Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara has warned reigning Betfred Super League champions St Helens to expect a ‘dangerous animal’ when the two teams meet in the Grand Final on Saturday (Catalans 11/4, Tie 22/1, St Helens 2/5 – Match Betting).

Saints go into the season-ending Manchester showpiece on the back of consecutive victories in the event in 2019 and 2020, but the former Hull FC and Bradford Bulls second-row has warned against writing off the Perpignan outfit.

Catalans were felled at the playoff semi-final stage last term by this weekend’s opponents, in a 48-2 drubbing, but a 28-10 victory over Hull KR on September 30th saw them finally bridge the gap and reach their first-ever season finale.

“The pressure was last week, the scenes were like a Galatasaray match in Istanbul,” McNamara told press, in the wake of the home win at Stade Gilbert Brutus. “We wanted to get ‘here’.

“Now we are here, we feel free and I’ve sensed that all week. I’ve sensed it before with this group and when we’re like that we’re a dangerous animal.”

Saturday evening’s Old Trafford encounter pits Betfred Super League’s most potent attack – courtesy of the French side – against St Helens’ meanest defence (Either Team To Win By 1-10 Points – 8/13).

McNamara’s side made rugby league history in 2018, becoming the first non-British team to lift the Challenge Cup with a Wembley victory over Warrington.

Triumph at Old Trafford on Saturday would see them join an exclusive four-strong club of Betfred Super League champions, comprising Saints, Leeds, Bradford and Wigan.

And with around 1,000 local fans expected to make the journey from the south of France to Manchester, McNamara was effusive in his praise of the Dragons’ faithful.

He added: “The effort and expense some of these people have made to come across here to fulfil a lifelong dream, to some extent. Proud is the exact word that we will be of them this week.”

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