Dragons’ preparations put back

Catalans Dragons’ pre-season preparations are on ice as the club continues to wait for guidance and financial support from the French government.

Coach Steve McNamara had planned to restart training at Stade Gilbert Brutus on Monday 11th January, but he may have to wait until the end of the month before he can regather his squad.

He told League Express: “We are awaiting instructions from the French government in a few different areas, including financial aid, Covid regulations and our ability to work as a professional sports organisation in the current conditions.

“It’s not ideal but the situation is changing on a daily basis and you’ve got to roll with it, as we did last season.”

Despite the current challenges, McNamara insists there is a “positive mood” at the club among players and staff, adding: “We’ll be fine; the players have been given individual plans and they know what needs to be done until we are informed differently.

“The players are training individually and working as hard as they can. At the moment we are not on lockdown, so they are free to train and exercise wherever they want for as long as is necessary and they will continue to do that until we are told we can get back together as a team.”

McNamara admits that plans for any pre-season fixtures are also on hold because of Covid, adding: “It’s not essential at the moment, we’ve got other priorities that we are trying to organise and sort out. Looking at the Covid situation, any pre-season fixtures against English teams are currently out of the question.

“I speak regularly with (Toulouse Olympique coach) Sylvain Houles about our individual situations and we’re both monitoring things daily, but it’s not worth wasting too much energy on planning pre-season games until we know we’re able to play them.

“There are too many unknowns and we just can’t make firm decisions at this stage.”

McNamara said both French clubs were working closely on transport plans for the coming season as Covid continues to wreak havoc with international travel.

He said, “Of course we have concerns about how we’re going to travel and we’re speaking with Super League and the RFL about this.

“We can’t just cross our fingers and wait until the start of the season hoping everything’s going to be okay. Unless things change drastically it is clearly going to need a lot of planning and support if French teams are going to be able to compete.

“There are so many different scenarios. You can get lost in all of it, so all we are doing is concentrating on the things that we can control and that’s getting the players as fit and healthy as possible.

“There is a lot of communication between many different people at this stage and we’re keeping as updated as we possibly can as things change rapidly.”

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