Steve McNamara brands Catalans Dragons ‘disjoined’ and ‘not in sync’ despite Leeds Rhinos win

CATALANS coach Steve McNamara will use this weekend’s break for the Challenge Cup semi-finals to put back together his “disjointed Dragons”.

Despite a 26-0 victory over Leeds in Perpignan on Saturday night, which saw Les Dracs return to joint-top of the Super League table, McNamara feels there is much improvement yet to come from his “disconnected” team.

He said after the Leeds win: “I’m really happy, we scored a couple of tries at the end there and at 26-0 the scoreline looks good but we’re in the dressing rooms there and there’s an element of frustration at the amount of improvement that we know we have in us and that’s a great sign.

“Looking at our recent performances we’ve shown that we are a really tough team, we turn up to play every week but there are parts of our game that need looking at and redefining.

“We need to get into synchronisation in those areas. While I’m happy with a win like that, it’s good that the players aren’t too carried away by it. They realise there is still a lot of work to do.

“We’ve got a natural break now, a week off, and we’ll use that time wisely, come back fresh with lots of players who have been missing for us. We’ve put ourselves in a decent position in the competition at this stage of the year without playing to our full potential.”

McNamara is looking for more consistency following three jarring defeats against Huddersfield, Wigan and Leigh, adding: “We’ve shown glimpses in certain games but we haven’t been playing consistently at our very best. We showed against Hull KR and St Helens that when we are at our best we are very good, but we’re just off the pace a bit sometimes.

“We’re not in sync with each other and look a bit disjointed but we’re eleven games into the season and sitting joint top of the competition. With a new team and the injuries we’ve sustained and everything else that’s been thrown at us, we’re okay.

“We were a little bit tight and tense on the back of a couple of losses but we restricted the opposition to nil, so half of our game is good and the other half we need to work on.

“We’ve been disappointed with our attack in the past two weeks, as well as conceding points, we’ve had a tough period with lots of fatigue and I’m really proud of the players.

“We don’t always get it right and there are always things to improve on and we can get much better than we were tonight.”

McNamara is hoping for a return to fitness for a string of senior players over the cup break but revealed injury concerns over stand-off Jayden Nikorima following the Leeds game.

He said, “Jayden is probably our biggest concern from tonight, he’s got a couple of leg injuries and we’ll need a good look at him but we’ve got some players ready to return.

“Mike McMeeken looked like he was injured, he got a bang on his hand but he managed to carry on. We’ve got time now to take a good look at them and put the team back together.”

First published in League Express newspaper, Issue 3,430 (May 13, 2024)

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