The 3 reasons why Catalans Dragons can finally win Super League in 2024

Drew Darbyshire
Jordan Abdull Catalans Dragons Alamy

Jordan Abdull (right) and Steve McNamara (left) of Catalans Dragons

Catalans Dragons have been knocking on the door for several years now, chasing their maiden Super League title – and they seem to be doing so again.

Steve McNamara’s side have enjoyed a good start to 2024, sitting third in the Super League table having won four from their opening five fixtures – their most recent win coming in a 40-14 success against the struggling Castleford Tigers in Perpignan.

Steve McNamara: The longest-serving coach in Super League

Catalans seem to be getting closer and closer to clinching their first Super League title as each year goes on. McNamara should be hailed for the job he’s done and continues to do in the south of France so far – it’s no mean feat.

The Hull native is currently the longest-serving head coach in Super League by some distance, having taken the head coaching reins at Les Dracs back in 2017.

McNamara has previously spoken in-depth to Love Rugby League about the changes he had to implement when he took over, having gone from the Million Pound Game in 2017 to lifting their first piece of major silverware in the Challenge Cup at Wembley the following year.

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The former England boss has also brought through an exciting young crop of French talent, something that was missing in the club’s DNA at the start of their Super League journey back in 2006.

With McNamara at the helm, the Dragons have gone from strength to strength. Following their Challenge Cup triumph in 2018, they have since gone on to reach two Grand Finals – 2021 and 2023 – losing to ‘heartlands’ heavyweights St Helens and Wigan Warriors respectively.

They are continuing to knock on the door. They are desperate to win their first-ever Super League trophy, and you suspect it is going to come sooner rather than later with the rate they are progressing.

Yes, it’s only Round 5, and we are certainly not saying they are going to win it this year – but what we are saying is that they’ll be there or thereabouts at the end of the year again, continuing to push the likes of Saints and Wigan. It would be ridiculous to say anyone is going to win it at this stage (predictions are a different beast altogether!), but the Dragons are a good storyline to follow as the season really kicks in.

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Impressive recruitment drive, including loanee Jordan Abdull

McNamara and his backroom staff, backed by owner Bernard Guasch, have undergone an impressive recruitment drive over the off-season, bringing the likes of Jayden Nikorima, Tariq Sims and Bayley Sironen over from the NRL as well as tying down key man Micky McIlorum to a new deal for 2024.

Eyebrows were raised when Hull KR allowed half-back Jordan Abdull – one of Super League’s best kickers – to leave on loan in pre-season, but that looks to be a great piece of business from Catalans. A masterstroke of a signing from McNamara, if you like.

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Homegrown talent coming to the fore

Arthur Mourgue Catalans Dragons Alamy
Arthur Mourgue takes a conversion for Catalans

But it’s not just Les Dracs’ overseas recruits that are proving their worth.

Catalans’ homegrown talent is coming to the fore. McNamara has already fielded 10 academy products in the opening five rounds, the future certainly looks bright for the Dragons, and even for France on a wider scale.

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Livewire full-back Arthur Mourgue really looks to have come into his own in 2024, repaying McNamara’s faith for trusting him to fill the void left by retired Super League legend Sam Tomkins.

Ben Garcia, another product of the Catalans youth system, is currently the captain and has been one of the leading forwards in the competition for several years now.

And keep an eye out for Cesar Rouge this year. The 21-year-old prodigy is an incredibly talented half-back who has already represented France on the international stage. Learning from the likes of Theo Fages, Nikorima and Abdull will be invaluable for him as he looks to cement a place in McNamara’s first team.

The future is bright for Catalans. We’ll see in a couple of months time if we’re left with egg on our faces – but it’s probably fair to say they are taking the right steps on their route of chasing their maiden Super League title.

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