McNamara issues rallying call for Catalans

Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara is calling upon his senior players to stand up against Warrington Wolves on Thursday night if Super League’s French club is to remain top of the table.

McNamara was critical of his side’s first-half performance against Hull in heatwave conditions at Stade Gilbert Brutus at the weekend, the Dragons leaving it late to secure a 31-16 victory after coming from behind at half-time once again.

McNamara is keen to lose the recently-acquired ‘comeback kings’ reputation.

Catalans capitalised on St Helens’ defeat to Castleford Tigers to reinforce their position at the top of the table, but McNamara was disappointed with the way in which his players struggled to deal with a weakened Hull side, who were missing several senior players to Covid, injuries and suspensions.

McNamara told League Express, “We were poor in that first half against Hull. I was really disappointed with our lack of patience and unwillingness to work hard. Ultimately, we have got some experienced halves out there in Jimmy Maloney, Josh Drinkwater and Sam Tomkins who should have certainly organised and run that first half a lot better than we did.

“We scored early and we probably thought we could score on single plays.

“We chased every opportunity and sometimes you have to be more selective and control your discipline. Sometimes there is half an opportunity and a better decision would be not to take it, look for the better chances, but we tried to chase every opportunity in that first half and that led to errors and lack of discipline.”

Warrington have beaten Catalans twice already this season (in league and Cup) and McNamara is keen to avoid a third defeat.

He added, “We didn’t make Hull work hard enough in that first half and we cannot afford to do it again.

“We gave an interception try away, which ruined our momentum and we had really sloppy left-edge defence for their second try.

“But we fixed some of those things in the second half and we managed to get the win. We need to take those lessons into our next game, it’s a very short turnaround for us before the Warrington match.”

McNamara reported no further injury concerns for his side, although prop Sam Kasiano lasted only five minutes after coming on as a first-half substitute against Hull.

Kasiano recently had treatment for a knee injury and McNamara said, “It’s a little too early to tell, but we will have a good look at him this week to see what the problem is.”

Catalans have announced further contract extensions for French players Alrix Da Costa and Arthur Romano, both of whom have signed new one-year deals to remain at Stade Gilbert Brutus until at least the end of the 2022 season.

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