Catalans Dragons vs Leeds Rhinos Predictions: Normal service to resume in Perpignan

 | Friday 10th May 2024, 9:23am

Friday 10th May 2024, 9:23am

George Riley Rugby League

A hot Saturday evening is expected in Perpignan as Catalans Dragons host Leeds Rhinos off the back of two big away defeats, while Rohan Smith's side arrive in France just two points behind their hosts fresh from an eight-try thumping of London Broncos.

The Dragons are a different beast at home though, with a big crowd expected for a mouth-watering clash at the Stade Gilbert Brutus (kick-off 17:30 BST, live on Sky Sports Arena). My Catalans Dragons vs Leeds Rhinos predictions include an expectation that Steve McNamara will have his team firing again.

Catalans Dragons vs Leeds Rhinos Tips

  • 3-way Handicap Catalans Dragons -12 @ 20/21
  • Ash Handley anytime tryscorer @ 11/10

Team News

Catalans coach McNamara is boosted by the return of his England hooker Michael McIlorum who will slot straight back in at number nine, a position in which Leeds have started rotating Andy Ackers with Jarrod O’Connor.

The French side though are without two key forwards who are integral to their success, with captain Ben Garcia sidelined along with Paul Seguier. Matt Ikuvalu is fit to return though in an otherwise very strong squad.

Leeds are still without star centre Harry Newman, whose injury woes continue as he misses a third game in a row with a back injury, and the Rhinos suffered the hammer blow of losing former Man of Steel Brodie Croft to a groin injury in last week’s win over London.

Teenage winger Riley Lumb is also out, possibly long term, after pulling his hamstring last week. Both first-choice centres are out, with Paul Momirovski still sidelined with Newman, while forwards James Donaldson, Tom Holroyd, James Bentley and Morgan Gannon are all left at home for the trip to France.

Back-up hooker Corey Johnson is a surprise inclusion in a squad that features scrum-half Matt Frawley, prop Tom Nicholson-Watton, centre Ned McCormack and back row Ben Littlewood, none of whom were used against the Broncos last week. Teenage back Jack Smith is also selected for the first time.

3-way Handicap Catalans Dragons -12 @ 20/21

Erratic Leeds have mustered back-to-back wins over rock-bottom London and fellow strugglers Hull FC but a trip to the south of France is a different proposition altogether. The Dragons have had a little stumble after a strong start, conceding 30 points on each of their last two trips in defeat to Wigan Warriors and Leigh Leopards.

These results have seen a real bunch forming at the top of the Betfred Super League table, with the Rhinos having remarkably sat just two points behind a six-way share of the lead before Warrington Wolves' win on Thursday. Indeed, one of the rare highlights of this Leeds season so far was an 18-10 win over the Dragons at Headingley in round three, but I am expecting a response from McNamara’s men in baking hot conditions.

Leeds will miss the creativity of Croft, a try scorer last week but also the leading assist provider in the league with 12 in his first 10 matches, plus 23 tackle busts and four clean breaks. I think this alone gives the home side the initiative, and I think given Leeds are travelling light to a raucous stadium on a hot day it is going to be another tough afternoon for Rohan Smith’s side.

I’m backing the Dragons here and think they will win it by at least two converted tries, with 51.2% the implied probability of the 20/21 price.

Catalans to win -12 @ 20/21

Ash Handley anytime tryscorer @ 11/10

That said, I still see Ash Handley as the most dangerous finisher on the pitch. The Leeds winger has been linked with a move to the Dragons this week and will be switched on to impress in the Perpignan sunshine. Handley needs 12 points to reach 500 for Leeds, and I expect at least four of them to be added to his tally in this one.

Despite missing games through injury, Handley is on eight tries for the season, just three behind leading scorer Adam Swift.

Ash Handley anytime tryscorer @ 11/10

You can read all our latest Super League Tips at our dedicated Betfred Insights Super League content hub.

Share Article

(Visited 98 times, 1 visits today)