Dragons up ante in bid to stay with Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons up ante in bid to stay with Eels

By Steve Jancetic 11/03/2010 07:58:17 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra backrower Dean Young claims the Dragons can't afford to simply replicate the game-plan which won them last year's NRL minor premiership if they hope to match it with the likes of premiership favourites Parramatta in Friday night's season-opener.

The Dragons will go head to head with the team which derailed their finals campaign last year in a mouth-watering entry into the 2010 season at Parramatta Stadium, and Young says the red and whites need to turn up with a few more tricks up their sleeve.

After running in points at will at times during the regular season, St George Illawarra's lack of attacking variety was shown up in the finals when they managed just four tries in going down to the Eels and then Brisbane.

"We can't think we can go out and do what we did last year, that's just not going to work," Young said after the team's final training run on Thursday.

"Every side's going to be better so we're going to have to be better.

"(Coach Wayne Bennett) said the other day we didn't buy too many big names but he sees a lot of improvement in all the players that are here."

Indeed Bennett had pointed to the fact skipper Ben Hornby had benefited from a full pre-season training alongside five-eighth Jamie Soward, but a lot of that work could go down the drain with Hornby in doubt to face the Eels due to an infected wisdom tooth.

Hornby was sent home from training and put on a course of antibiotics on Thursday without taking any part in the session, his potential loss compounding the late scratching of Matt Cooper, who aggravated a hamstring strain.

While Young said he was still confident of being led out by Hornby at Parramatta Stadium, he said all would not be lost if the side's No.1 playmaker was a late withdrawal with hooker Nathan Fien slated to take over at halfback.

"He's (Fien) the New Zealand halfback so he's pretty comfortable in that position, and Luke Priddis is a pretty handy hooker if we're in that spot," Young said.

"But Ben Hornby's a pretty tough character, I'm sure he'll be right to go."

Young said the side had not revisited last year's 25-12 qualifying final loss to Parramatta, despite the fact the Dragons had been tactically brought undone by rampant Eels.

"We haven't done any video actually - we don't do much video," Young said.

"We know if we execute the plays that we've got in place it'll work - we're not too worried about what Parramatta are going to do, we're just worried about ourselves.

"That's the way Wayne likes it."

Versatile prop Matt Prior is expected to shift into the centres to replace Cooper with Nick Emmett to come onto the bench and Dan Hunt into the starting pack.

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