14th September 2017, 11:05 | catalans

McNamara: Catalans control their fate

McNamara: Catalans control their fate

Catalans Dragons are ready to scrap their way to survival in Betfred Super League, says coach Steve McNamara.

The French club were favourites to be heading for the Million Pound shoot-out after losing at home to Leigh a month ago but their prospects look much brighter after results in the fifth round of the Super 8s Qualifiers went their way.

Relegation rivals Leigh Centurions and Widnes Vikings both suffered crucial away defeats before the Dragons beat Featherstone Rovers to put their destiny back in their own hands.

Victory over already promoted Hull KR at KCOM Craven Park on Friday night would set up a potential eliminator against Widnes in Perpignan next Saturday.

The Catalans could be aided by Rovers' decision to rest players following their energy-sapping win against Widnes but Hull-born McNamara is not counting on any favours.

"We can't control how the opposition turn up and play," he said. "What I'm happy about is we got the win last week and a couple of results went the right way for us and it's put us in the driving seat.

"The aim is to maintain Super League status. Ideally you'd want to do that without the jeopardy of the Million Pound Game but, if we have to go into that, so be it.

"The really good thing for us now is it's in our own hands, we're in control of it. We win our two games and we're in Super League next year, we're not relying on anybody else now. That's really important for us.

"Hull KR have been a very tough side to beat for every team and I'm sure it will be the same on Friday night. They've had some tight scraps themselves but they've found a way to nick those games and it's credit to them.

"I don't think any of the games in the Qualifiers have been great spectacles but they've certainly had a lot of high drama in them. There's a lot of tension, there's a lot of anxiety and pressure on everybody and it's about scrapping and fighting your way to wins whichever way you can."

Former Hull KR centre Iain Thornley is set to face his old team-mates while McNamara has received a boost with the return of former Leeds Rhinos hooker Paul Aiton from a two-match injury absence.

"He's probably our most consistent performer in my time at the club," McNamara said. "Hopefully he'll be back fresh and ready to go."

In Friday's other Qualifiers fixture, Leigh face a must-win game with Halifax at the Sports Village, while in the Betfred Super League Super 8s, play-off seeking St Helens cannot afford to slip up at home to Huddersfield Giants and Salford Red Devils aim to keep their slender semi-final hopes alive at Leeds.

Saints grabbed a lifeline with their last-gasp win at Wakefield Trinity but they still need results elsewhere to go in their favour.

Coach Justin Holbrook said: "The Wakefield game is something for us to build on and, if we keep winning, we put ourselves in a good place. We need to string wins together and see what happens."