Bayley Sironen reveals Catalans Dragons ‘main goal’ as star opens up on ‘beautiful’ move

John Davidson
Bayley Sironen Catalans Dragons Alamy

Bayley Sironen has dismissed any claims the Catalans Dragons are rebuilding this season with their 2024 target to become the first non-English team to be crowned champions of Super League.

Catalans went agonisingly close in the Grand Final last year, going down in an incredibly tight contest at the hands of Wigan Warriors at Old Trafford.

The French club has lost a lot of key players since that decider, including veteran spine players Sam Tomkins, Mitchell Pearce and Tyrone May.

But new signing Sironen insists the Dragons remain just as ambitious and are out again to be serious contenders this season, as they prepare to try and record their second win of the new campaign on Friday night away against London.

Catalans started the year on a bright note in round one with an impressive 16-10 home victory against Warrington Wolves on Saturday.

“Our goal is certainly still to win the comp,” the forward told Love Rugby League.

“Obviously every player you speak to is going to say the same thing, but coming off a tough Grand Final last year I know the boys that were there are itching to get back to Old Trafford and go one better.

“We’ve lost some key players in key positions but the foundations they’ve set in previous years remain at the club. Blokes like Sam Tomkins are still around in more of a guidance role now than on the field, but we still can lean on players like that.

“I know that the squad we’ve assembled here is one that will give the competition a real crack. Certainly the goal here is to be the first team to win the trophy here at Catalans.”

‘To win the competition would be massive – not just for the team, but for the game in France’

2023 Super League Grand Final Old Trafford Catalans Dragons v Wigan Warriors Alamy
Catalans lost to Wigan 10-2 in the 2023 Super League Grand Final

The Dragons have now reached two Grand Finals in their history, and won a Challenge Cup at Wembley, but have yet to claim an inaugural premiership title. Sironen, who arrived in the off-season from the New Zealand Warriors, knows how much a maiden Grand Final victory would mean not only to the club’s fans in Perpignan, but to all of France.

“I was at the Warriors for the last three years and unfortunately we couldn’t be the first team to do it there,” he said.

“That was the goal and now that I’ve come here it’s a similar goal, to be the first team from the country to win the competition would be massive. Not just for the team, but for the game too in France.

“You’d see a lot more kids picking and choosing between union and league and they might lean a bit more to rugby league, which would be awesome. And I know players like Ben Garcia and Julian (Bousquet) who have been at the club for a while it would mean the world to them to be able to win a competition and that’s the goal.”

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Bayley Sironen loving life in the south of France after joining Catalans Dragons

The 27-year-old made 32 tackles and 66 metres from nine carries in his Super League debut against the Wolves.

The son of Balmain, NSW and Australian great Paul, and brother of St Helens back-rower Curtis, Bayley started his rugby league career with Wests Tigers in 2017.

After spells with South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Warriors, Sironen has landed in France on a two-year deal.

The second-rower has thrown himself into his new environment and is embracing life in the south of France.

“It’s been awesome, it’s an awesome experience,” he said.

“It’s a beautiful country, a beautiful spot that we’re in. I’m really enjoying all the staff and the players here. It’s been a very easy transition so far.

“It’s not great (my French language skills). We’ve got a French tutor who comes in once or twice a week. A lot of us boys learn some bits and pieces as well.

“I’m slowly getting there. It’s a bit of a slog but it’s enjoyable as well, it’s all part of the experience.”

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