Bennett primes Dragons for fast start - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bennett primes Dragons for fast start

By Steve Jancetic 18/02/2009 07:23:00 PM Comments (0)

Desperate to end St George Illawarra's annual early season struggles, new coach Wayne Bennett has had the Dragons do everything at full tilt since his arrival at the club.

Everything.

Every training session, every game, every team meeting is being tackled at full pace.

Even the recruitment process was completed with speed, with all the new signings confirmed well before Bennett's first trip south as Dragons coach.

And the early results have been encouraging, with the Dragons thrashing the Sydney Roosters 54-6 in Perth last weekend.

"Wayne was really into us about starting really well (against the Roosters) and we did that," prop Justin Poore said.

"Full credit to the boys, we stuck it to them and didn't let them have a bite."

Since becoming a merged entity in 1999, the Dragons have performed horribly over the opening month and a half of the season.

The record in their first six games of the past four seasons makes particularly horrible reading - 24 games for just five wins.

Which is why Bennett has the Dragons going all out from the get go.

While a fast start will no doubt boost the Dragons' finals chances, Bennett also knows that early success will relieve some of the pressure on him to deliver immediate success.

"Wayne's probably seen how we started our last few seasons and he's trying to fix that up now," Poore said of the high intensity pre-season.

"Seeing how we started on the weekend, maybe it's having some effect."

Another focus during the pre-season has been fitness, with Poore likening some of the training sessions to torture tests.

One that has yet to slip from memory is the three-day boot camp the players were put through last December on the NSW south coast.

"It was one of the hardest things I've ever done - it was ridiculous," said Poore, who missed the end of the 2008 campaign with a knee injury.

"We did some stuff I never thought I could do."

Home fans will get their first taste of the Bennett era when the Dragons host the Bulldogs in Wollongong on Saturday night.

Bennett has retained the same squad which demolished the Roosters with only new buy Neville Costigan added after serving a suspension last weekend.

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