Players In Common - Catalans Dragons

Players In Common - Catalans Dragons widnesvikings.co.uk
pic

21st September 2017

Widnes Vikings take on Catalans Dragons in a huge game in the Super 8s, the Qualifiers at the Stade Gilbert Brutus on Saturday.

A win for either side on Saturday will secure a place in the Betfred Super League for 2018, with both clubs wanting to avoid the Million Pound Game against Leigh Centurions next week.

There have been only a select few that have played for both Widnes and Catalans during their careers, and we take a deeper look at them...

 

Richie Myler

Widnes-born Myler rose through the ranks in the Widnes Development Squad, but would only make two appearances for his boyhood Club. With the Vikings going into administration, Myler made the short move across to formerly named Salford City Reds for the 2008 season. In his first season at Salford, Richie scored 25 tries in 32 appearances and helped Shaun McRae’s side to the National League One title, whilst personally winning the Co-Operative Player of the Year award. 

Richie continued with the Club for a further season, Myler's first in Super League, before signing with Warrington Wolves for the 2010 season for a substantial transfer fee. During his time at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Myler would become one of the form halfbacks in the competition, renowned for his support play and running game and his ability to get across the try line, evident in his record of 77 tries in 139 appearances. After 6 seasons with the Club, with Challenge Cup and League Leaders honours, Myler left Warrington to sign with the Catalans Dragons in 2016. After two years at the French outfit, Richie will return to England to join Leeds Rhinos for 2018 on a three-year deal. With over 200 appearances at 27 years of age, Myler still has years of good rugby left in him which he will hope to produce at Headingley in the coming years.

 

Setaimata Sa

With representative honours with Samoa and New Zealand, Setaimata is the list’s arguably most reputable player, with NRL and Super League experience to boot. In 2006, Sa joined the Sydney Roosters and made 66 appearances over four seasons at the Club, crossing for 13 tries, gaining a reputation as a strong utility forward with an eye for the try line. During his time at the Roosters, Sa was called up to represent New Zealand for the 2008 World Cup, and was part of the squad that won the whole competition. 

In 2010, Sa moved to the northern hemisphere to play for the Catalans Dragons under Kevin Walters and Trent Robinson, with Jason Ryles going in the other direction as an exchange for his services. Setaimata became a regular in the Dragons team on their edge, and with a try record of 1 in every 3 games, he was a constant threat for opposition defences. After he left the Dragons for London Irish in 2013, Sa quickly returned in 2014 to rugby league with Hull FC under Lee Radford. Injury hampered his first year on Humberside, before a more solid 2015 season showed his worth to Denis Betts and the Vikings to tie him down for 2016. A brace on his debut at Wakefield Trinity gave the Vikings fans a glimpse of what he can produce, but like his time at Hull, injury cut short Setaimata’s season. He departed the Club at the end of the season, and now plays for Mackay Cutters in the Intrust Super Cup. 

 

Adel Fellous

A no-nonsense prop forward who carries international honours, Adel started off his career at Catalans Dragons in 2002. Adel was part of the Dragons side that took part in the Club’s first ever game in Super League, as they were 38-30 winners over Wigan Warriors in Perpignan.

Adel’s time and chances in the first team at the Dragons became limited, and loan spells at Hull FC and Toulouse happened before a short loan spell at Widnes. Fellous became known as an aggressive carrier of the ball, making 6 appearances for the Vikings, and was rewarded with a place in the France squad for the 2008 World Cup, playing in two games. Adel had a further spell with Lezignan Sangliers before retiring. 

 

Damien Blanch

The Australia-born and Irish representative started out his first grade career at Castleford Tigers in the 2006 season. Following a year with the Tigers, Blanch made the move to Widnes Vikings in the Championship. Damien became a try scoring machine on the wing with 19 tries in 27 appearances, with a Northern Rail Cup Final appearance as the Vikings ran out convincing winners over Whitehaven. The 2008 season brought another change for the winger, this time signing with the rivals of former club Castleford in Wakefield Trinity. Another fruitful spell of tries would occur for Damien, with 36 tries in 52 appearances during his three seasons at Belle Vue. In 2008, Blanch was named in the Ireland squad for the 2008 World Cup, and finished the tournament as one of the top try scorers. Similar form continues the year after in 2009, and his fperformances for both club and country culminated in being award the Ireland Player of the Year for 2009. 

Blanch then joined Catalans Dragons ahead of the 2011 season, and in his debut season in Perpignan, was the Club’s leading scorer with a tally of 17 tries. Just like he had through the rest of the career, Blanch had a record of better than one try every two games, and finished with 46 tries in 75 games, including a superb effort against Huddersfield Giants at The Shay. Blanch’s time in Super League finished in 2013, and played for Ireland in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup before moving back to Australia. 

 

Justin Murphy

Like Fellous and Myler above, Justin Murphy had a very short spell with the Vikings, and it came in the 2004 season under Neil Kelly. Prior to his move to England, Murphy had a short spell with the Canterbury Bulldogs, before impressing with New Zealand Warriors, including a Grand Final appearance in 2002, until the end of 2004. The spell with the Vikings would follow with a move to Catalans Dragons for the start of the 2005 season.

Murphy quickly established a reputation for a try scoring efforts in France, and would continue his prolific try scoring in Super League, finishing as the competition’s top scorer and a place in the Super League Dream Team in 2006. Murphy became infamous after he was accidentally pushed and went flying over the advertising hoardings, with his neck and back slamming into the concrete steps. Murphy left the Dragons in 2008, with 54 tries in 66 games, and Murphy retired and returned to Toowoomba. 

Players In Common - Catalans Dragons widnesvikings.co.uk