McNamara urges caution on ACL risks

Super League clubs are fully aware of the potential injury risks to players returning to action after a long break, according to former England coach Steve McNamara.

A rash of serious injuries to players in the NRL at the weekend has prompted concerns for the safety of domestic players when the season restarts on August 2nd and the Catalans coach said all efforts are being made to avoid similar consequences.

He told League Express: “There’s certainly an element of risk to players who have had an extended period of time out of action. It’s essential that we do contact and change of direction work with the players prior to a restart. We have to focus specifically on the kind of movements that can create injuries, unless you’ve been hardened to those conditions.

“All of the clubs in Super League are smart enough to acknowledge the situation. We’ve got some really clever people working in performance and medical departments in our game. At Catalans we’re certainly blessed with a couple of the best people in that area so we’re comfortable with the challenge.

“Some of the injuries were horrible to see; in the Roosters match the pitch looked disgraceful. I’m not sure what impact that had on the injuries, but for that standard of game, and the amount of money being invested in the NRL, not to be able to have a field much better than that is poor.”

McNamara says that players have faced a unique physical challenge following the unprecedented period of inaction and isolation. He added: “At the Dragons we’ll be 21 weeks between games, which is unheard of. Our players would never normally have that time away from action. The only positive is that everyone’s bodies and minds have had a unique chance to freshen up and be ready to go again.

“The club owners will make the decisions on when players will be allowed back to training based around government guidelines and Chommage or furlough legislation as regards the financial aspect.

“Each club has to make its own decision, but we’ll announce our own plans early this week and we’ll be returning to train imminently.

“We’ve given the players a week off, they all look fit and healthy and it’s obvious that they are raring to go.

“Sam Moa got clearance from the medical experts last week and he’s more than ready to go again. He’s worked really hard and he’s ecstatic that he’ll get the chance to play again and we can’t wait to get him back out there.”