Catalans Dragons will announce their third new signing this week following the acquisition of Mitchell Pearce and Dylan Napa from the NRL.
Coach Steve McNamara’s squad begins pre-season training today (Monday) with just one final addition to be made to the playing group, with Pearce and Napa due to arrive in Perpignan after Christmas.
“We are still to announce our third signing,” McNamara told League Express.
“And that should be concluded within the next few days, alongside our new Head of Performance.”
Speculation down under is that axed Penrith Panthers’ halfback Tyrone May will be the latest recruit for Les Dracs, although it is unclear where he would fit into the Catalans squad, with Pearce and Josh Drinkwater lined up as six and seven for next season.
The Dragons chief said he was “more than happy” with his squad for 2022 and there was “a sense of expectation and excitement” at the club.
He added, “It took us all a while to get over the disappointment of the Grand Final but we’ve had the break now and I can see energy and desire in the players’ eyes.
“It’s so important to see that motivation and readiness to go again and we will have that in abundance this season.”
McNamara said he was keen to “get back to normal” after two difficult seasons disrupted by the Covid pandemic.
He added, “It’s not just us, I think everybody is looking forward to having some kind of normality back. We started last season playing away, then behind closed doors, then limited crowds and right at the end of the season things felt normal again. We need that normality to run into next season.”
McNamara is also delighted with another signing, the return of former Dragons prop Sam Moa as assistant coach.
He said, “Sam’s return has gone down really well with the playing group. His personality and the way he has embraced the Catalan culture and lifestyle is infectious and he is so good for our players.
“He went to (French Elite One champions) Lézignan and he fulfilled the last of his ambitions as a player but his knowledge and skill-set is incredible and I was always keen to attract him back as a coach.
“We want him to use his experience in the physicality of the game, ruck defence and technicalities for middle players, he is second to none in that aspect of Rugby League.
“Back in the day at Sydney Roosters, Sam helped to mentor Dylan Napa and he is very keen to meet up with him again.”
Catalans and Toulouse will hold a pre-season match two weeks before the new season starts.
“We’ll have just the one warm-up,” said McNamara. “It’s a little different this year but our plan is to have that one game, have a weekend off, then go straight into Round One at St Helens.”
In other news from Perpignan, Dragons President Bernard Guasch has told local press that he isn’t keen on a potential ground-share with rugby union neighbours USAP.
The city’s Mayor recently suggested that both clubs could play at Stade Aimé Giral in the future, freeing-up Stade Gilbert Brutus for professional football, but the Dragons chief said, “We are very proud of what we have achieved so far in such a short time as a club and we deserve our own stadium.”
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