Fitness no concern for rested Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fitness no concern for rested Dragons

By Darren Walton 20/09/2005 07:36:20 PM Comments (0)

As the pressure intensifies on St George Illawarra, senior Dragons players are confident a lack of fitness won't be a factor in Saturday night's preliminary final against Wests Tigers.

While the Tigers have not had a week off since their mid-July bye and are on a roll after two scintillating finals performances, the Dragons go into the sudden-death showdown at Aussie Stadium having played below their best in their only two matches over the past month.

Skipper Trent Barrett and experienced back-rower Lance Thompson admit the Dragons need to improve on the form shown in a six-point win over Cronulla in the qualifying final if they are to bring down the Tigers.

But both Barrett and Thompson deny the Dragons will be underdone, believing the break has been a blessing, allowing key forwards Ben Creagh (knee) and Jason Ryles (back and hamstring) valuable time to recover from injury.

"It's a mental thing. We've come through byes before and we've won," Barrett said.

"It's given our players a chance to freshen up, too. We had a couple of niggling injuries to key players who we really need to play and they're going to be fine so, in that regard, it's good.

"That's the card we've been dealt. We've just got to deal with it the best we can.

"Obviously, they (the Tigers) are going to have a lot of confidence. But we're just going to have to wait and see. It's going to be a great game."

Barrett and lock Shaun Timmins missed St George Illawarra's round 16 loss to the Tigers and Thompson said having last weekend off had ensured the Dragons would be at full strength for the eagerly-awaited rematch.

"The rest has been great," Thompson said.

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