Late troubles will keep Dragons firing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Late troubles will keep Dragons firing

By Steve Jancetic 12/09/2009 12:51:29 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra will bank on the lessons learned from the club's late-season stumble to ensure there is no let up in Sunday's NRL qualifying final re-match with Parramatta at WIN Jubilee Oval.

Just nine days after trouncing the Eels in their regular season finale, the Dragons return to the scene of the 37-0 massacre in a bid to finally bring to an end Parramatta's brave charge.

While the red and whites could be forgiven for taking their foot off the pedal following the magnitude of the last-start flogging of the Eels, hooker Dean Young said there was little chance of that occurring given the damage created the last time the Dragons took their eye off the ball.

Seemingly coasting towards the minor premiership with just a month to go in the season, the Dragons dropped three straight games and had to rely on a win over the previously red-hot Eels and Wests Tigers upsetting the Bulldogs in the last round to claim the JJ Giltinan Shield"

"Not really, not with the month or so we had before that, I don't think we're going to get ahead of ourselves," Young said when asked if there was a chance the Dragons could be a little cocky heading into Sunday's game.

"One competition's finished and another one's just about to start - it doesn't mean much now what happened last week."

What does mean something about what happened last week is that the Dragons remembered what it took to win a game of football.

And while stats don't always paint the entire portrait of a team's woes, there was little doubt some of the numbers dished up in the three losses to Canberra, Brisbane and South Sydney told a story.

In each of those games, the Dragons conceded over 1565 metres, and were forced to make more than 330 tackles.

Throughout the rest of their 2009 campaign, only twice did the Dragons concede over 1400 metres, while never before had they been forced into 330 tackles.

Against Parramatta in the last round, normal service was resumed, with the Dragons making just 275 tackles as they limited the Eels to just 1233 metres.

"It's easy for us to say we felt flat (during the three losses) but when you're doing that much defence, you're entitled to be tired, and the only reason we were doing that much defence was because we kept dropping the ball," Young said.

"Against Parra last week we weren't dropping the ball and we had more energy and we had more line speed and the big boppers went well for us."

Dragons prop Justin Poore trained strongly on Saturday morning to remove any doubt over his availability after suffering a calf strain earlier in the week.

The Eels welcome back workaholic backrower Nathan Hindmarsh from a toe injury and Eric Grothe from a virus, while coach Daniel Anderson said he still held some hope of having Krisnan Inu cleared to play after he went down with a hamstring injury last week.

Hindmarsh claimed Grothe's return would make more of a difference than his own, his inclusion likely to alter the Dragons' game-plan after they tormented his replacement Jonathan Wright last Friday night with opposite winger Brett Morris bagging a hat-trick.

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