Steve McNamara critical of Dragons’ display despite ‘outstanding’ achievement

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Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara admitted winning the Super League Leaders’ Shield with a golden-point victory over St Helens was an “outstanding” achievement for the club but also acknowledged the French side were “second best” for long periods of the dramatic 31-30 win.

Saints were 30-12 up, only for late tries from Dean Whare, Gil Dudson and Sam Kasiano – as well as a hat-trick of conversions from James Maloney – to force extra time.

Maloney scored a drop-goal from 40 metres out late into the second half of extra time to snatch the Dragons victory and top spot in the Super League table for the first time in their 16-year history.

St Helens v Catalans Dragons – Dacia Magic Weekend – St James’ Park
Catalans Dragons’ players celebrate after James Maloney (third right) scored a drop goal to win the game (Richard Sellers/PA)

McNamara said: “I thought we started the game really well but I thought we were second best for a fair part of the game.

“It was a very dramatic finish, it’s outstanding for our club and winning League Leaders is a by-product and everything else that goes with that – the golden point and the way we nearly blew it, they nearly blew it and we managed to get it with an amazing drop goal.

“(But) you look at it in the cold light of day – it wasn’t good enough for us to be able to perform like that for those 80 minutes.”

Samisoni Langi was carried off the field on a stretcher following a challenge from Agnatius Paasi, and McNamara said: “He’s not great at all.

St Helens v Catalans Dragons – Dacia Magic Weekend – St James’ Park
Samisoni Langi is stretchered off after suffering an injury (Richard Sellers/PA)

“We’re a bit concerned. He’s gone to hospital now, we’re obviously due to fly back tonight so we’ve got some logistical problems, but we’ll make sure he’s got the best care and attention that he can and hopefully it won’t be too serious.”

St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf felt his team only had themselves to blame following the last-gasp defeat at Magic Weekend.

“My first thoughts are we’re very disappointed. We lost that game, that wasn’t taken from us from my point of view. We lost that game and we’ve only got ourselves to blame,” he said.

“It’s really disappointing. For somewhere between 60 and 70 minutes I thought we’d played as well as we have and we really had the game well in control.

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“Unfortunately we dropped our intensity, we stopped playing and when you do that and you leave it to chance you can get your pants pulled down.”

Woolf did believe his side performed “exceptionally” during the game before Catalans launched their comeback.

He said: “The biggest disappointment I think is that we played really good footie for 60 to 70 minutes, exceptional footie, and we defended exceptionally.

“Some of the attack that we threw up was exceptional and we created other opportunities that could have put us in an even stronger position if we had just nailed a couple of things at the end of it.

Kristian Woolf File Photo
Kristian Woolf felt his side only had themselves to blame for defeat (Richard Sellers/PA)

“You want to finish the game really strongly and positively and get the reward for all the good work you’ve done and we just didn’t do that.

“It was only a 10-minute period that we dropped our intensity and a 10-minute period was enough to hurt us.

“Once you’ve done that and you’ve made the decision that everything’s okay and you can drop off, it’s hard to turn that around.”

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