-leaders’ shield-winning campaign and Grand Final appearance in 2021.

Catalans started pre-season last week with just four players in attendance as coaching staff took the opportunity to look at three new recruits and a regular frontrower on his return from injury.

Former Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone, Hull FC second-rower Manu Ma’u and Romain Navarrete on his return to the club where his career first started, joined French prop Julian Bousquet, who has recovered from surgery on an injured knee.

Coach McNamara said the training sessions had been a valuable exercise, adding: “We started the first week of pre-season with a staff camp then the players who were injured at the end of last season spent the first week together.

“It was a good exercise to get these four players together before the rest of the group reassembles.

“It gave us a chance to look at their rehabilitation and readiness to start full pre-season training.

“This was a detailed and specific programme to integrate them back safely before being joined by the rest of the players who weren’t involved in the RLWC on Monday 21st November.

“The French players from the World Cup will return on December 5th with all other players involved in the World Cup returning after Christmas.

“Pre-season is always like this for us in a World Cup year due to the huge number of players we have involved at international level.

“It’s no surprise to us and in fact a great challenge to for us to embrace.”