Catalans back rower Greg Bird believes that the Dragons are now running a much more professional operation than they did when he was last at the club in 2009.
Bird feels that the facilities have improved masssively, and that has helped inculcate a much better overall mentality in Perpignan.
“The whole set-up is a lot more professional,” he said.
“They’ve built this whole centre that we train in now.
“We used have sheds over the other side, it was a little tin shed when I was here the last time.
“Our training facilities, our coach, our staff, our medical team, it’s all a lot more professional than it was.
“I guess that’s the way the games gone in the last 10 years or so.”
Bird thinks that the Dragons are closer to winning a major honour, having not reached a final since 2007.
“That will come eventually, and hopefully sooner rather than later,” he said.
“We’ve got a good squad this year at the moment.
“We’ll hopefully get a top four spot, but there’s a lot of work ahead of us, and a lot of players have got to play to their potential and keep the whole ball rolling for that to work.”
Whilst Bird likes the relaxed lifestyle in French Catalonia, he is also aware of the need for hardnosed professionalism at the club.
“Australians pride themselves on having a laidback attitude,” he said.
“I think if you come to the South of France, it’s another step again!
“It’s quite relaxing, no one takes too much too seriuosly. It’s a comfortable, relaxing liferstyle.
“You’ve got to be able to snap out of the relaxed, ‘put your feet up and smoke a cigarette, have a coffee’ state of mind, and go out on the field and work hard.”