Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara insists there is still a place for the big men in Super League as he prepares to unleash man-mountain Sam Kasiano on Leeds, live on Sky Sports.
The lowering of the number of interchanges in 2019 from 10 to eight was expected to play into the hands of the leaner, fitter forwards capable of playing long minutes and reduce the effectiveness of the heavyweight props.
At 6ft 5in and 19st 10lb, Kasiano will be arguably the biggest player in Super League when he makes his debut for the Dragons against the Rhinos in Perpignan on Saturday and McNamara is excited by that prospect.
“I think Sam is going to be a great addition,” the former England coach said.
“He’s played under the eight interchange rule in the NRL for the past few seasons it’s been in place, it’s not a concern or an issue for me.
“There’s still room for the big men in the game without doubt. We’ve seen that in the Super League competition so far with David Fifita, Pauli Pauli, Alex Walmsley, big men who have an impact on the game.”
Training session done ✅
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The Catalans moved quickly to snap up Kasiano on a three-year contract when Melbourne opted to release the 28-year-old Samoa international in order to ease their salary-cap difficulties.
“We deliberately left our last overseas spot open at the start of the season to see what happens in the NRL and quite early in the piece Sam became available,” said McNamara.
“We won the Challenge Cup last season, which was a great achievement, but to achieve the ultimate, which is to try and compete in Grand Finals, we have to keep building our club and this is a top-end addition.
“He’s a big physical man, there’s no hiding from that fact, but his skill-set is as good as anybody’s.
“He’s an absolute game-changer in the position that he plays. He can do things that other players simply cannot do.
“He can make a huge contribution to this club and affect the overall Super League competition. This is a competition that will suit his style down to the ground.
“If you’ve got momentum in a game, he can continue that to a different level. If you’ve not got momentum in a game, he can come on and change the whole complex of the game.
“There are not many players in the world that can have an impact like that.”
Kasiano, who flew into France last Sunday, says he turned down an offer from St George Illawarra to try his luck in Super League.
“I’ve only watched one game and that was the Challenge Cup final,” he said.
“There’s a great squad here, capable of big things. The ultimate goal is to try to win the Super League and I want to be a part of that.”
Catalans Dragons vs Leeds Rhinos
March 23, 2019, 5:00pm
Saturday’s game will be the 300th in Catalans colours for captain Remi Casty, while Leeds scrum-half Richie Myler will make the 300th appearance of his career, which includes 50 for the Dragons.
Leeds Rhinos welcome back captain Kallum Watkins from a two-match absence with a bruised knee, but prop Adam Cuthbertson is out with an ankle injury.
Brad Dwyer, Cameron Smith and Brad Singleton are in contention for a recall and teenage prop Tom Holroyd keeps his place in the squad after making his first appearance of the season against London Broncos.
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