Catalans Dragons gaining in strength ahead of Super League play-offs

Catalans Dragons will enter the Super League play-offs breathing fire says coach Steve McNamara, as he begins to reassemble his injury and suspension-ravaged squad.

Les Dracs face Leeds Rhinos today (Monday) in a bid to avenge the recent shock 36-32 home defeat, which featured a second-half collapse from 30-6 ahead against twelve men.

McNamara told League Express: “I am confident with the group that we’ve got, we need to go and get a result on Monday and add quality to our performance to give ourselves some momentum in whatever stage of the play-offs we enter.”

The Dragons’ coach will welcome giant substitute prop Sam Kasiano and hooker Michael McIlorum back from suspension for the Leeds clash and he is hoping last Thursday’s win against relegated French neighbours Toulouse Olympique will kick-start a renaissance to his side’s stuttering season.

He said: “We want to go back to the final, it’s been our goal all season. We looked a million miles away from it last week (a 46-14 home defeat to Salford) and we didn’t look too close to it against Toulouse, but we’ve still got time to get it done.

“We’ll potentially have some players back for Monday from injury and suspension so hopefully we will be able to add some fresh legs into the group.”

Catalans were boosted by the return of fullback Sam Tomkins and second rower Matt Whitley, who had a starring role in the 24-14 victory at Stade Ernest Wallon.

McNamara added: “Matt came back from his injury early, he should have been out for another couple of weeks, but he has worked so hard and the medical and rehab staff have done a great job with him.

“For him to come out and play like that in such hot and humid conditions is incredible.

“He got the job done and we needed his quality.”

Catalans may have to do without French international centre Matthieu Laguerre after he limped from the pitch early in the game at Toulouse.

McNamara said, “Matthieu has had a little recurrence of his hamstring injury, not as bad as the first one, but we’ll need to look at it.

“Mike McMeeken is not quite ready yet, it’s a little more complicated in terms of the surgery he has had on his thumb so we are still hoping and waiting to see whether it heals in time for him to play a further part in this season.”

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