LAST SEASON – 7TH – LOST IN THE FINAL ELIMINATOR TO ST HELENS

2014 saw Catalan Dragons come within 80 minutes of Old Trafford, despite a poor start to the season. The French side lost six of their first seven league games but managed to recover superbly under the stewardship of Laurent Frayssinous to reach the last four of the competition. This season could see the Dragons firmly establish themselves as one of the elite teams in Super League. Controversial stand-off Todd Carney has joined as the clubs marquee signing. His potential partnership in the halves with Scott Dureau looks intriguing, and will only benefit other strike players like Morgan Escare, who had a fantastic campaign at full-back last year. Experienced centre Willie Tonga has also joined what looks like a formidable set of backs, that will thrive on the back of the work the huge Catalan forward pack get through, which includes Remi Casty, who has returned to the south of France. Many people are tipping the Dragons to make a top four finish this season, and it’s not hard to see why.

KEY PLAYERS

Todd Carney’s quality is there for all to see, however his off-field antics in the past have caused his previous clubs some real headaches. If he can keep his nose clean, he can easily be one of the Dragons’ top performers this season. A partnership with Scott Dureau will give Frayssinous’ side a huge amount of creativity, and should help the outside-backs rack up plenty of tries. Forward Elliott Whitehead’s form last season earned him a place in England’s Four Nations squad last autumn, the second-rower was the highest try scoring forward in Super League last year. Full-back Morgan Escare scored 27 tries and assisted 16 more last season as he made the number one spot his own in 2014. The club’s top metre maker last season – Zeb Taia – is part of a formidable looking forward line that welcomes back fan favourite Remi Casty.

DRAWBACKS

Last season saw Leon Pryce rediscover some of his finest form playing in the halves. The 33 year-old, who created 15 tries for his team mates and bagged 4 himself has moved on to Hull FC, and the Dragons could miss his consistency. His replacement, Todd Carney, could prove to be a fine acquisition if the mood takes him, but his history of disciplinary breaches leaves a question mark over him. Catalan stand to lose a £50,000 bond they put up in order to sign the former Australian international if he finds himself in hot water while at the club.

STORY OF 2015

Laurent Frayssinous has a fine squad at his disposal and the Perpignan based outfit have to be respected in 2015. The Dragons lost only 3 home games throughout the Super League season last year, and it is likely that the Stade Gilbert Brutus will be a fortress once again in 2015. Their Achilles heel in recent seasons has been their away form, but given their victories at Huddersfield and Leeds in the play-off series, they might have some more joy on their travels this season. A lot hinges on stand-off Todd Carney and keeping Scott Dureau fit to enable the likes of Elliott Whitehead, Michael Oldfield and Morgan Escare to replicate their combined 65 tries from last season. Catalan’s forwards look as strong as ever, and their brand of attacking rugby could well yield success this year.

PREDICTIONS

LADDER – DEFINITELY MAKE THE TOP 8

TOP TRY SCORER – MORGAN ESCARE

TOP POINT SCORER – MORGAN ESCARE

PLAYER OF THE YEAR – MORGAN ESCARE