After losing the 2023 Super League Grand Final to Wigan Warriors, it was clear that Catalans Dragons were on the eve of a new era.
The last six years for the Dragons have been a tremendous period of growth and development. Mid-way through 2017, former England boss Steve McNamara was given the reigns and only just guided the French club away from relegation. Few could imagine the heights he would carry them to in the next six seasons.
It began with the Challenge Cup trophy in 2018 becoming the first non-British club to win the oldest and most prestigious trophy in the sport. This came after they stunned massive favourites for the treble St Helens in the semi-final before defeating Warrington Wolves in the final.
In 2019, the transition period continued before in 2020 with the arrival of James Maloney the Dragons returned to the top four for only the third time after a third place finish in 2008 and a fourth place finish in 2012.
The biggest and best year would come in 2021 as the French club finished top of the league for the first time and reached a first ever Grand Final coming up short against St Helens in the Old Trafford decider. The following year would be a small transition as the club moved from Maloney and Josh Drinkwater to Mitchell Pearce and Tyrone May in 2023 and that year would see them end the season joint top but unable to defeat Wigan in the Grand Final.
It has arguably been a period which deserved more silverware but now it very much feels like Steve McNamara is on the verge of building his second team with Mitchell Pearce and Sam Tomkins retiring and their entire spine dismantled with Tyrone May headed for Hull KR.
There have been other key departures too such as Adam Keighran, Mickael Goudemand and Siousiua Taukeiaho. Incomings have been announced like the signing of Chris Satae from Hull FC as well as Theo Fages from Huddersfield Giants but they still have holes in their squad.
They are arguably the club with the most business still to do and Serious About Rugby League understands that they are set to do just that targeting a number of new recruits ahead of the 2024 season.
One will likely be a halfback such as Anthony Milford. The Dragons may also be looking to strengthen their pack given the number of exits suffered with Matt Whitley and Tiaki Chan also leaving the French club.
Centre could also be an area of focus given the departure of Keighran to Wigan. The French club do have a quota spot to play with. It will be intriguing to see how they use it.