Catalans coach Steve McNamara couldn’t hide his disappointment with his Dragons’ display in defeat to Wigan Warriors on Saturday night.
Super League’s French club were the first to host a game in front of a crowd since Coronavirus hit the sport and 5,000 supporters turned up to Stade Gilbert Brutus under local government guidelines for limited attendances. The Warriors raced into a 0-28 lead before two late tries made the scoreline more respectable for the home team.
“We understand what it meant to the club today,” McNamara told League Express following the 12-28 loss.
“It’s been six months since we played here and the club is in a difficult financial situation because of Covid, everybody knows that, so we wanted to come out here and play really well and put a smile on everyone’s faces but we weren’t able to do that today and that is disappointing for us.”
The Dragons were without several key players due to injury, suspension and Covid cases and McNamara will be hoping for the swift return of Michael McIlorum, Josh Drinkwater, David Mead, Tom Davies and Sam Moa before Friday’s Coral Challenge Cup quarter-final against Salford Red Devils at St Helens.
Catalans have spent the past two weeks on strict home quarantine because of a Covid outbreak at the club but McNamara refused to blame the lay-off for his side’s defeat to Wigan.
He added: “Clearly, it was a disappointing performance and result for us. Up to this point, over the past few weeks we’d been playing well, looking fluent, looking slick but I thought today was very, very clunky. We looked off the mark in so many areas.
“We didn’t get out of isolation until Wednesday so it was short (training preparation) but that would be looking for an excuse. Of course, it’s there but the reality of this competition this year is that we’re going to have to face that similar situation again, or have players dropping out or coming back in, so we’re going to have to deal with it much better than we did today.
“It was extremely hot out there and the game started at a good pace but Wigan dominated the basics, they kicked the ball well and they put us under pressure.
“Obviously we haven’t played for the last three weeks so we haven’t been under that pressure and we didn’t deal with it as well as we could have done.
“But it’s not an excuse for me, we all know how we should look, how we should play and I thought we tried really hard today. It wasn’t for a lack of any effort but we just never got the job done.
“As a performance, for the players and me as a coach, it was disappointing.”
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