Grand Final: Former Castleford Tigers star Mike McMeeken aiming to do things differently at Old Trafford

IT has taken four years and a move to another country but Catalans Dragons’ Mike McMeeken is ready to finally put his Old Trafford disappointment behind him tonight.

Mike McMeeken of Dragons Catalans. Picture: Manuel Blondeau/

The England second-row was part of the thrilling Castleford Tigers side that swept to the Super League Leaders’ Shield by a record 10-point margin in 2017 only to lose the Grand Final against Leeds Rhinos in a huge anti-climax.

Castleford, playing in their maiden Grand Final, have never been back since.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However, McMeeken, who switched Wheldon Road for Perpignan ahead of this season, gets a chance to atone as Catalans – in their first such showpiece – face champions St Helens.

Asked what he has learned from the 2017 affair, he said: “To take more of the occasion in.

“Back then, I didn’t really do that. Walking around Old Trafford today, I was making sure I did that.

“I took it for granted in 2017 but it’s good to be a part of it now and I’m looking forward to stepping out again on Saturday night.

“The result will take care of itself – we know what we can do – but it’s more about the performances.

“In 2017, there were less than a handful of players in that Cas’ team who could really say they had a good game. Myself included.

“I didn’t have a good one. It’s just about making sure you turn up on the night really; as long as everyone gives their all, we know how we can play.”

That is true; Catalans finished top and have already beaten Saints twice this season.

McMeeken, who spent six years with Castleford after moving from London Broncos, has loved his switch to the south of France and rediscovered some of his best form.

He said: “It was a tough move. It wasn’t like an easy decision to get up and go from Cas.

“I was happy where I was but I just knew I had to get out of my comfort zone to try to help improve my game.

“So far it’s been a good move.

“It’s hard to say (if I’m playing better than in 2017). I felt I was good in 2017 but I kind of kept on improving.

“Maybe some people didn’t agree. But I was working with Powelly (Daryl Powell) quite a lot trying to improve and now, with Steve (McNamara), it’s helped me again.

“We’ve had a pretty chilled-out week and we’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves. We’re looking forward to this.”