Last Saturday was my first trip to Catalan and it felt like the whole of Wigan descended on Perpignan! If there was ever a place, a club and an area that showcases the need for good expansion in Rugby League – Catalan Dragons is it.
Like many, we spent a few hours before the game at Le Castillet, taking in the French sunshine and a couple of French beers. Try telling the local bar owners in that area that Super League expansion doesn’t work or isn’t a good idea. You got the feeling that all their Christmases had come at once, along with 1500 thirsty Wiganers! Wigan fans did their team and themselves proud on Saturday and you got the feeling, the locals enjoyed it as well!
What followed on Saturday was a very good win, perhaps the exact kind of win that Wigan needed. I thought Catalans produced one of their best performances for 60 minutes and the pleasing thing from a Wigan point of view, was that Wigan keep their score down and looked to grind out a victory. The last 20 minutes flattered Wigan in terms of the scoreline with Catalans falling off the tackles a little later on and Wigan’s fitness proving too much; but a vast improved defensive display that will do wonders for Wigan ahead of their run of three crucial games. The axis of Tomkins, Leuluai, Williams, McIlorum and O’Loughlin is starting to look as good as it does on paper, a few more weeks and I think we could see something special.
My biggest concern from the weekend is the humid conditions from Saturday followed by the short turnaround to the Warrington game, how much did Saturday take its toll on Wigan’s players – we will find out on Thursday but another improved performance and another win, bring on Warrington.