Steve McNamara criticises ‘disrespectful’ Huddersfield following alleged comments

Steve McNamara

Catalans coach Steve McNamara accused Huddersfield of disrespecting his club by claiming French teams “bring nothing to the game”.

McNamara, speaking after his side gained a last-minute 13-12 victory over the Giants in Perpignan, was angered by comments allegedly made by Huddersfield in talks with IMG.

“It was a real gritty performance against a team that I think don’t give us any respect at all,” said McNamara.

“There is talk this week of Huddersfield saying French teams give nothing to the game in talks with IMG and that French teams should not be in the Super League competition, which is an absolute disgrace.

“What the Catalans have brought to this competition in 16, 17 seasons is on a par with what some of those clubs have brought in 100 years.

“It’s a terrible attitude towards our game and one aspect of the disrespect their club has shown us over a number of times recently, their opinion and attitude towards expansion and French teams in the competition.

“I just think the disrespect shown to us, by Huddersfield in particular, is not what the game needs.

“People talk about the game being together but it’s bulls**t, it’s about every man for himself.

“I hope IMG get hold of this and look at it from a really broad perspective and do what is right for this game so that we aren’t an M62 corridor game in a 100 years’ time or that there isn’t a game, and don’t listen to small-minded people that have their own self interest at heart.”

Thewlis responds to Steve McNamara comments

Huddersfield managing director Richard Thewlis told PA: “I have no idea how the Catalan coach would know what I have said to IMG, given I only met them for the first time last week in a group Super League meeting.

“How their Catalans representative interpreted the feelings of the confidential meeting is his prerogative but I would suggest it is better these discussions remain private and we allow all to give their views honestly and we allow IMG to formulate their recommendations having taken soundings from all stakeholders which I am sure they will.”

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30 Comments

  1. I must disagree with the comments made by Richard Thewlis if these are true. Catalan Dragons have been a breath of fresh air to Rugby League. I have
    travelled to France on all but 2 occasions since they were admitted, They are a great club who look after all travelling fans. They draw bigger crowds than both Wakefield and Huddersfield. I agree the travelling support is minimal but but both Huddersfield and
    Wakefield bring no more than 1 coach to away games. It is also good to see young French
    players in both teams. It is good for the International game. Get your own house in order before you criticise others,

  2. How sad that giants have such a limited perspective. French Clubs give someone like me in London an interest in RL an contribute to dispelling the notion of League being just a s Northern port .To further RL the International game is key and a strong French presence and team is crucial . The game in French is weak and two teams in super league can only strenthen it. Look at Giants failure to push up their poor attendance

  3. Huddersfield offer the game so much! 100 + years and they can only pull in 4,000 crowds despite the cheapest season tickets in the league. This sport will die if people don’t realise we need a mixture of heartland and expansion clubs to increase the TV eyeballs and player pool. Catalans already hold the attendance record for Super League over 31,000 in their short time in Super League

  4. What exactly do the French bring , loads of fans from all clubs believe the same , magic proved that we saw more , fev , leigh & Newcastle fans there than catalans & toulouse , well done Huddersfield for saying that , just a shame RFL & All other clubs are scared of McNamara & his cronies…

    • Wow for a man brought up in a Rugby World like him Hull idedpaire on his attitude now .Obviously gets well paid at Catalans .What a turncoat to grass roots and his ex local comunity.

    • Yes ….and Huddersfield bring alot to the game dont they? Pathetic home support, and empty end of ground at Challenge Cup Final.

      • yes I think that the French club brings more to the super league international vision and a number of fans of 8000 per game or 30000 in barcelona for the catalan dragons as for toulouse give them time. now if some English club prefers a regional championship? take example on the rugby union which makes a world expansion

  5. Catalan have a good home fan base, if roles were reversed would Huddersfield fans travel to France every other week when they cant get there own backsides on seats in there own town! What do Hudds bring?

  6. Catalase bring flair organisation large home crowds and a great rugby playing team
    Staying your little bubble will kill Rugby League
    Play Magic weekend in Catalonia and see what the French bring

  7. yes I think that the French club brings more to the super league international vision and a number of fans of 8000 per game or 30000 in barcelona for the catalan dragons as for toulouse give them time. now if some English club prefers a regional championship? take example on the rugby union which makes a world expansion

  8. I think Huddersfield are probably the most soulless club in super league.
    Bring zero fans or passion.
    Disgrace to say the sport was started in that town

  9. Huddersfield support his rubbish hardly any fans turn up challenge cup final was very poorly supported by them.

  10. What the game needs a 16 team super league to avoid the split (31 game season then instead of current 29), so an extra 2 weeks longer. Squad benches then need increasing from 4 to 6 and the amount of rolling substitutes from 12 to 15. This will help prevent injured players having to play full games due to lack of cover on the bench or a player having to play out of position then either get suspended or injured themselves. Also a 6 man bench through the community game would help keep teams together as alot of the time people leave a club early season is because they can’t get a game then the injuries start and the club’s go from having 21/22 pre season to soon having 13/14 available on match days. Alot of clubs end up suffering worse than this and have to fold and wrap up their season because they are unable to fulfill fixtures due to player availability. Increased bench size would help this slightly.

