Catalans want to host games

Catalans Dragons want Super League fixture planners to incorporate the south of France into their season-restart schedule.

The French club will travel to face Champions St Helens on August 2nd on day one of the season re-boot.

But French club officials are keen to host games as soon as possible in Perpignan after receiving government clearance to play in front of 5,000 supporters at Stade Gilbert Brutus.

Coach Steve McNamara told League Express: “From a Catalans perspective, the situation isn’t difficult; we’re here and ready to play home games under restricted crowds, according to the latest government guidelines. The stadium is fit to host games, the club is making sure of that.

“There will be no quarantine to stop teams coming in and out of the country, or for us to visit England; the bio-secure documents are all there and lodged with the RFL in terms of how it could happen for all teams, so the conditions are in place to have regular home and away fixtures.

“There is a clear method of travel available; we’re looking at flying in and out of the UK on the day of our away games during the early weeks of the restart, so there is no reason why English teams can’t do the same and visit us.

“Of course there are considerations to take into account like Sky television, but I see no reason whatsoever not to allow us to play at home.

“The first fixtures are out now and we all know when the start point is. We know there will be games the week after, but we’re not sure where or when they will be. For us, quite clearly, in terms of travel arrangements and everything else it’s important that we know as soon as we can.

“There is so much uncertainty still. The clubs have voted on what structure they want and how many games there will be, but things are changing rapidly around the world.

“The first round could be played at one venue but it could all be back to home games at individual venues the following week, things are changing so quickly.”

McNamara says it is crucial that his team is allowed home advantage, particularly in a shortened season with a revised four-team playoff.

He added: “Switching to a four-team play-off makes the whole competition tighter and there are fewer games for teams to catch up if they’ve dropped points at the start of the season. We’ve won three from four and we need to build on that right from the start. You can’t afford to get too far behind with just 22 games in total to play in a limited number of weekends available.

“Whoever wins the Grand Final is going to thoroughly deserve it this year, as it’s going to be attritional. There are fewer games, but over a much shorter period of time. It’s not something you’d like to see every year but we have to get our teeth into it and let’s go.

“In some regards it could be even more special to win it than a normal season.”

McNamara isn’t unhappy about facing champions St Helens on day one of the restart: “It’s one of our catch-up games and I don’t think anybody cares who they’re playing or where it’s at after such a long amount of time off. We’re just all glad that we’ll be back out there and it should be a great game.

“No-one knows really what to expect after the break; it’s all new for everybody and we’re not fazed by that at all. We knew we had Saints to play as one of our postponed games and they are the current champions, but it doesn’t matter if we meet them in the first or last game of the restarted season.”