CATALANS DRAGONS stand-off half James Maloney has played in some big games during his career, but he has little doubt that today’s game against Wigan is one of the most important, and not just because of the opposition.
The Dragons are expecting a crowd of up to 5,000 at the Stade Gilbert Brutus for the first Super League game to be played in France since the played Salford on 7 March, more than six months ago. Kicking off at 5.00pm BST, it will be the first Super League game since the lockdown started not to be played behind closed doors.
“I’ve played Wigan twice before,” Maloney told League Express.
“The two World Club Challenge games I’ve had were both against Wigan. In 2014 they came out to Australia to play the Roosters and we had a pretty comfortable win. Then I played against them with Cronulla and they managed to beat us, so I’m well aware that they are a very strong club and they’re going alright this season.
“I watched them recently just to have a look at them and I don’t think they are unbeatable by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re capable of playing good footy and we’ll have to be good.”
When Maloney joined the Dragons at the start of the season, he could hardly have expected to have played so few games at the Stade Gilbert Brutus by mid-September.
“I really enjoyed the atmosphere when we played at Stade Gilbert Brutus at the beginning of the season, but this game is so important for the club,” said Maloney.
“We’ve run into some unexpected heavy costs because of the virus. We’ve had to charter flights every week for the past month, so to get back and play in front of a crowd will be really important.
“I know we can’t pack out the stadium, but we can get some supporters in and get some money back into the club’s pocket. Everyone’s taken a financial hit because of this situation and the club’s no different.
“We’d like to give the supporters something to shout about. The good thing for us is that we’ve got a few more games in since the restart than some other clubs. We had a couple of make-up games so we started a little bit earlier and we’ve got four games under our belt. But nothing’s ideal this year is it?”
A full interview with James Maloney will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express