Whilst much is being made of Sam Tomkins’ desire to enjoy a fairytale finish at Old Trafford on Saturday, it is Michael McIlorum who Sky Sports presenter Brian Carney believes is the man who makes Catalans tick.
Super League superstar Sam Tomkins will bring down the curtain on an illustrious career this weekend following the Dragons’ Super League Grand Final against his former club Wigan Warriors.
And whilst Carney doesn’t want to dilute Tomkins’ fairytale ending story, he believes England and Ireland international McIlorum holds the key to Catalans’ trophy hopes.
“The heartbeat is Micky Mac, he sets the tone for that side,” Carney told Love Rugby League.
“Sam Tomkins, Mitchell Pearce and Tom Johnstone are not anywhere as effective if Micky McIlorum hasn’t inspired the pack to get up to his levels of energy, enthusiasm and desire to win.
“I’m not trying to dilute the Sam Tomkins story – it’s huge, as is the Mitchell Pearce angle, plus Tom Johnstone’s try scoring ability. But for me none of that happens without Micky McIlorum. What you will see is a terrier dragging every last ounce out of his body.
“Against St Helens last week, all the talk was of James Roby and Sam Tomkins both potentially making their last-ever career appearances, but unseen in all of that was McIlorum’s contribution.”
‘The heartbeat is Micky Mac, who sets the tone for that side’
Carney added: “I reckon if Steve McNamara got bad injury news before this game, there would be nothing worse than to lose Micky Mac. I truly believe that.
“If you’re standing the defensive line with him, you’ll see him fly out and he might miss the tackle but either side of him know that, so they don’t get too wide.
“They just try and get up as quick as he does and with as much intensity as him – and Micky will do that for the entire game.
“If Micky does that and can get a fraction of that out of his team-mates, well then Catalans are going to be in a pretty good position.”
Watch the Betfred Super League Grand Final exclusively live on Sky Sports Main Event and NOW from 5pm Saturday October 14th, and Betfred Super League Wheelchair Final on Sky Sports Arena and NOW from 5pm Sunday October 15th.