Catalans current 6th place in the table perhaps highlights that
they are continuing to progress as a worthy club in Super League.|
In their first year they finished bottom - had a one or two good results,
most notably over Wigan in their first ever match, but generally they
struggled both home and away.
In 2007 they continued to struggle on the road but were very
strong in Perpignan. They of course did manage to reach the cup final
at Wembley with another notably victory over Wigan in a dreadful
semi final performance from our point of view.
This year the aim would have been to consistently compete on
the road in England. They've achieved that already with them
having a club record 3 away wins in a season under their belt with
more than half the season to go.
But whilst victories at Castleford, Harlequins and Huddersfield
are commendable - the question now is whether they can ruffle some
feathers at Super League fortress venues like Wigan, St Helens and
Bradford? They've already been to Leeds and Warrington, which
resulted in them getting pumped both times.
Catalans are currently Super League's in form side and that,
along with them doing us in the semi finals last year, is leaving
a few Wigan fans wary of them ahead of this Friday's clash.
One big feature of their matches this year is the closeness of
their results. They beat St Helens by 14 points at home last month but other
victories have been much tighter. They beat Wakefield by 8,
Castleford by 7, Huddersfield by 4 and Harlequins by just 2
points. They also had a draw with Hull. Even two of their defeats
were close run things with late tries denying them by 2 points
against Bradford and by 4 against Hull KR.
For me what this highlights is that, this is a side that you've
got to get on top of early. Wigan were notorious slow starters in
2007 but they've improve that a lot this year (we have a
consistent Won 6 Draw 2 Lost 2 for each half of rugby so far this
Get at them early and we should be able to take control. I
think the Dragons are shade short fitness wise and chasing matches
is not what they like to do. Even with a late lead they often have
struggled to hang on. Bradford and Hull KR, like I said, nicked
late wins off them and Hull FC were a video referee away from
doing the same. I listened the match they played against St Helens and even though
it was their biggest result of the season - they still sounded
like they were desperately tiring late on. Playing away for the
second week in a row should also play into Wigan's hands.
Discipline will have to be spot on like last week because
Thomas Bosc rarely misses goal kicks. He is the leagues leader
with a 90% success rate. Having kicked every goal for Catalans
this year he has missed only 4 of 41 attempts.
Wigan meanwhile should see this as a massive opportunity to
kick on after last weeks great win at Leeds. We've started so
sluggish, despite our good league position, but hopefully that win
will spark our season. If we keep up that kind of defensive effort
this year - we'll give ourselves a chance of silverware - but
we'll have to improve a hell of a lot in attack.
After beating Leeds, Wigan are the only club remaining with a
100% home record. Maintaining that for as long as possible will go
along way to, who knows, maybe sealing 2nd place in the table this
year. Perhaps a bit early to get too carried away with aiming that
high but perhaps a top 2 finish should be our aim now? Victory
here and against Bradford in two weeks time will go along way to
making that a solid aim - as leaders Leeds play 4th placed
Warrington this weekend and Wire play Saints in a fortnight.
Personally I'd be very disappointed if we waste last weeks
performance with defeat here. I expect a good performance but
Friday's weather is for "heavy showers" so we may have to take any
kind of win. Long as its two points we can go into the cup break
being pretty please with our efforts so far.