Steve McNamara hails Catalans leaders as they sit top of Super League table

Catalans sit at the top of the Super League table
Steve McNamara paid tribute to the leaders in his team after Catalans Dragons enjoyed a 42-14 win over Salford at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Benjamin Jullien scored twice in the first half and James Maloney kicked seven goals as the Dragons impressively controlled the game almost from start to finish.

Catalans, who crossed for seven tries in total, have lost just twice in Super League this season but were forced to call off their previous game at Warrington a week ago at short notice due to Covid issues.

McNamara explained his side had faced a difficult week of preparation.

He said: “We have coped with all that really well. Our leaders really stepped up – the likes of Sam Tomkins, Josh Drinkwater, James Maloney and Micky Mcllorum.

“They know when they need to step forward and I sensed that in the preparation going into that game. We had just two sessions before the game having got clearance on Monday to train on Tuesday.

“I thought we had a real spring and a bounce. We played it really simple and pretty direct and I thought we caused a fair amount of problems for Salford.”

However, McNamara would not be drawn when asked if he felt his team were on course to finish top of the Betfred Super League.

“When it’s mathematically not possible to finish anywhere else, that’s when I’ll think about it,” he added. “Obviously we are in a good position, but the likes of Saints and Warrington are running into form. We have just got to keep ticking the games off.”

REPORT: Salford 14-42 Catalans: Dragons strengthen position at top of Super League

Salford coach Richard Marshall, who saw Morgan Escare, Dan Sarginson and Harvey Livett touch down for his side, was pleased with the way his players responded after becoming the first team to lose to Super League’s bottom club Leigh on Sunday.

He said: “I thought we responded really well to losing against Leigh. The ‘team first’ mentality was there even though the scoreboard suggests differently.

“I actually thought it was one of our better attacking displays of the season, but defensively we got broken down through the middle too easily. We made great inroads with the ball.

“I thought we looked sharp with the ball, had options and more shape, which is something we’d mentioned after the Leigh game.

“Catalans are a big physical team and they managed to get over the top of us. The scoreline suggests it was a bit of a toweling but it’s far from that.”

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