Catalans Dragons vs Featherstone Rovers: Team news, match preview & score prediction
For a club like Featherstone, with its ambition and squad, this is the ideal draw.
Rovers, unbeaten and top of the league with a star-studded squad, are on their way to the Super League and travel to the home of the 2021 League Leaders Shield winners and grand runners-up, with the Catalans hoping to test themselves against the very best.
As for the Dragons, their recent rise began with winning the Challenge Cup in 2018 and in 2022 they will be hoping to reclaim the trophy as they cement themselves as one of the major forces in the Super League.
The Dragons are without suspended Mitchell Pearce who, like Jordan Dezaria, has been hit with a ban. The likes of Julian Bousquet and Arthur Mourgue are still out through injury and are joined by Dean Whare who is sidelined for months after a chest injury. The likes of Samisoni Langi and Michael McIlorum have been left out of the 21 players. The focus will certainly be on young people with personalities like Matthieu Laguerre and Cesar Rouge.
Featherstone has all 17 who drew with Batley last week available for this game, but Joey Leilua is also expected to return after an injury that started to live at Post Office Road. Two-time Challenge Cup winner Adam Cuthbertson is set to feature, as is new signing Ryley Jacks.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Matthieu Laguerre vs. Craig Hall: Perhaps the best player in the league, certainly based on the last 15 months or so, could have expected to face Dean Whare or Samisoni Langi in this game. But without any available, he will come up against either the young Matthieu Laguerre or Arthur Romano who continues to impress after a long absence due to injury. Both should be in the center and whoever takes on Hall will need to be at their best to handle his threat.
Josh Drinkwater vs. Dane Chisholm: Dane Chisholm was almost the hero in last week’s draw with Batley with his late drop goal just wide. A dangerous player, he will face one of Super League’s most underrated halves, Josh Drinkwater, who continually dismantles teams with attacking kicks.
Cesar Rouge vs Ryley Jacks: With Mitchell Pearce suspended, youngster Cesar Rouge will be asked to enter the halves and is faced with the thrilling task of taking on former NRL star Ryley Jacks who in turn hopes to shine by showing up to rugby league on this side of the planet.
Where the game will be won and lost:
The Catalans’ pack is good enough to intimidate most Super League teams, so it’s clear that Fev’s big men are going to have to step up and limit the Dragons’ progress in midfield. With the quality Fev has on his side, he can cause the Catalans problems, especially with the ball. So limiting the Dragons and making the French side work for whatever they get will be key to any success Rovers want to achieve in the south of France.
Score prediction: Catalans Dragons 32-12 Featherstone Rovers