Catalans Dragons 2024 season preview
Catalans continued to make major strides in 2023, as they finished 2nd on points difference and reached the Grand Final for a second time in three seasons. It wasn’t to be for them at Old Trafford though as they spent 20 minutes with a man down, which took its toll in the second half. On an individual basis, Tom Johnstone was a standout in his first season in the South of France, as he finished joint-top of the Super League try-scoring charts, while Sam Tomkins and Mitchell Pearce also had strong campaigns in their final season before retirement.
2023 position: 2nd
Chris Satae (Hull FC), Theo Fages (Huddersfield Giants), Tariq Sims (Melbourne Storm), Jayden Nikorima (Melbourne Storm), Bayley Sironen (New Zealand Warriors), Jordan Abdull (Hull KR)
Tiaki Chan (Wigan Warriors), Mickael Goudemand (Leeds Rhinos), Adam Keighran (Wigan Warriors), Tyrone May (Hull KR), Matt Whitley (St Helens), Sam Tomkins (Retired), Mitchell Pearce (Retired)
Players to watch
Jayden Nikorima has big boots to fill as he takes the number 6 shirt in 2024 from Tyrone May. Nikorima’s had a checkered career, having been sacked by the Sydney Roosters in 2017, but his talent has never been in doubt. The 27-year-old’s NRL career only amounts to nine games, so I’m expecting him to either be a massive flop or the latest import to turn himself around and put himself in the shop window, à la Jackson Hastings.
There’ll be competition in the halves now that Jordan Abdull’s joined the Dragons, but given that Theo Fages has been handed the number seven shirt, he could be getting first crack at it. The Frenchman has played his entire Super League career in England to date, so it’ll be interesting to see how he gets on in his first stint back in his homeland, but with more than 200 appearances under his belt and a glut of trophies under his belt from his time at St Helens, he looks like a shrewd addition.
Ugo Tison’s only made a handful of appearances so far in Super League, but with Micky Mcllorum not getting any younger, Tison could find more minutes at Hooker this year. The 22-year-old has been shifted from number 28 to 18 as well, so there’s every chance he could find himself playing a bigger part in 2024.
Our prediction – 3rd
The Dragons have always been hard to predict, given their high turnover of players every year and their ability to win by 60 one week and lose by 60 the next, but under Steve McNamara they’ve added consistency to their ability. Much will depend on how the new boys settle in, but the likes of Tariq Sims and Bayley Sironen look like very solid additions, and I can see the team having another good push in 2024.