The Catalan Dragons in 2010

It hasn't been a good season for the Catalan Dragons. Bottom of the SL table says it all.

They lost two of their best players from last season in Greg Bird and Adam Mogg and obviously suffered with injuries but the squad didn't seem to want to play for Kevin Walters. Maybe he was unhappy living in France ( the South of France near the beach! I wish?)  but he always looked so miserable and it is very difficult to enthuse others in these circumstances. I'm glad to see he's got a coaching appointment lined up in the Queensland competition and I wish him well.

The Catalans have been very well served by overseas players in their short existence. I can't speak highly enough of Dane Carlow, Casey Mcguire and others but more recent acquisitions have been very disappointing. Steve Bell did not live up to his reputation, Setamanta Sa has been a let down and other players seem to lack motivation. They really need some big physical fowards who can do a similar job to Jason Ryles and new coach Trent Robinson seems to be addressing this

Mick Potter did a great job in bringing through young French players and developing them for SL. Kevin failed in this respect and I'm struggling to think of one French player he introduced who is now an established SL player. Surely one the main reasons why the Catalans were admitted to SL was to develop French players

In Europe, over the last thirty years we have slavishly copied Australian tactics without success. Prior to this we had our own distinctive style of play with ball handling loose fowards, set plays, clever half backs, second row fowards running out wide and many more. Now we just get relentless five drives and a kick just like the Australians which is fine but other tactics exist. Lets try something different and I suggest our glorious past could give inspiration. Prior to 1978, European teams used to regularly beat Antipodeans by out thinking them rather than trying to out muscle them.

The French in particular have suffered from this "Australianisation" of European RL. They used to be renowned for their imaginative ball handling skills and even in the 1980s I can remember being very impressed by the skills of their backs even though they were playing behind a beaten pack. I don't see this in French players anymore because it has been coached out of them by a succession of Australians.

The French (and English) should attempt to redevelop a distinctive style of play using different tactics instead of copying the NRL. Comments made by Trent Robinson suggest he is aware of this. Lets hope so.


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