Dragons step back into dark old ways - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons step back into dark old ways

By Steve Jancetic 19/04/2009 04:08:31 PM Comments (0)

It was a return to the dark old days of ill-disciplined football for St George Illawarra on Saturday night - and veteran coach Wayne Bennett didn't like it one bit.

It was the Dragons of yesteryear as penalties derailed their effort against Newcastle, the Knights taking advantage of the helping hand to eke out an impressive 24-18 win.

Improved discipline had been a feature of the Dragons play under new coach Bennett, the change reflected on the NRL ladder as the Dragons surged to top spot after the opening five rounds.

But Bennett said it was time to draw a line in the sand in regard to discipline, with first grade positions and even contracts on the line.

"I prefer they (the penalties) didn't happen but they have happened," Bennett said.

"The club's got to make a bit of a choice with players with that type of stuff. That's been one of the downfalls of the past.

"If they don't change their ways then not a lot's going to change around here."

While the Dragons ended up on the right side of an 8-7 penalty count, it was the timing of the infringement which really cruelled their chances.

Up 8-0 after an early try to Wendell Sailor, the Dragons gave up four penalties within a six-minute period as the Knights closed to 8-6 running into a howling gale.

Then again in the second half it was penalties which propelled the Knights downfield as the visitors ran in three tries in seven minutes to turn the complexion of the match.

"Penalties are just a huge issue in the game and you can't always get the ones you want and you get some against you that you don't want - either way you have to live with it," Bennett said.

"I think three of their four tries tonight came off the back of penalties. We piggy-backed them out of their end, it takes all the pressure off and it gives them a chance to score tries ... it's not something that's new."

Sailor will have a MRI on Monday to determine his availability for Saturday's traditional Anzac Day battle with the Sydney Roosters, but hooker Luke Priddis is expected to be out for a month with a strained medial ligament.

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