CATALANS DRAGONS’ desperate search for new recruits has seen the club linked with a host of players with just four days to go before the start of Super League 2020.
Coach Steve McNamara is working around the clock with club president Bernard Guasch to find a replacement for Brayden Wiliame and boost an injury-hit squad before the Dragons kick-off round one at home to Huddersfield Giants on Saturday.
Recent attempts to sign Salford prop Gil Dudson have been unsuccessful, as have approaches down under for the services of Cronulla Sharks’ Australian international Josh Dugan and South Sydney’s former Warrington centre Bryson Goodwin.
The club has even been linked with controversial former NRL and Australian rugby union star Israel Folau. The 30-year-old wing or centre is currently looking for a contract after being sacked by Rugby Australia for his outspoken comments on religion and homosexuality.
A record-breaking try-scorer in union, dual code international and State of Origin star, Folau would bring dazzling talent to Super League but would also attract major media scrutiny for his beliefs.
The Dragons’ squad is getting thinner by the day following the surprise departure of Wiliame before Christmas. Winger Lewis Tierney has been sidelined for a month with a facial fracture and prop forward Sam Moa is facing a lengthy lay-off after being told he needs a second operation on a broken arm he sustained at Leeds last July.
The Dragons are also waiting for medical reports on centre David Mead to discern if he is fit to play following reports of cardiological issues for the 31-year-old Papua New Guinea international. Mead resumed training last week following a two-week break for hospital tests.
Catalans have admitted they are already in the market for a prop forward so the setback for Moa is particularly damaging to the squad.
The 33-year-old Tongan international told League Express: “This last six or seven months has been the worst period of my career. The operation I had on the broken arm has not been successful.
“A plate had been inserted and I was on track to a full recovery, but when I tried contact training recently I knew something was wrong. It seems the plate hasn’t done its job and I have to have another operation, which means up to 14 weeks out again.
“It’s devastating to spend so much time watching my team-mates from the sidelines and the only consolation is I know how hard this year’s group is working in preparation for the new season and they are showing great promise.
“We need a couple of new faces but the current squad is, I think, the best we’ve had at Catalans. It’s just a shame I won’t be joining them on the pitch for a while.”
In other news from the south of France, local media are reporting potential links between former Catalans fullback Tony Gigot and Leeds Rhinos. The 29-year-old French international is currently club-less after failing to secure a deal for 2020 at Stade Gilbert Brutus.