Former Catalans half-back Richie Myler believes the 2018 Challenge Cup winners have proven those who doubted their place at the top table wrong with their historic success at Wembley last year.
Myler left Catalans following last year’s Million Pound Game win over Leigh to join Leeds Rhinos, but admits he was thrilled for his former team-mates after beating Warrington and becoming the first foreign side to win rugby league’s most historic competition.
“There’s been some phone-calls and late night FaceTime conversations with some of the lads since then,” he said.
“They’ve had a good party I think, and it’s tremendous for them. They’ve had a few question marks over the whole thing, and people asking whether it was working. They’ve been going for 13 years now, and this is the first bit of silverware they’ve got. I’m sure it’ll kick on now and hopefully it is a good thing for the game.”
Myler also admits he was delighted for former coach Steve McNamara, who endured heavy criticism throughout the early part of 2018, but has since overseen an incredible renaissance in the south of France.
He said: “When I was leaving you could see that Steve was about to turn it around, and I’m made up for him really. He’s had some doubters but he’s proven everyone wrong. They’ve been building quite nicely, and after they played us here, they’ve been on an upward curve and kicked on. I don’t think anyone is going to want to go and play in France now.”
Leeds return to Qualifiers action on Saturday with a huge game against Hull KR – in which victory could go a long way to securing their Super League status for 2019.
And following a two-week break for the Challenge Cup final, Myler insists Leeds are raring to go.
He said: “It was good to get a rest but we’ve done some hard work. We’ve been training pretty much flat-out and it’s been like a mini pre-season for us, and we’re all raring to go now.
“I’ve a lot of confidence in this side and we’re on the right path now, and we’re working hard. This time we’ve had off has been good for the squad; we’ve trained hard and we’re raring to go.”