Catalans Dragons snap up newly-released Super League youngster

Ben Olawumi
Steve McNamara

Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara at the 2023 Super League launch

Catalans Dragons have announced the signing of young French prop Damel Diakhate on a deal until the end of the 2024 season following his release from fellow Super League side Hull FC.

Diakhate only joined FC in the off-season just gone following a successful trial, and had featured for the Black & Whites’ reserves in their first two games of the campaign.

But having struggled to settle into life in England, Hull announced his departure on their club website, stating that Diakhate would “take up a playing opportunity closer to home and his family in France.”

And 24 hours on, that opportunity has been confirmed as being with the Dragons, who sign the 22-year-old forward for the remainder of the current season.

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Catalans Dragons snap up newly-released Super League youngster Damel Diakhate

Speaking to Catalans’ club website, Diakhate – who will turn 23 tomorrow (March 28) said: “I am very happy to join Catalans Dragons.

“As a French player, it has always been a goal of mine to join this club. Now, I have to work hard and earn my spot at the top level.

“I would like to thank the president, the coach and his staff and my agent for this opportunity, I will do everything I can to make the most out of it.”

Diakhate’s senior experience to date has all come in the French Elite Championship, featuring in that competition for both the Villeneuve Leopards and Albi prior to linking up with Hull.

In February 2023, he lined up against Catalans in the traditional pre-season friendly against a squad made up of the best players from across the French Elite.

Having swooped to sign the youngster, Dragons boss Steve McNamara added: “We are very happy to give Damel an opportunity on a deal until the end of the season.

“It’s difficult to get to the level of Super League standard, but I feel he will be given the best opportunity here. Being in and around French players and coaches that can communicate clearly and help him will assist greatly.

“I know he has a desire to work hard and we look forward to working with him.”

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