Coach rallies Dragons for Cowboys match - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Coach rallies Dragons for Cowboys match

By David Beniuk 07/05/2009 05:42:17 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett expects no let-up in the Dragons' smothering defence for Saturday's NRL clash against North Queensland regardless of who from his huge squad takes the field at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

The Dragons were flying five extra players to Townsville as cover for their eight players involved in Friday's representative games and injured duo Ben Hornby and Matt Cooper.

Michael Lett, Nick Emmett, Chase Stanley, Jon Green and Mickey Paea were all making the trip north to complete a 23-man Dragons squad for the match.

They will be on standby for Darius Boyd (Australia), Jeremy Smith, Jason Nightingale (both New Zealand), Beau Scott, Jamie Soward, Ben Creagh, Michael Weyman and Justin Poore (all Country), who were named in an 18-man team for the game.

The Dragons have strangled the life out of opposition attacking units in 2009, allowing an average of just 11 points per game against them.

With just 88 points in their "against" column, they are the only side to have allowed fewer than 100 points in this season and are a full 26 points better off than the league's second-best defence, Melbourne.

"Wayne spoke to us and said, `we've worked really hard on our defence this year and we've set a standard and the blokes who get an opportunity to come up, they've got to set the standard as well, they've got to come up to the standard'," Dragons hooker Dean Young told reporters.

"It's probably the biggest test of the year to be honest. We've had most of our squad reasonably fit all year, we've had a couple of injuries along the way but not too many.

"We might get all the players back for Saturday night but I doubt that.

"I'm sure Wayne won't play players injured so I'm sure there'll be a few new faces.

"To go up to North Queensland and jag a win with a lot of rep players backing up or missing would be a great win."

With several narrow victories in 2009, Young admitted the Dragons were finally winning the games they would have dropped in previous years.

"A couple of years (ago) we would have lost those games," he said of last Sunday's 12-11 defeat of the Warriors.

"It was very enjoyable to win that game."

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