Bennett makes his mark on Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bennett makes his mark on Dragons

By Melissa Woods 14/03/2009 04:23:37 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy says Wayne Bennett is already making his mark on the Dragons, who are a more disciplined and consistent side under his coaching.

Melbourne escaped with a 17-16 win over St George Illawarra in their opening round NRL clash at Olympic Park, Bennett's first in charge of the Dragons after 21 years at Brisbane.

The Dragons looked down and out with only minutes left on the clock, trailing by six points, but they clawed their way back to score a late try through Matt Cooper and send the match into golden point extra-time.

Greg Inglis, who muscled past the Dragons defence to open the tryscoring, kicked only his second NRL field goal to win the match.

Bellamy, who spent five years as an assistant coach at the Broncos, said that fightback was trademark Bennett and it would serve the Dragons well, who are searching for their first premiership in 30 years.

"That's one of Wayne's great loves for the teams that he coaches, is that he wants them to hang in there in tough periods of the game and you could see that out there.

"It's not to say the Dragons haven't done it in the past but I think they'll be a lot more consistent."

Storm skipper Cameron Smith agreed with his coach.

"They're a well-disciplined team this year," he said of the red and whites.

"They didn't throw too much at us but they just kept coming and that's a trait Wayne Bennett's taken to St George.

"You work for your mates and work hard, that's what brought success to the Broncos and that's a formula that works."

Bennett said he was impressed by the courage his new team showed, despite the opening loss.

"I think they're a very capable football team and they showed they can guts it out, which is very important in this competition," he said.

"The other parts, when we get more time and games together, I'm quite confident we will fix up but I can't give them a bit of ticker and spirit to stay in a tough game when it's not all going for you."

Both coaches predicted better performances ahead for their sides, with Bellamy pin-pointing his attack.

"I think we're still struggling with combinations with the new guys so we need to sort that out.

"But I was really happy with attitude in defence and if I've got that in a footy team they're always going to be competitive."

On the injury front Storm forward Dallas Johnson suffered a corked hip and centre Willie Isa a corked thigh, while Dragons prop Justin Poore injured his hand.

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