Bennett may end Dragons drought: Mundine - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bennett may end Dragons drought: Mundine

By Wayne Heming 29/06/2010 06:29:11 PM Comments (0)

Anthony Mundine knows a fair bit about the Dragons, rugby league grand finals and supercoach Wayne Bennett.

The three-time world boxing champion was a rising young star in the Dragons side which lost the 1993 grand final 16-6 to Brisbane, coach by Bennett.

Mundine also played for the Dragons in grand final losses to Manly in 1996 and Melbourne in 1999.

And he also spent a season under Bennett at the Broncos in 1997, the year Brisbane beat Cronulla to win the breakaway Super League grand final which gave him his only premiership.

So, when the question is posed - can Bennett finally give long-suffering Dragons fans their first premiership since their 17-13 grand final win over Canterbury in 1979, Mundine's thoughts are interesting given his rugby league past.

"You'd think so," he says, before pausing and adding "but we are talking about St George".

"There's something about September that happens to St George.

"If that bogey goes and the monkey is off the back this is the year I can see it happening.

"If it doesn't, I wouldn't be surprised."

Dragons fans know exactly what Mundine is talking about.

Bennett took them to the minor premiership in his first year as coach last year but they couldn't take their game to the next level.

With five-eighth Jamie Soward blossoming under Bennett's "believe in yourself" style, the addition on Monday of strike weapon Mark Gasnier and Bennett's experience, 2010 could be the year.

"Gaz (Gasnier) is a big boost, he's a genuine strike player, he can create something from nothing," said Mundine.

"I played with him when he made his (NRL) debut, he scored three tries."

Bookmakers have the Dragons firm favourites 10 rounds out from the finals and believe, with Melbourne out of the picture, there's only two or three real dangers.

Bennett's impeccable grand final record of six wins from six appearances is seen as a trump card.

"He's been there, done that," says Mundine, who will step into a new weight division on Wednesday night when he fights Argentinian junior middleweight Carlos Jerez in Brisbane.

"He (Bennett) had a lot of superstars to do it. This time he hasn't got so many superstars but he's still got that cohesion to win."

Mundine said while the Dragons were going along impressively it was more about how they performed in the finals than in the regular season.

"It's the tail-end of the season that counts," he said.

"That's when the champion coaches and the champion players come out.

"We got to see if that happens."

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