Steve McNamara defended his Catalans Dragons players’ physical approach after his side gained a vital 24-0 victory in a hard-fought contest at Championship side Halifax.
The Dragons are scrapping for their Super League lives, with now two wins and two defeats from their four games and lying fifth in the Betfred Super Eight Qualifiers’ table which decide the make-up of next season’s Super League and Kingston Press Championship.
After three players were sin-binned in a no holds barred encounter, former England coach McNamara, who took over the reins in Perpignan mid-season, admitted: “It certainly wasn’t pretty, particularly early on as we were very anxious.
“But to come away from home and against opposition that threw a lot at us and has thrown a lot at other opposition that they have played, and win 24-0 was a very good result for us. We were ready to play but there is a lot of things when you are in this situation that can dictate how you play and, with the anxiety and the pressure at the start, I felt we handled the situation well.”
Catalans were first to incur the referee’s wrath when Australian forward Greg Bird was shown a yellow card and given 10 minutes in the dug-out for a dangerous tackle.
McNamara continued: “I felt the sin-binning of Greg Bird actually brought the team together and we defended really well during that period and scored some tries while we were down to 12 men – it was a really important period of the game.”
Louis Andersen and Leeds Rhinos-bound Richie Myler touched down while Bird was off the field to give the Dragons a 12-0 half-time lead.
Brayden Wiliame and Fouad Yaha added further tries in the second half, either side of Catalans’ Vincent Duport and Halifax’s Ben Johnson also getting yellow cards, with Luke Walsh adding all four conversions.
In the Championship Shield, local bragging rights went the way of Batley Bulldogs, who out-gunned neighbours Dewsbury Rams 38-0 at Mount Pleasant.
Winger Wayne Reittie led the way with four tries, Dane Manning bagged a brace and Alex Rowe also touched down. Pat Walker kicked five conversions.
And in the League One Shield, Hunslet burned South Wales Ironmen 64-0.