When Catalans get brought up in conversation, the discussion tends to go down the path of ‘if they were as good away as they were at home, they’d be brilliant’.
For years, the Dragons have been a force to be reckoned with at their fortress, the Stade Gilbert Brutus, but feeble when on the road.
So you could hardly blame anyone coming into 2016 that wrote of the Dragons’ chances once again this year. Most anticipated they would muster up a similar effort to the years before despite, on paper, recruiting impressively.
But with the halfway stage of the season approaching, Catalans could move up to second in Super League tonight with victory over Hull KR and cement them as contenders for the year.
Despite that, Laurent Frayssinous’ side has gone under the radar in a way comparable to Huddersfield Giants’ 2013 side that went on to win the League Leaders’ Shield despite being acknowledged as genuine threats.
They’ve gone about their business quietly; opening round defeats to Wigan and Hull FC have perhaps aided their silent ascent up the table, but four consecutive victories over Easter has elevated them to the heights of the competition, and they show no real signs of slowing down.
Dave Taylor has been arguably the best player in the competition so far. Glenn Stewart has been another astute addition while it is no coincidence that Paul Aiton’s return to the side has sparked their unbeaten run.
Most promisingly, three of their six victories have come away from home, and a triumph over KR would give them four wins in five away outings, astonishing form for any side.
Catalans will continue to be doubted, but doing so may be an unwise decision.