Catalans host Huddersfield in both sides’ final fixture of 2018. Here’s everything you need to know…
The Dragons are looking to end their record-breaking season with a home victory over Huddersfield, but they will be without Lance Todd trophy winner Tony Gigot and second rower Kenny Edwards, with Steve McNamara naming Louis Anderson and Remi Casty as replacements.
Catalans registered their first success since the Challenge Cup final with a 26-20 away victory over Hull FC. A victory would see the Dragons finish the season in 7th position, but a year on since their Million Pound game victory over Leigh they have the first piece of silverware in the club’s history and Super League survival.
Catalans 19-man squad: Mead, Thornley, Wiliame, Langi, Casty, Moa, Anderson, Bird, Simon, Baitieri, Margalet, McIlorum, Jullien, Albert, Maria, Da Costa, Belmas, Goudemand, Drinkwater.
Similarly to Catalans, Huddersfield struggled early on in the season, but they took a drastic upturn in form after the appointment of coach Simon Woolford with them even entering the Super 8s with an outside chance of a play-off position. However, they have now lost their previous four matches including last weekend’s 13-6 home defeat to second-placed Wigan.
Coach Simon Woolford makes three changes from last weekend’s defeat. Jermaine McGillvary and Leroy Cudjoe both return from injury and rejoin the squad alongside Louis Senior, with Ukuma Ta’ai, Sam Hewitt and Jon Luke Kirby missing out. Ryan Hinchcliffe will be making his final appearance before retirement.
A victory could potentially seal 5th position for Huddersfield and if they are able to replicate their second half of the season, they could go a long way in Super League next year.
Huddersfield Giants 19-man squad: Mamo, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Gaskell, Brough, Leeming, Lawrence, Hinchcliffe, Rankin, Roberts, Clough, O’Brien, Mellor, Roche, English, L Senior, I Senior, Russell, Matagi.
The sides will be meeting for the fourth time this season, with Catalans currently have two victories this year over Huddersfield and the Giants one.
There has only been one meeting in France so far, when the Dragons ran out 27-6 victors including two tries from their full-back David Mead. This meeting was before influential half-back Josh Drinkwater had arrived and before both side’s fortunes really improved.
KEY BATTLE – Michael Mcllorum vs Kruise Leeming
Both hookers could have a huge impact on the final outcome of the contest. Mcllorum has had a strong season including a good performance in the Challenge Cup final. With his movement from the play the ball he is able to spot weaknesses in defences and exploit them either through himself or for his team mates. With solid defence he is an all-rounded player who improves this Dragons side.
However, his opposite number Kruise Leeming could be crucial to an away win. The 23-year-old generally starts on the bench and brings an enthusiasm to the side with him constantly darting for gaps. A player who can often be underrated by many, Leeming is a talented individual who with time could be a key asset for the Giants.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 29th September
Venue: State Gilbert Brutus
Kick-off: 5:30pm (UK time)
Referee: Greg Dolan