14th February 2018, 13:11 | catalans

McNamara confident Dragons will come good

McNamara confident Dragons will come good

Steve McNamara insists the Catalans Dragons will be "a good side" this year as they bid to open their Betfred Super League account at the third attempt.

The former England head coach says there is no panic ahead of the visit to promoted Hull KR on Thursday and that it could be several weeks before the French club finally overcome the disruption caused by the World Cup.

"It's a long season," McNamara said. "Of course you want to win games early to put yourselves in a good position.

"But we understand where we're at. No other team was affected more than us by the World Cup, we've 15 players who haven't had a pre-season.

"We'll be a good team, we'll improve a lot as the season unfolds."

McNamara detected a marked improvement on his side's opening-round defeat at Widnes Vikings when they pushed St Helens all the way before going down 21-12 in Perpignan last Saturday.

Hull KR are also looking for their first win of the season but McNamara was impressed by their performance at Leeds Rhinos last Thursday and expects them to become a force this year, particularly as the influence of Danny McGuire begins to take full effect.

"They will be similar to us, very disappointed with round one but encouraged by round two," McNamara added.

"Danny McGuire has been there and done it. He knows his way around a rugby league field and he's a big influence on Hull KR straight away.

"I'm sure that's going to grow as they become more accustomed to each other."

Hull KR are expected to give a debut to veteran back-row forward Danny Tickle in place of James Greenwood, who is ruled out with a head knock, while Liam Salter is set to replace Andrew Heffernan, who is also sidelined with concussion.

The Catalans are without forwards Sam Moa and Benjamin Jullien through suspension and have lost hooker Michael McIlorum to injury, although Paul Aiton is poised to take his place after sitting out the first two games.

McNamara can also call on experienced scrum-half Luke Walsh, who sat out the game against St Helens with a back injury.