Why Catalans Dragons’ Mike McMeeken was relieved after wrist dislocation

Mike McMeeken thought his season was over when he was helped from the pitch with what appeared to be a badly broken arm during the recent French derby between Catalans Dragons and Toulouse Olympique.

“I had a bone sticking out and I was thinking operations, metal plates and months of recovery,” he told League Express.

The 27-year-old former Castleford Tigers’ second-rower had been outstanding during the start to his second season in Perpignan, successfully switching to prop forward in the absence of regular frontrowers due to injury and suspension.

But, sat in an ambulance, waiting for the short trip to Perpignan hospital, McMeeken thought his season could be over, and with it any ambitions of taking part in the forthcoming World Cup.

He said, “I felt my wrist and there was a bone obviously in the wrong place. It was still under the skin thankfully, but it looked like a bad break and a long spell out of the game.

“The pain didn’t kick in until I got into the changing rooms and all the time I could feel this bone sticking out. To be honest I was trying not to look at it because it wasn’t nice to see.”

McMeeken’s fears were relieved, however, when hospital scans revealed a complete dislocation of the ulna (the largest of the two main bones in the forearm) at the wrist.

“I had no idea you could dislocate your wrist, I just thought it’s gone as I couldn’t move it at all and they sent me for x-rays which came back thankfully showing no break.

“They managed to numb my arm and popped it back into place, all I heard was a click, never felt a thing. I have to let the ligaments heal now and spend four weeks in a brace then build back some strength.

“Best case scenario is four weeks and maybe a couple more training before being ready to play again. Hopefully I’ll be back for the business end of the season.”

McMeeken has just signed a new two-year deal for Catalans and he couldn’t be happier.

“My family and I are loving it over here, the club is going in the right direction and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings.

“It was tough last year with Covid; we had a new baby and we couldn’t see our family, which really hurt.

“But things are easing up now thankfully and we’re happy settling into the French lifestyle and culture.”

McMeeken is hoping to be smiling at the end of the season, adding: “We’re all very happy within the squad, and we know we’re not quite playing to our full capacity, which is frustrating, but at the same time it’s a positive because we’re picking up the points without peaking.

“One week we’ll be attacking well and defending badly then it’s the opposite the following week, but we’re getting there. We’re not at our best yet but we know what we’re capable of and we’ll be there when we need to be.

“We have a new halfback pairing this year and Mitch (Pearce) is starting to find his feet now. Some people expected him to slot straight in but it isn’t so easy.

“Mitch has been working hard and it’s great to see it coming good for him and we are beginning to find the right combinations.

“Drinky (Josh Drinkwater) has been on form so far and he and Mitch are beginning to click.”

The switch to a new role in the team came as a surprise for McMeeken, but when coach Steve McNamara asked him to fill in for injured or suspended frontrowers recently he was only too happy to accept.

He said, “It was a pleasant change to play at prop, it can freshen your game to switch positions and by the end of it I was probably preferring it there.

“I was getting a lot of ball and you can play more and it’s added another string to my bow, so I’ll go back row, prop, or occasionally centre if I’m asked.

“The difference is that you’re making a few more tackles against the bigger boys and you have those third-man retreats, which you don’t see much on the edges.”

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