Catalans Dragons Head Coach Steve McNamara suggested that his side’s shortened pre-season almost cost them the game against Hull Kingston Rovers.
The Dragons led 28-4 with 55 minutes played before 24 unanswered points from Hull KR took the match into extra-time. James Maloney’s drop-goal then sealed the win for the French side.
Though annoyed by the circumstances, McNamara took positives and was pleased that his team edged home.
He said, “Our pre-season has not been ideal. We have only stood alongside each other for four weeks.
“You get that trust from standing alongside of each other, week in week out in practicing, going through some certain things.
“We have had a short period of time to do that. I do not think that was the reason, it is a factor, but we certainly looked like a team that has been together a long time in that first 55 minutes.
“It was the discipline that allowed Hull KR back into the game.
“The wind picked up, it was strong. Jordan Abdull was kicking his goals and it was getting close.
“To drop down to 12 men with 15 minutes to go, then to win golden point, was actually really good for us to bounce back from the floor and to get the win.”
McNamara was also impressed by the impact his youthful French contingent showed in the game.
He added, “It was a decision we made, to give these players opportunities and they worked extremely hard.
“Alrix Da Costa, an 80 minute hooker today, was fantastic. Mathieu Laguerre picked the man of the match up, he did not know he was playing until Thursday.
“We had some doubts over Samisoni Langi and so we had Laguerre train on both edges and he has gone in there and played extremely well.
“There are others too. Arthur Mourgue with his cameo role at the end but his line break gave us the field position we needed to get the drop-goal.
“I am really happy with the contribution of everybody. To get the experience for those young boys, in a game like that, will stay with them for a long time.”