Catalans Dragons ready to fire in season opener at St Helens

The Earth will shake when Catalans Dragons’ private jet lands on Thursday for the opening clash of Super League 2022.

Coach Steve McNamara is keen to see a repeat of his side’s table-topping Grand Final heroics of last season and he admits that the re-match against St Helens is the perfect way to start the season with a bang.

“There’s a huge amount of interest in this game,” McNamara told League Express.

“Our last memories of Super League are not too distant and obviously there have been some changes to both teams but we’re focused and ready to go.”

Catalans have been tipped by many to reach a second Grand Final this year following the recruitment of NRL stars Mitchell Pearce, Dylan Napa and Tyrone May but McNamara believes the future success of the club lies elsewhere in the squad.

He added, “We’ve signed three blokes who have won NRL finals and we’ve had some changes of staff but underneath all of this is our young French players.

“The gap between the top and bottom at the club is narrowing.

“Some of these young boys are going to start disappointing senior players because they might be taking their place in the team.

“There’s a bigger expectation from our young players this year. Last season they were happy to be part of this group, everybody got a chance to play and they were grateful for it.

“Now I’m getting the feeling that they expect to play and that’s really good for us.

“It makes it a little difficult for me, with some choices to make but they are really good decisions to have to make.

“I was pleased we came through our pre-season friendly without any issues, so other than Arthur Mourgue (ankle injury) we are at full-strength going into Thursday’s game.”

McNamara has signed an extension to his current coaching contract which will keep him at Stade Gilbert Brutus until at least the end of season 2024 and he is keen to see the growth continue at the club.

Recent changes to the coaching staff are part of its evolution and McNamara has been delighted by the return of Sam Moa as an assistant coach and recruitment of new Head of Performance Matt Parr from Leicester Tigers.

He said, “We needed some changes; Matt came in full-time for us at the beginning of January, we had to wait for our man, but he’s been great he’s brought in some different thoughts and a fresh outlook.

“He’s obviously from a different sport but that’s allowed him to look at our team with a different set of eyes. He’s seen some of the things that we do well and some things that we can improve on.

“Sam Moa has been outstanding, his character and the ambience he helps create within the group is huge.”

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