Jack Harbidge previews the Round Four clash between Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves at the Stade Gilbert Brutus….. This is what we have to look forward to.
Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan
Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Last Five Meetings
25/09/20 Warrington Wolves 30 – 16 Catalans Dragons (Super League)
03/08/19 Catalans Dragons 30 – 10 Warrington Wolves (Super League)
08/06/19 Warrington Wolves 34 – 4 Catalans Dragons (Super League)
02/03/19 Catalans Dragons 23 – 22 Warrington Wolves (Super League)
25/08/18 Catalans Dragons 20 – 14 Warrington Wolves (Challenge Cup)
The Super League match commissioners clearly chose to leave the best until last this weekend, with the high flying Catalans Dragons hosting a somewhat underwhelming, yet hyped, Warrington Wolves side. Catalans Dragons see the new age French front rower Jordan Dezaria in the 21-man squad alongside home-grown Lambert Belmas, while Micky McIlorum makes his second appearance since returning from suspension. On the other hand, Joel Tomkins still waits on the sidelines through suspension and will be ready to play next week.
Warrington are unchanged for their trip to Catalans after sharing the spoils with Hull FC last week. A draw against Hull FC proved quite the result for Warrington, who had chalked up somewhat of a disappointing win against Swinton in the Challenge Cup the week prior. The Wolves now face another top four team, one spot above their opponents last week and will look to improve their record without rugby league superstar Greg Inglis in their line up for another week.
Its extremely hard to see where Warrington will make their point of difference given Steve Price has made no changes to a team performing indifferently so far this season, especially when leaving out a rugby league great such as Greg Inglis for a fourth week in a row. On the other hand, Catalans have proved the pleasant surprise of the season with the more youthful home grown players picking up where club legend Remi Casty left off, and doing so in style.
The Dragons attacking ability has been exceptional so far this season and they may well have been top of the league had they not coasted home in game one against Hull KR when the game was clearly won. On that occasion they were nearly victims of their own success, being so good they allowed Hull KR seemingly meaningless points that eventually took the game to Golden Point, at which point they beat the Robins with ease again.
With Catalans being so dominant following that – only conceding 22 points and scoring 88 in return in their three matches since – this really poses as a game for Warrington to test their top four credentials from the outside looking in. Unable to beat Hull FC last time out and losing to Castleford in Round One, Warrington have only beaten newly promoted Leigh and Championship side Swinton; they are yet to triumph against top class opposition.
The situations of the two sides should produce a great, and headline, game of the the weekend with Warrington aiming to get their season back on track against a classy Catalans side who will only get better with more time on the pitch together. The last time these two sides met in Perpignan, three players were sent off and fines were issues after player and crowd clashes; all three players that saw red are in contention to play this week with McIlorum, Tomkins and Mamo all in the 21 man squads.
On that day, Catalans triumphed 30-10 to upset Warrington and all but hand the league leaders shield to St Helens. While there is far less at stake Catalans are in pole position and should capitalise against Warrington, who are struggling to hit the heights of last year.
Catalans Dragons by 6.