Bennett backs struggling Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bennett backs struggling Dragons

By Steve Jancetic and Wayne Heming 01/08/2010 07:26:29 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett denies the NRL front-runners are suffering from a crisis of confidence despite the Dragons limping into next week's blockbuster clash against the red-hot Sydney Roosters on the back of two straight losses.

Clinging to top spot after going down 10-6 to Brisbane on Sunday, the Dragons will need to mount a monumental reversal of form to overcome the Roosters, who continued their stunning surge with a 48-12 hammering of Parramatta.

The contrasting fortunes between the two sides could not be more extreme - the Roosters having run in 14 tries in their last two matches compared to just two four-pointers for the red and whites.

But while admitting to being less than elated with his side's efforts with ball in hand, Bennett denied doubts had started to creep in for a side which seemed in a class of its own over the opening half of the season.

"I don't think confidence is an issue for us just yet," Bennett said.

"Our first half (against Brisbane) wasn't so great but our second half was really good. It was probably as good a second half as we've played in the last month.

"The way we stayed at it. They didn't give us a great deal and we didn't give them much either.

"The last 10 minutes it became our game but we were just a little bit behind and ran out of time in the end."

Bennett is now hoping he doesn't run out of time before the finals to help his side rediscover their mojo, with a daunting fortnight against the Roosters and fellow premiership hotshots Manly set to test their mettle.

With Roosters coach Brian Smith an interested spectator in the packed Suncorp Stadium stands on Sunday, Bennett has his work cut out for him fashioning enough points to beat a Roosters side which has eclipsed 30 points in each of its last three games.

The Dragons on the other hand haven't recorded 30 in a game since late June.

"I wouldn't say I'm elated with it," Bennett said of his side's attack.

"Until we execute better, it's not going to get better unfortunately.

"Our inability to maintain pressure down there (Broncos half) cost us dearly.

"It's that we can't get there and it's not that we can't do something when we do get there."

Victories to Penrith and Wests Tigers left them tied with the Roosters two points adrift of the Dragons, but St George Illawarra's superior points differential means they should hold onto top spot even with a third straight loss,

Tigers skipper Robbie Farah conceded his side would need to play much better to overcome South Sydney next weekend, after struggling their way to a 24-22 win over Cronulla.

"We got the two points, we cemented our spot in the top four, but we know that was nowhere near good enough," Farah said.

"We sang the team song, it was a bit of an empty feeling singing it."

Gold Coast took a massive step towards securing a second straight finals berth with a 28-20 win over the Warriors, the two sides having entered the contest locked on 24 competition points.

The Titans are now fifth on 26, and can move even closer and push Parramatta to the brink of elimination when they host the Eels on Friday night.

"We've got as good chance as any," Titans five-eighth Mat Rogers said.

"It's as open as I've ever seen it and I think we have as much of a chance as the next team."

Manly can move back into fifth with victory over Newcastle at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Monday night, the Knights needing to win every match to keep their slim finals hopes alive.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news