OPPOSITION CORNER: Improving Dragons return to happy hunting ground with some fresh faces (From Warrington Guardian)
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OPPOSITION CORNER: Improving Catalan Dragons return to happy Warrington Wolves hunting ground with some fresh faces
Brent Webb, formerly of Leeds Rhinos, clings on to new teammate Louis Anderson as he scores a try for Wolves in the 2010 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley
CATALAN Dragons like playing at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Two wins on their last four Super League visits can only be bettered by St Helens.
And the French outfit, who recorded their first ever away win at Warrington in 2006, gave Wolves one of their most intense home battles last year.
That clash, on July 9, was like an old-fashioned bash-up and coming out on top 15-6, a week after a sloppy 48-24 loss at Salford, restored some faith for Wolves fans going into the Challenge Cup semi-final clash with Huddersfield.
It was good for Warrington, proving to be the spark for a great run to the Wembley success.
But with this year’s Dragons being highly fancied to pose a sterner threat in the silverware stakes, Tony Smith’s men need to be on red alert tomorrow.
Changes with the Dragons in close-season seem to be mostly working well at this stage.
Ex-Leeds full back Brent Webb is their version of Brett Hodgson, safe as houses at the back and an extra half back in attack which gives the Dragons backline an extra dimension, especially while Scott Dureau is injured.
Zeb Taia, brought in from Newcastle Knights, provides some explosive finishing talent either at centre or in the back row.
The 21-year-old French front rower Julien Bousquet has been given a chance to prove himself this season and he will be missed.
He is a lump to stop, with only Bradford’s Manese Manokafoa being heavier in Super League, but he was sent off in the second minute against Salford on Saturday and has been suspended for four matches.
Just as significantly, Dragons are now operating under their first French coach – their former player Laurent Frayssinous.
He has the expertise of former Great Britain coach David Waite as a guiding hand alongside him, Catalan taking the view that a combination of ‘home’ and ‘away’ talent could be just the blend they need to win their first trophy.