Steve McNamara defends Catalans Dragons team selection after ten debutants in thrashing

Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara admitted he felt uncomfortable naming such an inexperienced side for Friday’s trip to Wigan, where his charges suffered a 48-4 loss.

McNamara, now gearing up for a home play-off eliminator against Leeds on Friday, left out most of his big-name players, with ten debutants on display.

Mike Parenti, Maxime Jobe, Tanguy Zenon, Bastien Scimone, Ugo Tison and Leo Laurent all started at the DW Stadium, while Hugo Salabio, Lucas Ribas, Leo Llong and Loan Castano came off the bench.

“I was really uncomfortable before the game,” said McNamara.

“It was a decision I had to make on the back of other decisions made regarding fixture planning.

“That is not to bash anyone, I understand why those decisions are made with it being a World Cup year and everything else.

“When you see the squad that we put out and some of the squads last Monday, you see the Hull KR situation this week (Rovers named just 16 players in their squad for the Hull derby), it has probably got to a breaking point now where things will have to change.

“Thankfully nothing was riding on us winning or losing this game. These players, as great as they have done and as proud as everyone is, they are simply not ready for that standard. So to produce the performance they did was incredible.”

McNamara paid tribute to his young side for getting on with the job in hand and not crumbling under the immense pressure Wigan put them under.

“These boys are French Elite One players and the season starts in October,” he added.

“They finished May/June time, they have been on holidays, some of them are just returning to pre-season. We got together the night before and came over.

“For them to produce that effort and not stop was good. I thought the scoreline was harsh. Harry Smith kept kicking all those goals and they just kept ticking over.

“There have been that many teams getting beaten by 60 points – even in the NRL – so for a team like ours to come together and play as well as they did for a large majority of that game is super.”

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