Justin Murphy has become one of the Catalans' irregulars this season, but he was too much for Warrington to handle in their elimination play-off at the weekend. Murphy's four tries underlined the Dragons' overwhelming superiority, but he still regards himself as a week-by-week proposition who is far from certain of a contract for next season.
The Australian-born winger is caught in a strange rugby league limbo. He qualifies to play for France by residence – and has done so – and is married to a Frenchwoman. But until he receives his French citizenship, he counts as an overseas player for the purposes of the eight-foreigners-per-match limit the Catalans impose on themselves. That frequently sees him left out of the team; he was only included on Saturday in a tight call with another Australian, Aaron Gorrell.
"Every time I play, I feel I have to justify my selection and that my position is probably under threat," said Murphy after his play-off record-equalling feat.
He began to prove the worth of his old-fashioned, touchline-hugging wingplay with two first-half tries as his side began to open up the Wolves' defence with ominous ease. He struck twice more in the second half to give a most accomplished all-round display.
The Catalans pack burst back to life and battered the collection of walking wounded and raw kids Warrington were able to put onto the field.
Behind them, the Dragons reminded us that they have a number of players whose skill levels rank with the very best in their positions.
On the day, those included Clint Greenshields, Adam Mogg and the versatile and brilliant Thomas Bosc, whilst Casey McGuire was an outstanding leader.
The Wolves, who took gambles on the fitness of three key players, simply had no answer. Coming off a deplorable run of form of their own, they at least looked up for the job in the first quarter, but once they started conceding points they fell apart.
One of Warrington's players who will be lucky to be there for the start of the new campaign is their hooker, Jon Clarke, who broke his right fore-arm in three places in a collision with Dimitri Pelo's head. He would have been named today in England's train-on squad for the World Cup, butnow faces at least a three-month lay-off.
Better news for England is that Adrian Morley came through without any further damage to his rib and stomach muscle injury, but Simon Grix is out of Ireland's plans with a dislocated shoulder.
Catalan Dragons: Greenshields; Murphy, Wilson, Raguin, Pelo; Mogg, Bosc; Chan, McGuire, Elima, Croker, Mounis, Carlaw. Substitutes used: Guisset, Casty, Fakir, Baile.
Warrington: Hicks; Riley, Gleeson, King, Penny; Briers, Monaghan; Morley, Clarke, Rauhihi, Westwood, Mitchell, Grix. Substitutes used: Wood, Bracek, Cooper, Blythe.
Referee: S Ganson (St Helens)Reuse content