Bennett tries to cap Dragons excitement - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bennett tries to cap Dragons excitement

By John Marsh 15/02/2009 01:03:26 PM Comments (0)

New coach Wayne Bennett did his best to cap the excitement that followed St George Illawarra's stunning first game under him - a 48-point flogging of Sydney Roosters at Perth's Members Equity Stadium.

Bennett's messianic standing among Dragons fans grew further as the joint venture ran in 10 tries on the way to a 54-6 pasting of the tricolours on Saturday night in his first match wearing the red polo shirt after 21 productive years with Brisbane.

Fullback Brett Morris, winger Michael Lett, centre Chase Stanley and second rower Beau Scott all posted braces of tries as St George Illawarra appeared to adopt a new ruthless streak which punished every one of their opponents' clumsy gaffes.

Even rival Brad Fittler said respect for Bennett had been apparent in the crushing performance.

But Bennett, the 59-year-old former Australia and Queensland boss, was keen to put a lid on the excitement.

"It was nothing. It was just a trial. You've got to keep things in perspective," said Bennett.

"They could have kept the (Roosters) scoreboard to zero.

"I didn't read too much into any of that. We were playing a Roosters team without a lot of good players but on the other hand, the good thing was they (Dragons) did control the ball pretty well and they were pretty patient.

"They weren't panicking or thinking they had to score on every play."

Asked what he liked most about the display, Bennett deadpanned: "We got no injuries."

The portents were poor for Fittler's men when prop Frank-Paul Nuuausala knocked on from the kick-off and Lett scored following the ensuing scrum win.

Then the Roosters' restart sailed out on the full and New Zealand international Stanley got the first of his tries, with the Dragons safe at 30-6 by halftime.

"They played like St George sides play but there was no doubt, for a trial match in Perth, first up, they were really sharp," Fittler said of the victors.

"You can see the respect he gets and he got a really good performance out of them."

Roosters captain Braith Anasta said he took nothing away from his own trial at lock but Fittler was more upbeat about the benefits to his team as a whole.

"We got plenty. I don't think you could have a better exercise," he said.

"Getting beaten by 50, it knocks you back into place a little bit and shows you where everyone's at."

Players yet to return to the Roosters side include Willie Mason, Mark O'Meley, Setaimata Sa, Iosia Soliola, Craig Fitzgibbon, Lopini Paea and Anthony Minichiello while Ben Hornby and Neville Costigan were missing from the Dragons side.

"We've definitely improved our ball control," Dragons captain Hornby said.

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