Catalans Dragons comfortable with English match officials in Grand Final despite owner’s previous comments

Aaron Bower
Steve McNamara and Bernard Guasch Catalans Dragons Alamy

Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara (right) with owner Bernard Guasch (left)

Catalans coach Steve McNamara insists he and owner Bernard Guasch are comfortable with the prospect of English officials taking charge of Saturday’s Super League Grand Final, following controversial comments made by Guasch two years ago.

The Dragons return to Old Trafford for only the second time in their history, two years on from their maiden Grand Final appearance when they were narrowly beaten by St Helens in a nail-biting contest.

Guasch made headlines after that game, when he told French media: “As long as I’m president of the Catalans Dragons, I’ll never play a Super League final again until we have three Australian referees.

“I’m furious, at some point I say stop? I wanted to react like an English gentleman because I have a lot of respect for this competition.

“I am proud to have lived these three extraordinary days at Old Trafford as the English know how to organise them. But I saw the match again and I tell myself that I cannot let this go by without reacting and making a decision.”

‘People in power say some things in the heat of the moment, don’t they? He’s happy, he’s fine’

Guasch will not get his wish this weekend when the Dragons face Wigan Warriors at Old Trafford, though. The officiating team will be all-English as the competition’s top two sides do battle to be crowned champions in 2023.

But McNamara stressed that Guasch is content with that scenario, as is everyone at the Dragons.

When asked by Love Rugby League if he expected Australian referees to be flown in for the final, McNamara laughed: “No, without a doubt.

“Bernard is a passionate man and he was very happy to get to a Grand Final at the time. He says what he thinks, and I remember being at Bradford when Peter Hood asked for the two points back after we lost to Leeds.

“People in power say some things in the heat of the moment, don’t they? He’s happy, he’s fine. He’s gone to Spain hunting and he’ll be in England for the final.”

READ NEXT: Sam Tomkins pays classy tribute to James Roby: ‘Most consistent player over the last 15 years’