McNamara plans to counter his son

The pride of Steve McNamara in his son’s fledgling career is conflicting with his plans to ask one of his front row forwards to flatten him this week.

The Catalans Dragons coach is facing the unusual prospect of coaching a team against his son Ben if he takes to the field for Hull FC in Thursday night’s Super League clash in Perpignan.

The 18-year-old halfback has impressed coach Andy Last, scoring a try on his debut against Castleford Tigers and performing well against Leeds and Huddersfield.

Dad Steve is delighted with his son’s development at their hometown club. But if Ben is selected to play at Stade Gilbert Brutus, all of that goes out of the window.

“I might put Sam Kasiano on him from kick-off and then Israel Folau against him from a tap restart just to test him out,” the Dragons’ coach told League Express with a wry smile.

“In all seriousness, if Ben plays, we’ll treat him exactly the same as any other member of the opposition. It’s like any other game, you look at your opponents and if they’ve got a young kid in there with not much experience you might have a look at it but there’s nothing else in it.

“Coaching against your own son is unusual and hopefully it will happen, for his sake, if it’s not now it might be at some point in the future but we’ll await the announcement of the Hull squad before we think about those things.”

McNamara did admit to feelings of nostalgia when he saw his son make his debut for the Airlie Birds, adding: “It was a funny feeling watching Ben play for Hull, I felt like I was a supporter again.

“I grew up there supporting them for years, I captained the club, and I’ve been away from the city for a long time so it felt strange watching Ben against Castleford.

“He’s stood up well so far in what he’s been asked to do for Hull and I’m really pleased that he’s doing okay. He’s forging his own pathway and earning the respect from his coaches and team-mates which, as a young player, is most of the battle.

“It’s crucial to earn the respect of the senior professionals around you and from what I’ve seen and heard that seems to be what he is doing.

“But when it comes down to choosing what’s best for Catalans and what’s best for Ben and Hull there is simply no contest. Everything is focused on us playing well and winning games. When we play against Hull nothing else comes into the equation.”

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