After spending six seasons at Warrington, Richie Myler headed to the south of France in 2016 to become the latest in a select band of English players to have played for the Dragons.
And halfway through the season, with the Dragons on a winning streak, it looked as though he had made a wise choice, before the season fell apart in the second half of the season, finally petering out as the Dragons finished in sixth place in the Super 8s.
“There were a number of factors that interrupted our progress last season,” explains Myler.
“Injuries played a big part. We were on a roll until half way through the season but then got into a situation where players were having to play in different positions. Add to that a few off-field problems that some players had, and you can see that this season we’re trying to put that behind us and that’s why about 12 players have left and we’ve had seven or eight coming in.
“In bringing in new players the club has looked for lifestyles that are perhaps a bit more stable, in most cases with families to provide that stability.
“It’s a shame that our form towards the end of the season ruined what could have been a really special season. When we were sitting second at one point half way through the year we thought we were capable of going all the way.”
And Myler is aware of the potential for his club if it could win a trophy.
“The whole of the south of France is crying out for a bit of success. As soon as we win something I’m certain that the whole area will erupt, because there is so much passion for Rugby League in the south of France.
“The rivalry between League and Union in the south of France is immense too. Both ourselves and USAP want to be successful, and I think it’s a healthy rivalry.”
He doesn’t share the view, however, of Catalans chairman Bernard Guasch that the French lifestyle doesn’t produce players who are tough enough to play Rugby League.
“I’ve seen some of the games at a level below Super League and they are brutal. I certainly wouldn’t be worried about the toughness of those players. There’s no doubt there is a different way of life in France, but I think there’s some real talent there and I’m sure we’ll see more of it coming through to Super League.”