CATALANS DRAGONS are breathing fire as they head into Friday night’s top-three shootout with Wigan Warriors and St Helens.
The League Leaders’ Shield looks likely to be going to Wigan, although Dragons’ coach Steve McNamara insists that anything can still happen in the climax to one of the most intriguing and unpredictable Super League seasons in history.
He told League Express: “It’s not clear what will happen on Friday; I’m not sure whether everything is in our own hands. There were two really big scores this weekend and it can happen again.
“Nothing is certain at this stage; all we can do is go to Salford and try to win the game to give us the best chance of success in the play-offs.”
The Dragons were ruthless and clinical against an under-strength Leeds Rhinos side in Perpignan on Saturday night, inflicting a record 61-0 Super League deficit on the visitors.
McNamara is keen to play down the one-sided romp, although both Wigan and St Helens will have raised their eyebrows at the scoreline as points difference will be key to who finishes where on the podium in the final regular round of the competition.
He said: “We had a dip a couple of weeks ago (defeats to Wigan and Hull KR) but we didn’t get too carried away with it, like tonight we won’t either. The opposition aren’t in great shape and we took advantage of that and it was good for us to find our rhythm.
“The players bounced into the game tonight with a sheer will to win but they respected the opposition today and we will be going into the play-offs in a bit of form, which is really important.
“Salford need to win and we’ve had some really tough battles there so we’re in for a hard game.”
McNamara reported no major injury concerns from the Leeds clash and will welcome back fullback Arthur Mourgue as he prepares for Salford, giving him a welcome selection headache following impressive performances by Tyrone May and Sam Tomkins against Leeds.
“Sam Tomkins and Mitchell Pearce have both got the bit between their teeth, they are hugely driven to finish the season and their careers successfully. As a coach it’s great to have those kind of players in your team.”
McNamara singled out French international prop Julian Bousquet for his dominant performance against Leeds, adding: ”Julian clocked his 250th game for the club a couple of weeks ago and he is essential for the development of the Dragons.
“From the day I walked in, he and Ben Garcia in particular among the French players have had such a huge influence on the team.
“I’ve seen them both grow and Julian was enormous for us tonight, as was Ben as usual.”