McDermott wary of high-flying Dragons
Reigning champions Leeds Rhinos aim to once more put Catalan Dragons' impressive home record to the test this evening.
The Dragons lost just once in the regular Super League season at the Stade Gilbert Brutus last year and have won all four of their home games so far this time to sit proudly at the top of the table alongside Wigan Warriors.
The Rhinos were the last visitors to win in Perpignan, courtesy of their 27-20 triumph in the 2012 play-offs last September, but coach Brian McDermott is acutely aware of the size of his team's task.
"Their record at home is well known so we are aware exactly how hard it is to go down there and get a result," he said.
"There are a lot of factors that are unique to playing in Perpignan and you have to be ready for that.
"Last season in the league we gave them a big lead and were forced to chase the game after that, which is a difficult task at any time but particularly hard down there."
Leeds have chartered their own plane for the trip as they look to get over the disappointment of being held to a draw by Bradford Bulls in the opening game of the Easter programme.
The champions conceded a last-minute try against the Bulls and McDermott admits it felt like a defeat.
"Everyone is looking forward to getting back out there on Monday after how Thursday's game finished," he said.
"We were obviously disappointed that we did not win the game but it was a draw in the end. We take the point and move on to the next challenge.
"Easter does not afford you the luxury of feeling sorry for yourself and immediately on Friday morning all our attentions were on Catalan.
"I thought our defensive effort against the Bulls was very strong and we will certainly need to replicate that against the Dragons.
"The fact that they are joint top of the league shows how tough they are this year."
McDermott has called up 20-year-old prop Brad Singleton to make the trip after losing Kylie Leuluai with a groin strain.
"Brad has been doing well as part of our dual-registration arrangement with Hunslet and will benefit from being part of the group travelling across to France," McDermott said.
Catalan's Tongan prop Lopini Paea is set to make his first appearance of the season after recovering from knee surgery and coach Laurent Frayssinous has recalled forwards Gregory Mounis and Jamal Fakir and winger Damien Blanch, who all sat out Thursday's win at London Broncos.