Following a training game in which the Dragons hosted Toulouse Olympique on Saturday, Steve McNamara discussed his plans for his Catalans side for the remainder of pre-season.
“In France, we’ve got to help each other. Ourselves and Toulouse are out here on our own. Regardless that we’re playing them next week, we both need quality practices. Both teams know it’s a gladiatorial, tough, physical game and there’ll be elements of that next week,” he told the official Catalans website.
“It’s very important for us to get good practice for each other. Sylvain (Houles) and I will be very happy with what we’ve seen today but there’s lots to work on too.
“Everyone’s got to prepare in their own way to best suit their team, but for us that was a good physical session. Almost like playing half a competitive game, probably even more than that. We’ve got that in the bank for ourselves now and then we go into next week for a full-blooded game.
“We’ve got a couple more opposed sessions planned in between next week’s game and the start of the season.”
McNamara used the training session to identify weaknesses in his side that he hopes to rectify heading into the season.
“I think to be successful you have to be able to defend well and when you look at today’s session and the try line defending from both teams, we were probably scoring a little bit too easy against each other. For us that has to be the area that we work on. We’ve got to be more resilient and stop more tries because that’s what wins big games. It’s alright scoring points at the other end but if you can’t defend your try line then you’re in trouble. Today was a great opportunity for us to look at that and see where we’re currently at.”
The Dragons boosted their squad during the off-season by strengthening their halves and wings with the captures of three exciting players.
“The new lads have been great. Obviously Josh (Drinkwater) has been here before and he knows it inside out, James Maloney is a great character and Tom Davies is a very good professional so we’ve got a nice balance in the squad.”
James Maloney in particular has been highlighted by the ex England coach as a potentially pivotal signing for the club as they aim to improve on their 7th place Super League finish in 2019. The Australian international spent last season playing in the NRL with the Penrith Panthers but made the switch to the French side after agreeing to a deal in July 2019.
“He’s a tremendous leader, he’s been that most of his career and he’s proven it at the highest level. He’s taken that mantle on here and that’s what he’s here for. He’s one of our playmakers, decision-makers and he’s certainly one of our main leaders.”