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‘He can play in the NRL one day’: Drinkwater on Mourgue

08 Oct 21, 12:05PM 0 Comments

Written by John Davidson

Arthur Mourgue’s eye-catching talent could take him all the way to the NRL.

That’s the view of teammate Josh Drinkwater. The Aussie halfback has had a ringside seat to witness the emergence of the young Frenchman in recent years.

Mourgue has been one of the most dynamic players to watch in Super League this season and has helped Catalans reach their first-ever grand final. Whether filling in at fullback, in the halves or at hooker, the 22-year-old has caught the eye with his attacking brilliance and fast feet.

Quick, elusive, with a quality passing game and the ability to beat defenders with his footwork, Mourgue has been a breath of fresh air at the Dragons. The Saint-Étienne-born playmaker only made his first-team debut in 2018 and has played less than 30 Super League games for Catalans.

But this year he has managed 21 appearances and put defences on notice, scoring five tries and setting up six others. Mourgue, who is a product of the Dragons’ academy, makes three tackle busts on average a game and can also kick goals.

Despite his relative lack of size – he is just 175cm tall and weighs only 74 kilograms – he makes up for it in guile and speed in the Rob Burrow or Preston Campbell-mode.

This Saturday Mourgue and Catalans will take on St Helens in the grand final. Drinkwater believes the young gun has a bright future ahead of him.

“He’s a very talented kid, he has the ability to change games with his speed and footwork,” he said.

“I think the club is doing the right thing by him too, they haven’t chucked him in the deep end and made him own the team or put too much pressure on him straight away. He’s got a role with us that really suits his game for the time being, obviously as he gets older and more experience he’s going to become a starting player and leader.

“What his best position is I’m still not sure, but at the moment he’s a pretty handy back-up to have and if everyone’s fit he injects so much spark and energy off the bench for us playing at 9 and testing the defence of the opposition with his speed. But I’m not going to put a ceiling or any expectation on him.

“I think if we can just let him grow naturally and be patient with him in the future he will be one hell of a player, that’s for sure.”

No Frenchman has ever made a big impact in the NRL. Drinkwater feels Mourgue has the skills and ability to one day break that barrier.

“He definitely could head across and play there in a few year’s time if he wanted to,” he said.

“I’d like to see him stay here with us for a few years and grow his game before he went, so he could show people across in the NRL the best version of himself.”

Mourgue is expected to be on the bench at Old Trafford, covering fullback and hooker for Les Dracs. The outside back, who plays golf in his spare time, has become a real weapon for Catalans, as claimed by coach Steve McNamara earlier this year.

“We’re really pleased with him,” McNamara said in July.

“His progression has been great. He’s a really sensible, professional young man who is performing well. There are parts of his game that he’d want to keep improving but he’s learning three or four different positions.

“That’s his biggest value to us. He’s got something there in terms of his speed, power and his agility, he’s a God-given talent and his value to the team is growing.”

Mourgue’s career will face its biggest test to date this Saturday. But larger stages, including a Test debut for France against England in two weeks, lay in wait.

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