By STEVE MASCORD
HE called it an “amazing day” – and Remy Casty reckons there are plenty more players in France who can scale the heights of the NRL if more is done to encourage them.
The 29-year-old former Catalan prop will next week likely become only the fourth French-born player to turn out for a premiership club, after Penrith centre Jacques Moliner, Canberra prop Jerome Guisset and Cronulla winger Jason Batieri.
It will only take him a month to get the appearance record out of that select group; but after coming off the bench in the 36-14 win over Wigan at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night, Casty is already a world champion.
“It’s an amazing day for me … I can feel the fans, I can feel everything,” Casty tells RLW. “First game, first win and we are world champions. It’s pretty good for me to start like that.
“For me, it’s all different because I come from France. The language is different, I think the players are very professional. They look after themselves, you can see the difference with us in France.
“But it’s not luck because I worked hard to be here. I’m pretty proud to be in this team. All the guys were good with me when I came and I feel like it’s a family in this team.”
Considering rugby league kicked off in France in 1934 and the 1951 French tourists were among the most celebrated ever to visit this country, it’s remarkable that so few players from the league hotbed have made it into the premiership.
“I am proud about that, to be French and come to the NRL comp,” said Casty.
“I hope all the young French players can see that we can do that. If we work hard, we can play against the best.
“If you work hard and you believe in yourself, sure you can come here and train and play and play well for this comp. But you have to work very hard.
“In France, we have not so many teams. There is just one team that is professional and we have to work very, very hard to be in this team and after that you have to work very very hard to stay in it.
“It’s a big difference. In France, the main sport is soccer and after that, rugby union. We don’t have a professional competition.
“I hope now the young players in France want to improve and want to work hard. It’s good for rugby league in the world, the other teams will improve.
“If you take a French or Italian player and he comes here, he will improve very, very quick and very much.”
By STEVE MASCORD