Having looked like treble contenders just two months ago, a terrible two-month period has seen the Catalans Dragons collapse.
Six consecutive defeats have resulted in the Dragons’ silverware hopes badly damaged, having been knocked out of the Challenge Cup and fall eight points adrift of league leaders Hull FC.
Their most recent defeat to Widnes, a new low point in the season as they went down 32-4, coupled with St Helens’ victory over Wigan has left the Dragons out of the top four despite spending the vast majority of the year jostling for top spot.
But, despite many claiming that the Dragons have lost their fire, the more likely issue is surrounding the current injuries to their squad.
Like the majority of teams this year, the Dragons are now dealing with a major injury crisis, similar to what Wigan, Castleford, Hull KR and Leeds went through earlier this year.
They still have long-term injuries, namely to centre Krisnan Inu and hooker Paul Aiton, who has been a big miss all year. But beyond that, Jodie Broughton, who was exceptional earlier in the season, has been in and out of the side recently due to injury, while the likes of Todd Carney, Richie Myler and Glenn Stewart have all been missing in recent weeks. That’s without mentioning Dave Taylor, who has struggled with niggling injuries all season, and several other first-teamers.
Their issues were highlighted a few weeks ago when Tony Gigot partnered 18-year-old Lucas Albert in the halves as they went down to Wakefield.
Catalans’ youngsters have done very well at times this year, with Albert, Alrix Da Costa, Fouad Yaha and Romain Navarette all playing their part. But, just like Leeds’ youngsters earlier in the year, the weekly demands of playing at such a high level seems to be taking its toll.
They have also lost several closely-fought games. The aforementioned defeat to Wakefield ended 30-28, with a missed Pat Richards goal the difference between the teams. Richards’ skewed conversion at Magic Weekend also cost them victory at Magic Weekend to the Wildcats. Their defeat to Widnes really was a one off.
Catalans’ season is by no means over, with the Dragons just two points behind Saints in fourth. But they desperately need their key men back before it is too late.