Catalans Dragons’ Steve McNamara blasts Wakefield Trinity pitch after opening Super League win

CATALANS DRAGONS are licking their wounds after picking up two sore points at Wakefield Trinity on Friday night.

Coach Steve McNamara reported a rash of grazed elbows and knees within his squad following their 38-24 Round One win on the brand new 4G playing surface at the Be Well Support Stadium.

McNamara said, “It was a pretty tough game on a pitch where the boys have got no skin left on their legs, they are red raw. I hadn’t seen anything like it before in terms of the blisters and the blood in the dressing room from that field.

“I’m definitely not a fan of that pitch. It’s going to create issues, I’m sure. We don’t have to play on it again, but Wakefield are going to have to play on it every other week.

“It’s an issue, a big issue I think, for Wakefield moving forward for their players.”

Trinity have installed a hybrid pitch as part of their redevelopment work at Belle Vue, with an artificial underlay beneath soil and a mixture of natural grass and plastic strands forming the playing surface.

McNamara will be handing out skin cream at training this week as he prepares for the arrival of Leigh Leopards in Round Two on Saturday.

With no serious injury concerns from the Wakefield clash, McNamara will be hoping for a repeat performance from his wingers Tom Johnstone (a hat-trick of tries on his return to his former club) and Tom Davies (two tries).

The Dragons’ coach added, “It was good to see both wingers in full flight. They were three class finishes for Tom (Johnstone) and he has been renowned for it throughout his career.

“He actually does a lot of hard work and some of his yardage carries early on were really good.

“I didn’t want the quality of his performance to be determined by whether he scored a try or not. But to score three in spectacular fashion is one of the reasons why we signed him.”

McNamara revealed that Catalans have curtailed their use of private jets to travel to and from games in the UK because of an increase in costs this year.

He added, “Our bi-weekly preparation will include a long three days in England because private flights in and out on matchdays are not financially viable this season and that obviously has an effect upon our rehabilitation, practice and performance.

“Every coach and player has had to deal with it since the club first came into being and we think we’ve done okay with it over the last few years, but we want to kick on now. It’s all part of the unique challenges we face and we have systems in place to cope.”

Catalans have announced a new broadcast deal which will allow French viewers to see a limited number of live Super League games this season.

The deal, negotiated by IMG, will see L’Equipe Live transmit five fixtures via their app and online channel in the first half of the season, with further fixtures to be selected as the competition progresses.

RL Commercial chief Rhodri Jones said, “This new agreement will increase the visibility of Catalans Dragons and Betfred Super League throughout France. It adds to our existing range of domestic and international deals.

“We took advantage of the long-term partnership with IMG to secure this deal and are also grateful to our international broadcast partners and agency RDA, who have worked with us for the past five years to raise the global profile of the Super League.”

Christophe Levy, Commercial Director of the Dragons, added, “This is excellent news for our fans and partners, but also for all sports lovers who will be able to enjoy these Super League matches for free.”