Wigan Warriors: Matty Peet praises the transformation at Catalans Dragons over the last few years as his side prepare for an intense battle
His side face the French club at the DW Stadium on Thursday night (K.O. 8pm).
Peet credits Catalans’ head coach for their recent success, as well as the influence of some ex-Wigan players.
He said: “Since Steve McNamara got to grips with them they have been one of the teams you expect to be in the mix.
“I know they recruit quality at the top end but I like the way that he’s integrated the French players into the team.
“They are competitive and hold their own.
“Arthur Mourgue is obviously a special talent. I do like (Matthieu) Laguerre, when he plays he’s really good. There’s (Mickaël) Goudemand, and Romain (Navarrete) is back there as well.
“I should also mention (Ben) Garcia, because I think he’s up there with the best loose forwards in Super League.
“In the past they’ve had the odd flair player, but they’ve got more workmen who can play at this intensity for longer.
“It’s good for international rugby league, because we are going to have the regular mid-season test.
"If we can get the best of the French then it makes for a more competitive game.
“It shows that there is genuine growth in the South of France rather than a team that has been plonked there.
“Steve has shaped that club in a really good manner over the last few years, they seem to improve and learn.
“They’ve become one of those teams where you know what you’re going to get.
“They will come to play us at our own game, so it will be really intense and an indicator of where we are up to.
“The style they play stays the same no matter who is available.
“I think it goes under the radar how much of a transformation there has been there.
“It’s credit to the club as a whole, and to some of the overseas players and the influence they’ve had.
“You can see the effect that people like Mickey (McIlorum) have had on some of their middles, and Sam (Tomkins) with Arthur Mourgue.
“Those two in particular are held in the highest esteem here, and are up there with the last 20 years with anyone who has played at this club.
“They know they’ll get a warm reception on and off the field, and they are just class lads.
“I have a lot of admiration for both of them, and Tom Davies.”
With back-to-back impressive wins under their belt following their round one defeat to Hull KR, the Warriors are looking to strengthen further.
“We are just concentrating on improving,” Peet added.
“After round one that wasn’t too difficult but hopefully we will continue to build and learn as the year progresses.
“We just want to be better than last week as individuals and as a team.
“It’ll be the same the week after when we play Huddersfield.
“It’s about continual progress and continual improvement, then we’ll check where we are at when it comes to knock-out rugby.
“We take a lot of pride in our defence; all of our discussions are defence first.
“We know we’ve got attacking players and an approach that works but you need to earn field position.”