Catalans Dragons have chartered a fleet of private jets to fly supporters into the UK for Saturday’s Super League Grand Final in Manchester.
Over 1,000 supporters have already booked their trip from Perpignan to the Theatre of Dreams, at a cost of 650 euros each, but club chiefs are encouraging as many people as possible to support the Dragons at Old Trafford.
A Dragons spokesman told League Express: “It is more difficult and expensive than ever for French fans to fly in and out of the UK at short notice and we are doing everything we can to ease that process.
“It’s a massive moment in history for Catalans Dragons and for the game of Rugby League to see a French team in the Grand Final and we will do everything we can to make sure we fill as many seats as we can.”
Three aeroplanes are already chartered and the club will add more flights on demand if necessary. Part of the package deal includes all Covid-testing, match tickets plus access to a hospitality area at Old Trafford.
Dragons coach Steve McNamara has urged any neutral supporters with a soft spot for Catalans to make the trip to the Theatre of Dreams this weekend.
He said, “I hope people respond to something new at this year’s Grand Final.
“If you like Rugby League and you want that big-game experience and the build-up in Manchester, it would be great to see you at our end of the stadium and we would appreciate all of the support we can get.”
Catalans President Bernard Guasch was moved by the number of supporters from other clubs who voiced their support for the Dragons in their nail-biting Golden Point win over St Helens in the Super League Magic Round at Newcastle and McNamara is keen to foster that support.
“I know many are making big sacrifices to be there and we will be doing our very best to reward their support. If anyone else wants to join us in the Catalans end at Old Trafford, that would be fantastic,” added McNamara.
Support for Catalans’ ambitions came from Hull Kingston Rovers coach Tony Smith following last Thursday’s semi-final in Perpignan.
The Robins’ chief said, “I can’t give Catalans enough praise and I wish them well next week. I’m close friends with Steve McNamara and I wish the club all the very best.
“It’s a good thing for the sport and having a new face on the trophy would only be a positive for Rugby League.”
The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.