Catalans are a “genuine marquee club”, says Steve McNamara

Catalans coach Steve McNamara has described his new club as a “genuine marquee club” as he begins work to try and overhaul their fortunes.

McNamara has been appointed as Dragons coach until the end of the 2020 season after securing a release from NRL side New Zealand Warriors to return to Super League.

And he admitted while it was a difficult decision to walk away from that role – as well as his role with the Kiwis’ national side too – the lure of the Dragons proved irresistible.

“It was a tough decision leaving the New Zealand Warriors and the position with the New Zealand Test team as well, but when a team like Catalans Dragons called, they are a genuine marquee club,” he said.

“I say that based on the fact that I know lots of people in the southern hemisphere would dearly love to play for this club.

“The timing wasn’t great in terms of halfway through the season for the Warriors but great in terms of the opportunity for me to come back and be a head coach at this club.”

McNamara takes over a side currently in the bottom four and looking increasingly like being dragged into a battle to avoid the Qualifiers this season – but he dismissed any talk of an “emergency” in Perpignan.

“I wouldn’t say it is an emergency, I would say urgency,” McNamara added.

“The team is struggling a little bit in confidence, or a lot in confidence, and that generally happens when there is disruption. You can quite easily become disconnected.

“The players need to relax a little bit, they need to clear their minds of the external pressures that may be on them. That is my job as the head coach, that is what I am here for, I am here to take that weight off them.

“I want them to think clearly and have clarity in terms of what we want them to do at the weekend. If they do that, and have clear minds, I think there is a chance of them doing that this weekend.”

McNamara takes charge for the first time this weekend when the Dragons face Warrington on Saturday.