Catalans Dragons coach confirms trio of fresh injury blows in St Helens defeat

Ben Olawumi
Steve McNamara

Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara

Catalans Dragons boss Steve McNamara has confirmed three fresh injury blows were picked up during their defeat at St Helens on Friday night, delivering a comprehensive update on their full absentee list.

The Dragons were forced to make four changes to their 21 for their trip to the Totally Wicked Stadium following a bruising encounter with Warrington Wolves over in Perpignan last weekend, losing out 16-8 on home soil.

With injuries aplenty even before that clash with Warrington, Catalans, just like Round 13 opponents Saints, were heavily depleted, particularly in the forward pack.

And after a 24-12 defeat against Paul Wellens’ side, the visitors have been left counting the cost of three fresh blows.

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Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara confirms trio of fresh injury blows in St Helens defeat

Head coach McNamara confirmed the same in his post-match press conference on Friday night, with captain Ben Garcia amongst the trio having limped off late on.

McNamara said: “He (Garcia) has got a calf injury, Tariq Sims has got a wrist injury and Matt Ikuvalu, we’re not sure whether he’s picked up an injury as well with the last carry of the game.

“Tariq played tonight, and in an ideal world, he wouldn’t have done.

“(Micky McIlorum) has an MCL injury, and he’s been out quite a few weeks with that already, but he’s progressing well.

“Obviously Alrix Da Costa had a concussion (sustained against Warrington), and we’re hopeful that he’ll be back for the next game (against Leigh Leopards on June 15).”

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Dragons down to the bare bones, admits McNamara

The sides headed in level at 6-6 come the break on Friday night, with Konrad Hurrell’s try cancelling out Tom Johnstone’s early opener for the visitors.

Saints though scored 18 unanswered second half points to attain an unassailable lead before Julian Bousquet crossed for Catalans late on, seeing it finish up 24-12 in favour of the hosts.

As a flavour of how low on numbers they are, McNamara’s matchday squad included Loan Castano, a young Frenchman who had only featured once for the Dragons prior, with that sole appearance coming back in September 2022.

Detailing the same, the Catalans chief said: “We were literally down to that (17), and maybe had one or two back home that we could have put in.

“(18th man) Fouad Yaha’s obviously available, but he’s an out and out winger, and it’s difficult to put an out and out winger on the bench.

“Franck Maria was a part-time player until January this year, and he’s come in and done a tremendous job for us. Loan Castano… it’s his first game of the season.

“I know Saints were down some numbers, but we were as well. You put a combined team together of the players that were missing tonight, and you’d get a pretty strong team!”

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