Dragons are dour, says MacDougall - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons are dour, says MacDougall

By Steve Jancetic and Tom Wald 14/04/2009 07:05:47 PM Comments (0)

First Wendell Sailor, now the entire St George Illawarra squad - nobody's safe when Newcastle veteran Adam MacDougall wants to get something off his chest.

Fresh off questioning Sailor's fitness in a playful jibe ahead of Saturday night's clash between the two sides at WIN Jubilee Oval, MacDougall has now had a crack at the Dragons "conservative" style of play.

"There are a couple of teams playing really nice football at the moment," MacDougall told AAP.

"The Broncos are one of them while there are other teams playing more conservatively like the Dragons.

"They are still getting away with the two points every week, at the end of the day you get two points anyway you can.

"They are a massive team and they are physical right from No.1 through to No.17 and they really do have second rowers playing in the centres.

"They are not going to beat you with speed and footwork the Dragons they really run over you or bash the front door down."

A look at the statistics suggests MacDougall may have a point, with the Dragons averaging fewer errors (9.4 per game) than any other side in the competition, the Knights ranked equal 12th at 13.4 per game.

For the Dragons it's all about eating up the metres up the middle, something they've been very good at with their front row combination of Michael Weyman - who is suspended for Saturday's match - Justin Poore, Dan Hunt and Jarrod Saffy leading the joint venture club to a league-best 1431 metres per game.

That's more than 100 metres more than the next-best Rabbitohs, and nearly 200 metres a game better off than the Knights.

While the extra risk-taking might be leading to more errors for the Knights, they are scoring more than one extra try per game than the Dragons, Newcastle crossing for four tries a game compared to 2.8 for the red and whites.

Part of the reason for Newcastle's recent success in getting across the stripe has been the addition of an extra playmaker to the squad with former NSW Origin No.7 Jarrod Mullen coming off the bench to relieve starting halves Scott Dureau and Ben Rogers.

Knights coach Brian Smith had foreshadowed culling his halves options down to two for the Dragons match-up, but on Tuesday he named all three in his 17-man squad.

"Brian (Knights coach Brian Smith) is trying to play an expansive style of football, he wants to move the ball laterally but teams are aware of that," MacDougall said.

"But they aren't always going to be able to stop it when you have halves that can move it laterally like (ours) can."

The trio are set to be put to the ultimate test this weekend with the Dragons coming into the game with the best defence in the league, averaging just over ten points per game over the opening five rounds.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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