Dragons happy to cop wake up call - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons happy to cop wake up call

By Todd Balym 01/03/2009 12:56:28 PM Comments (0)

Halfback Mathew Head believes St George Illawarra's Charity Shield loss to South Sydney was the defeat that had to happen.

With hype in over-drive after two strong trial wins under new coach Wayne Bennett, Head says the 18-6 loss to the Rabbitohs on Saturday night will ensure the Dragons don't enter the NRL season with inflated egos.

"We probably needed the defeat to switch our heads back on," said Head.

"Not that we were getting away from ourselves, but it's always good to get beaten especially when it doesn't really mean anything."

If anything, the loss to the Bunnies will give the Dragons and their fans some perspective of where they really sit.

After all their 48-point hammering of the Sydney Roosters was against a half-strength side and last week's 24-12 win over the Bulldogs was against a totally rebuilt team playing for the first time.

South Sydney, rated no chance by NRL captains to reach the NRL finals, clearly out-played and out-muscled the Dragons in a contest littered with errors.

Of most concern for the Dragons is the fact they failed to create any tries in attack, Beau Scott's first half try the result of a kick charge down.

Halfback Head admits he and five-eighth Jamie Soward still have some work to do in attack, but after his first full pre-season in several years the 26-year-old is confident he can find career-best form in 2009.

"When you go into a season and haven't trained every single day it does catch up to you," he said.

"I've had a proper one now and I've got no excuses and am confident I have done the work.

"(Bennett) gave me a list of what I don't do good and what I do do good. I've just got to keep working on what I don't (do well)."

South Sydney coach Jason Taylor says his halves combination - Chris Sandow and John Sutton - remain a work in progress despite eye-catching efforts against the Dragons.

Sutton had a hand in each of the Bunnies' three tries, while Sandown smashed Head with a shuddering hit in defence and showed his cunning instincts with a sneaky 10m in-goal drop out that he regathered.

"I think we've still got a bit of work there. Not that I'm not pleased, I still think there's a lot of improvement in those two guys in their combination," said Taylor.

"It's not that I'm saying they're down. They're both talented guys. I think they can take it to another level, it will just take a bit of time."

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