Potter asks Catalans for positive response

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The Independent Online

The Catalan Dragons coach, Mick Potter, is hoping his players do not suffer a Challenge Cup hangover when they return to Super League action against Wakefield in Perpignan today.

The Dragons returned to a heroes' reception in the south of France, but Potter admits his players were still hurting from their 30-8 defeat by St Helens at Wembley.

"The town has been fantastic and put on a couple of receptions for us," he said. "The players were pleasantly surprised by the reaction. No one likes to lose and our blokes were a little bit down on themselves. They had a couple of days off to recover and they'll be looking to bounce back tomorrow.

"We were proud to reach the cup final but we feel there is a bit of unfinished business. The guys are still trying to prove they can cut it against the English clubs and I hope they react positively. You think you've got a handle on it but you won't know for sure until the match."

The Dragons are immune from relegation, but a win at the Gilbert Brutus Stadium would mathematically ensure they rid themselves of the wooden spoon they collected from their inaugural Super League campaign.

Wakefield, who beat the Dragons 18-12 at Belle Vue in May, have even more incentive to collect the points as they look to maintain play-off hopes. The Wildcats are boosted by the return from injury of Sam Obst, Duncan Macgillivray, Kevin Henderson and Danny Sculthorpe, but Olivier Elima is out with a broken arm. "We've had a good two weeks' preparation because it's allowed us to get some injured players back," said their coach, John Kear. "It's allowed the players to rest and recuperate and they look really sharp this week so we'll be going there with a great deal of confidence."

The Dragons prop Mathieu Griffi, who missed out on a place at Wembley last weekend, returns to the side in place of Jérôme Guisset to press his claims for a new contract.

In National League One, the Castleford coach, Terry Matterson, is hoping to get one over his old London Broncos team-mate and Leigh coach, Darren Shaw, when the sides meet on Sunday. "Nobody's underestimating Leigh," he said. "We had a comfortable win in the Northern Rail Cup against them at the start of the year, but over at Hilton Park they ran us very, very close and it could have gone either way."