Smith expecting Catalans to be fired up as good friend McNamara takes charge

Warrington coach Tony Smith believes close friend Steve McNamara will have Saturday’s opponents Catalans Dragons fired up ahead of Saturday’s huge clash between the two sides.

McNamara will take charge of the Dragons for the first time as he looks to begin to overturn the fortunes of the French outfit and get them back into the top eight.

However, the Wolves find themselves in a similarly precarious position in Super League’s bottom four, and Smith knows that despite the Dragons having just one win from their last eight games, McNamara will have them ready for Saturday afternoon.

“Whether a coach coming in changes everything you do in one week – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – is down to their form,” Smith said.

“But we’re preparing as though they’re going to play their very best rugby league, and we’ve just got to play better.”

Smith knows McNamara well; prior to being elevated to England coach in 2010, McNamara was Smith’s assistant with the national side – but the Wolves coach is solely focussed on ensuring his reign as Catalans coach starts with a defeat on Saturday.

He said: “He’s a good friend of mine, a good coach and I’m pleased for him. I’m sure he’ll do a good job there.

“We’ve coached with and against each before. We have a healthy respect for each other but it is my job to get my team over the top of his this week. That’s what we’ll be focused on.”