After defeating the Champions last week, Castleford Tigers travel to France to take on last year’s League Leaders the Catalans Dragons.
The Dragons missed out on the chance to join St Helens and Wigan at the top when they lost on Sunday and a game against the in form Tigers will be a tough test of their credentials in 2022.
It’ll be tough for the French side here against a Castleford team who have well and truly turned a corner and can cement that here with another win.
The Dragons’ injury problems continue to mount with Josh Drinkwater joining Sam Tomkins and Mike McMeeken in the treatment room. They’re still without Joe Chan through suspension but have Jordan Dezaria back.
The Tigers have made three changes to their 21-man squad with Tyla Hepi, Greg Eden and Cheyse Blair dropping out. Sam Hall is recalled whilst there are two major boosts for the Tigers this week with Ryan Hampshire in line for a first appearance since joining the club earlier this season whilst Danny Richardson could make his return after a neck injury forced him out of the side earlier this season. Their return is timely due to the loss of Niall Evalds who is set to sit out for a number of weeks.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Mitchell Pearce vs Jake Trueman: Two very different number sixes do battle in this one as the organiser Mitchell Pearce tussles with the electric and dangerous Jake Trueman. The one who can imprint their style of play on this game could lead their side to victory.
Michael McIlorum vs Paul McShane: Both sides have in form old school hookers leading the way in 2022 and they will battle in the middle of the field for supremacy. Both solid tacklers and great organisers, they will be locked in a war of attrition for control of midfield.
Dylan Napa vs Liam Watts: Both Dylan Napa and Liam Watts are very experienced and powerful props. Seeing them lock horns for the first time will certainly be a sight to behold and the one who can get the advantage over the other may give their team a needed boost in this battle.
Where the game will be won and lost:
Both teams have strong packs which may cancel each other out. So, the focus may fall on attack. The Tigers have an exciting style of play which can blow teams apart but when this attack fails to fire they can struggle to stay in control of a contest. So, Cas will need to be clinical or they may face difficulties.
Score Prediction: Catalans Dragons 22-20 Castleford Tigers