Written by John Davidson
Catalans halfback Josh Drinkwater admits it was “strange” playing St Helens behind closed doors with no crowd at the restart of Super League.
The season resumed on Sunday after the Covid-caused pause at a silent Headingley as Saints romped to a convincing 34-6 victory.
The defending champions were in fine form and race to a 16-0 first half lead. It was the first match either side had played in nearly five months and the first with the new ‘Six to Go’ rule.
“We started OK and then they got momentum and we couldn’t stop them,” Drinkwater told Everything Rugby League.
“It was a strange atmosphere especially walking out and it just being silent. And with the new rules it makes it a lot faster.
“It wasn’t too good from us… it definitely wasn’t the start back to the season we wanted or planned. But I also thought Saints were very good and blew us off the park.”
It was only the second defeat Catalans have suffered this year.
The French club will be looking to make amends on Saturday against Castleford.
“We had a pretty tough review of the game so hopefully we make the adjustments we spoke about and come out Saturday,” Drinkwater said.
The former Hull KR and Leigh playmaker doesn’t believe that his side having played a game under the new rules, unlike the Tigers, will give them an advantage.
“Every team would have done a lot of 13 on 13 with the new rules so I don’t think there’s an advantage for anyone,” he said.
“The thing for us is we sat through a video session, which was tough to watch, and I know we won’t want to be back in the same situation Monday.”
Suivre le match des Dragons face à Castleford.
— Dragons Catalans (@DragonsOfficiel) August 7, 2020
The Super League opener was largely overshadowed before kick-off when Israel Folau declined to kneel in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The rest of the Catalans and St Helens players all kneeled on Saturday.
Drinkwater declined to comment on Folau, but said if players’ profile can help create change on the issue then that is a good thing.
“Personally I took a knee and will continue to kneel,” the Australian said.
“I’m all for equality and racism is something that has to change and if us players with a little bit of a profile can build awareness around it then it’s only a positive.”