Catalans Dragons suffer travel trouble to compound losing Super League top spot

CATALANS DRAGONS tumbled from the top of the Super League table at the weekend, but coach Steve McNamara insists his side is still in the fight for the League Leaders’ Shield.

A second defeat in a row for Les Dracs (26-18 at Hull KR on Friday night) has allowed Wigan Warriors into pole position and, with just three games left, McNamara is anxious his players get back to winning ways to secure a precious home semi-final.

The Dragons’ difficult Friday night got even worse following their defeat to the Robins when the club’s private flight home had to be diverted following technical difficulties on the runway at Perpignan airport.

The aeroplane was forced to land at Montpellier, which is almost two hours away by road, and the unexpected landing meant there was no reception or transport for the players and staff, who were left sitting in the jet until they could be processed by customs and passport officials.

McNamara told League Express, “It’s part and parcel of being a Dragon. We couldn’t land in Perpignan and we had to find a different place and they let us land in Montpellier but the airport was shut so we had to sit on the plane until it opened and find a way to get back to Perpignan.

“We paid for a private flight to make things easier for ourselves and this happens but it’s out of our control.

“We’ve lost a full night’s sleep but we’re used to that and we’ve changed things around a little as we prepare for the trip to Wakefield.”

The Dragons’ coach is looking for a response from his “frustrated” players when they travel to face Wakefield Trinity on Friday night.

He said, “The players are frustrated with our performance in the last couple of games. We were in the contest against Wigan but let it slip and the same at Hull KR where we had a grip of the game until a few minutes before half-time.

“We went from eight points up to eight points down in a short period and lost a man to the sin-bin. The game got away from us.

“It’s just frustrating and we have to find a way of getting back to our best form.

“We need to identify the areas where we aren’t doing well in at the moment and get back to some of the good things we were doing earlier in the season.

“If we can do that and get back on track, we can play our game once again.

“We haven’t been quite on our game and have conceded too many tries but it isn’t just our defence that needs addressing, we are off the mark in other areas too.

“We know it and we know the answers too.

“We will be playing a team that is desperate and we have been in that situation as a club ourselves, trying to not get relegated. They will be up for the fight and that’s fine but after our last two losses we have to look at ourselves and play to our best.

“We started our season at Wakefield and it was tough there that day for a number of reasons and we came away with a great victory – that is the plan on Friday.”

McNamara reported no serious injuries from the Rovers game although club captain Ben Garcia left the pitch hobbling after half an hour.

McNamara added, “We lost Ben in the first half at Hull with an ankle issue, we’re not sure how bad it is but we’ll take a look this week. Matt Ikuvalu will be back either this week or next. Siua Taukeiaho has a sore foot and we are managing the situation as best we can but I’m sure we’ll see him before the end of the season.”