Nightingale to return for NRL Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Nightingale to return for NRL Dragons

By Steve Jancetic 09/09/2008 06:29:15 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra fullback Jason Nightingale believes the Dragons' do-or-die finals predicament could end up being a positive for the NRL club.

Having gone into the final week of the regular season in the running for a home final, the Dragons find themselves heading into Saturday night's encounter with Manly knowing it's all or nothing.

A win and they march on to week two of the finals, a loss and it's bon voyage the Dragons along with departing skipper Mark Gasnier, veteran prop Jason Ryles and coach Nathan Brown.

"I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to know that if you lose you're gone," said Nightingale, who was named to return at fullback after missing last week's loss to the Sydney Roosters with a quad injury.

"There's no excuses for going into the game thinking any differently, looking for other results to go your way or something.

"You have to win."

The return of Nightingale was the only change to the side which went down to the Roosters, with Brett Morris missing out on the squad altogether.

"I was always pretty confident Browny would put me back in, if not at fullback then on the wing," Nightingale said.

"I'd played all but that game (against the Roosters) so far this year, I was pretty confident even if the boys had had a win of slotting back in there somewhere."

Veteran hooker Simon Woolford was named on an extended eight-man bench, along with five-eighth Jamie Soward who had been tipped to come back into the side at the expense of Ben Rogers.

Rogers struggled to get the Dragons backline going against the tri-colours, though his efforts weren't helped by torrid conditions at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Soward starred when the Dragons beat the Sea Eagles 20-18 at Brookvale Oval in round 11 this year.

Nightingale said "Fortress Brookie" held no fear for the joint venture club which has won six of their last eight matches at the venue.

And while the match looms as possibly the last hurrah for Gasnier, Ryles and Brown, Nightingale said there had been little talk of sending the trio out as winners.

"It hasn't really been mentioned but there's no doubt it's in the back of players minds," Nightingale said.

"You don't really need that much motivation to get up for a finals series, the dream of winning the premiership should be more than enough motivation."

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