    Another issue with the game is the overzealous disciplinary going on at the minute. Too many professional players are getting banned for too long over frivolous incidents but then other players are getting away lightly with breaking the rules. (A player recently got a 1 match ban for a headbutt but retaliating player for a punch got 3, both are striking how is one less than the other?) Disciplinary needs to be consistent like other sports for the offence instead of a committee making it up as they go along.

    Lower divisions need restructuring, league one. Promotion should be available between NCL and League one and lower divisions should also match the top tier league structure but at this moment in time should be 14. Some teams in these lower leagues offer absolutely zero competitive nuances and there are better teams outside of the enclosed league one. Every year we are seeing armatuer clubs reaching further rounds in the challenge cup. It shows their is a strong case for promotion and relegation.

    Finally my last gripe I have with the game at this moment is TV accessibility. What the Channel 4 deal and Challenge cup game has shown is that more games need to be shown outside of sky. Maybe the club’s can manage their own club TV where you can pay a season pass to watch all your clubs game over the internet if not selected as a TV deal match. I would certainly subscribe to Batley as they hardly get on TV. The current structure isn’t fit for the digital age.

  11. Catalans are a far better advanced club than little Huddersfield, better supported too.
    Better coach didn’t they win a challenge cup recently?? At least their coach is honest and respected in the game for his knowledge and ability, unlike that excuse for a man at Huddersfield. Huddersfield are like most teams in the league just making up the numbers.

  12. I have no doubt that the French clubs do offer something different, and certainly exciting at times. But I do agree that the travelling can be an issue, particularly for any match not played on a weekend, and that cuts both ways in terms of away support. If there was some way that could be addressed it could only be to the benefit of all!

  13. Disappointing from Huddersfield. But all too typical of *some* of the RFL teams and supporters. They won’t be happy until the game is confined to former pit towns in the North with no TV coverage, no real traveling and no money.

  14. We don’t need or want French clubs within our rugby league circuit. Set up your own league and stay there. Let’s look after our own and give teams like Leigh and Featherstone preference.

  15. The attitude that a club that brings a couple of hundred away fans (c. £5k tops) has more strategic value than either Catalans or Toulouse would be laughable if it wasn’t so damaging and embedded in some that have power. If RL is to survive as a pro sport outside Australia it must break out of the M62 corridor, or will become as relevant as shinty, or some other parochial heavily regionalised sport. What do you think Sky want to offer – Fev v Leigh/Wak/Cas etc or Leeds v Toulouse?

  16. Huddersfield population 162,949 Average attendance 2019 5,226
    Perpignan population 119,344 Average attendance 2019 10,259

    (2019 is the last relevant year, until this one, due to the pandemic.)

    ENOUGH SAID!

  17. Rubbish it should grow the game from the M62 corridor ourwards instead of trying to force the growth. The French offer absolutely nothing. Another year of 10+% interest rates and they’ll be begging Leigh and Featherstone to play in SL. No one will be able to afford to go to France.

  18. I feel disgusted with what is coming out of Huddersfield. I live in Brum and have been to the John Smiths twice. No fans, no atmosphere and a boring team to boot. Where were they at Tottenham ? Better off in league one. Perpignan is a great place to visit. Good crowds, genuine fans and offer a great welcome for visitors. Toulouse will be the same, give them time.
    Vive la France
    Well done Sam for the drop goal !!!

  19. Both French clubs bring added quality to the game, like bringing in players from the Southern Hemisphere, they help to move Rugby League further away from its ‘flat cap’ image. When visiting French grounds clubs can get fresh ideas as to how sports stadiums can be run to earn more profit from the pre-match activities provided and the merchandising of their club. Superleague fans at present only have to travel to France a couple of times a year to see their club in action over there. Surely, this is an adventure in itself? It would be an even greater adventure if say every second year the magic weekend was held in France. I believe that it would be good for rugby league if Toulouse were to stay up this year and consolidate their position. Clubs like these coming up from the Championship appear to be setup to fail. So one has to ask cynically whether this is simply in order for the status quo to be retained?

  20. I can see both sides of this. There is undoubtedly value added by having a more cosmopolitan competition, as long as the expansion is strong and sustainable, as it appears to be in Catalan and Toulouse.
    However, I think the biggest gripe from most is that all the other clubs take more paying fans to France than either club bring over here. Therefore, we are subsidising, to a degree the French while they give little back to our clubs.
    I know that for us it is a once or twice a season adventure, while for the French fans it is every other week. But the fact remains that our club coffers are not reciprocally added to.
    It has been a problem from the outset and I don’t know what the answer is. But you can see how some could be disgruntled at the inequality of this issue.
    It is wrong to say they don’t bring anything to the game but it’s an issue that needs looking at to level the playing field somewhat.

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