HUDDERSFIELD Giants know a thing or two about Catalan Dragons.
After all, it’s less than three weeks since the two clubs went head-to-head in a Super League clash in the South of France.
On that occasion, a late Scott Dureau drop goal was the difference between the teams as the Dragons edged the contest 13-12.
But the Giants could count themselves unlucky not to have won that day.
Although the French went into the contest after an excellent April, in which they chalked up impressive wins at Wigan and Warrington, the Giants created more than enough chances to win the contest – and by some distance.
And it would appear the hard work the Dragons were forced to put in that day has taken a toll on the squad.
Several key injuries were picked up in the wake of the game and, as a result, their last two performances have not be of the highest order.
Six days after beating the Giants, they were given the fright of their lives before scraping a 22-16 Carnegie Challenge Cup triumph at Co-operative Championship leaders Leigh Centurions.
Then a week later their injury-hit squad was beaten 30-6 at Leeds Rhinos, although a couple of late scores gave the scoreline a lop-sided feel.
Could it be, therefore, that the Giants are hosting the men from Perpignan at just the right time?
WHEN former engage Super League Dream Team full-back Clint Greenshields was ruled out for six weeks with a dislocated elbow a month ago, Catalan Dragons may well have been fearing the worst.
The Australian is by far one of the best attacking full-backs in the competition and also has a solid all-round defensive game.
But French international winger Cyril Stacul has risen superbly to the challenge and been one of his side’s star men throughout his time as the last line of defence.
And that was, unfortunately, quite clearly the case when the Giants were beaten 13-12 in France just under three weeks ago.
Stacul was outstanding that day, joining the attack to great effect, running the ball back strongly from deep and producing several trysaving tackles, including the last-minute matchclincher on Lee Gilmour.
A similar effort may be required on Sunday to thwart the Giants.
ROOKIE coach Trent Robinson underlined his ability by masterminding their thrilling win over the Giants, when his Dragons’ never-say-die attitude won the day.
After a playing stint with Toulouse, the Australian took over from Hull KR boss Justin Morgan as coach in 2005 before spending three years as assistant coach at Australian NRL club Newcastle Knights.
And within a season of being placed in charge of defence at Sydney Roosters, the side had secured Australian Premiership success, with the 34-year-old having already strengthened that area of the Dragons’ game.