Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Photo by Sky Sports
The 2022 Betfred Super League season has officially begun with a rematch from last year’s closely contested Grand Final between the now three-time defending champions St Helens and the Catalans Dragons.
Unfortunately for the French club, this game was not as close as the Saints would win the game 28-8, with tries to Konrad Hurrell, Joey Lussick, Lewis Dodd, James Roby, Tommy Makinson twice and a single try for Catalans from Fouad Yaha.
St Helens dominant win was not the only thing getting Catalans fans down, as recruit Dylan Napa was shown a red card and subsequently sent off for a dangerous high tackle on Mark Percival with a little under ten minutes to go in the game.
Napa will likely receive a relatively lengthy stint on the sidelines for the offence, which will be a huge blow for the 2021 League Leaders.
Catalans head coach Steve McNamara gave his thoughts on the incident in a post-match interview with Sky Sports.
Nasty challenge tonight from Dylan Napa, barring this I think he had a fairly good game, all over the field. I’d say watch out for him this season but he’s probably about to get a lengthy ban 😮 pic.twitter.com/4YcaByGkRl
— Rugby League ITK✍🏻 (@RugbyLeagueITK) February 10, 2022
“I thought he put himself about a lot, his physical presence has obviously been called for (but) much too high there at the end of the game, and he’s paid the price for that,” McNamara said.
“He’ll learn a lot from it.
“I didn’t see it too closely, I thought initially he’d hit the ball and gone up a little bit, but I’ll have to look at it closely again.”
Former New South Wales State of Origin representative and NRL premiership-winning halfback Mitchell Pearce also made his Super League debut for Catalans in the game, and while he was not involved in any incidents, the 32-year-old did not have a great performance, which McNamara also addressed after the game.
“I thought he was quiet tonight,” stated McNamara
“I thought in the first 20 to 25 minutes, we were okay defensively, but our attack never really got going today.
“So, plenty for us and him to work on.”
Former Panther and 2021 NRL premiership winner Tyrone May made his debut for the Dragons also, coming off of the bench only to suffer an eye injury which reduced his game time.
It was certainly not the best start to the season for the Catalans Dragons and their recruits, with Napa to receive his punishment in the coming days.