Catalans Dragons Team of the Decade

It has been an interesting decade for Catalans with plenty of ups, including their first piece of major silverware, but also many downs.

The year of 2018 will live long in the memory at the Perpignan club as Steve McNamara guided them to Challenge Cup glory against all the odds.

But their triumph at Wembley is a stand-alone success in a 10-year period that has seen the club struggle for consistency, perhaps best highlighted by their relegation-threatened 2017 campaign.

Despite this, the Dragons have produced some exceptional players and after picking my Castleford Tigers Team of the Decade on Friday, I have now done the same for Catalans.

Here are my choices…

 

Full-back – Tony Gigot

The 2018 Lance Todd Trophy winner Tony Gigot is unsurprisingly at full-back. Much like the Dragons, Gigot has had a mixed time of it over the last decade, mainly because of off-field issues, but his performances on the pitch have been superb. The 28-year-old spent five seasons with the Dragons prior to his recent release and produced some superb attacking rugby in this time, with his kicking game, speed around the ruck and ability to control a game from the back earning himself a fearsome reputation.

Tony Gigot won the Lance Todd Trophy in the 2018 Challenge Cup Final. Credit: Richard Long – News Images

 

Wingers – Fouad Yaha & Jodie Broughton

Powerhouse winger Fouad Yaha enjoyed a strong stint with Catalans and he returned for a second spell with the club earlier this year. His strong running and finishing ability has seen him remain one of the club’s main attacking options, with his explosive style always good to watch.

As for Jodie Broughton, he has been a consistent performer for the French side. His support play, ability to make plenty of metres and scoring prowess made him a favourite in Perpignan. Broughton also adapted to the local culture and his approach to joining a team in a different country should be applauded.

 

Centres – Brayden Wiliame & Daryl Millard

Brayden Wiliame arrived at the club in 2017 and played an important part in their revival and Challenge Cup triumph. The 26-year-old often proves to be an awkward opponent and has superb ball-handling skills and quick feet.

In the other centre slot we have Daryl Millard who made up to 100 appearances during his three years with the French club, scoring over 40 tries. He will be best remembered for arguably the most famous try in Super League history when the Dragons scored well after the hooter against St Helens in 2012, keeping the ball alive for almost 30 seconds before he touched down to win the game.

 

Stand-off – Thomas Bosc

No doubt at all, at stand-off is one-club man Thomas Bosc. He spent 12 seasons in Super League with the Dragons and was part of the squad that first entered the British game in 2006. During this period, he made a total of 220 appearances, scoring 48 tries and slotting over 483 goals. Bosc was a great professional and leader and can’t be left out of this side.

 

Scrum-half – Scott Dureau

Scott Dureau is named at scrum-half after making a real impact during his time at the club. The highly skilful Australian playmaker spent five seasons in Perpignan, amassing a total of 89 appearances, scoring 29 tries and slotting over 315 goals. Though his time was cut short due to illness, Dureau certainly left a legacy and his match-winning touchline conversion following Millard’s try against Saints in 2012 will never be forgotten.

 

Props – Remi Casty & Julian Bousquet

No surprise that Remi Casty is named as one of the props given his almost unrivalled consistency for the club. With 300 appearances for Catalans over two spells, due to a brief stint in the NRL, Casty has been a ‘go to’ figure in the middle and is a natural leader.

Remi Casty has been named in the Super League Dream Team twice. Credit: Richard Long/News Images

Julian Bousquet is alongside him in the front row having made over 150 appearances for the club since debuting in 2012. He is one of the best ball runners in the whole of Super League and was part of the dominant pack that helped the Dragons lift the Challenge Cup.

 

Hooker – Eloi Pelissier

This choice may surprise a few, given Michael McIlorum’s huge impact since his arrival. However, Eloi Pelissier enjoyed a superb spell with Catalans from 2011-2016, making 142 appearances and scoring 23 tries. The passionate number nine possesses mesmerising skills from acting half and also puts himself about in defence. His competitiveness and drive makes him a player you would always want on your team.

 

Second-row – Steve Menzies & Elliott Whitehead

Some of us thought Steve Menzies was going to continue playing until his last breath considering his top form up until retirement at the age of 39. Despite joining Catalans in his latter years, Menzies was excellent for the French club as they challenged for the playoffs in each of his three years as player and captain.

Steve Menzies scored 31 tries in 71 games for Catalans.

Elliott Whitehead took his career to the next level in the South of France which led to him attracting interest from down under. Having made the brave leap to join the Perpignan outfit, Whitehead certainly didn’t disappoint and averaged almost a try every other game from the back row.

 

Loose-forward – Greg Bird

One of the toughest players of the last decade in England and Australia, Greg Bird takes up the number 13 shirt. The former Australia and New South Wales star initially joined Catalans for a season in 2009 and was nothing short of exceptional. After returning at the start of 2017, he has since made 58 appearances and called time on his career just a few months ago. Bird’s performances, along with his leadership skills, warrant him a place in this team.

 

Coach – Steve McNamara

Now you may think this is an obvious choice, however Steve McNamara takes the coaching role by a whisker from Trent Robinson. McNamara has proved his doubters wrong since taking over as Catalans coach in 2017, helping an underachieving team preserve their Super League status before leading them to Challenge Cup glory less than a year later. He may have a much lower win percentage than Robinson, but the former England coach was able to make history and has the potential to create more in the coming years.

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