Newtown Rugby League Football Club - Established 1908
Rugby League in the south of France -
through the eyes of Jason Baitieri


[With many thanks to Guillaume Siret, a Grizzlies supporter, who put the questions to Jason for us.]

What's the difference between playing rugby league in France and Australia? In the way you train? On game day? In the refereeing?

Jason Baitieri - a Catalan Dragon

Jason looking resplendent in the strip of the Catalan Dragons

There isn't much difference in the training I have been doing here in France from what I did in Oz. Apart from it being a lot colder [!] playing-wise, it's just as physical and quick as back home too.

Tthe refereeing is different, with different rules and calls but otherwise very understandable.

General living is probably the biggest change with a different culture base and food as well as a different sense of humour - it is different but also refreshing.

Have you made friends with any of the supporters? Are the supporters close to the players as at the Jets and Roosters?

I've made friends with a few supporters who are very vocal at games and have a great passion for the club. The supporters are much the same as Jets and Roosters supporters, I think. They're very chatty and friendly.

How does the football itself compare? Attack? Defence? Types of plays?

The defence in Super League is a lot different to back home, giving the attacking team a bigger advantage over the defending team, which I guess is good if you're attacking but it's also a lot harder to slow down the ruck in defence.

The attack is a bit different with Super League. With big physical players, they don't mind the tight forwards getting metres but they also freely move the ball through the backs when they get the chance.

Who are the players in the team that you have struck up good combinations with?

I enjoy playing with players such as Remi Casty and Jamal Fakir who are two props who understand the game very well and play well in the middle.

Do you and Luke see each other very often? How is Lopini going? Are they learning French?

I haven't seen Luke in a few months but am planning to soon! Lopini is going great here, learning lots of French, and is a big crowd pleaser. As for myself, it's a lot easier for me because I am already fluent in French!