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Dragons avoiding Tiger flashbacks

By Ben Horne 20/09/2010 07:06:36 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra forward Dean Young is adamant he and the Dragons aren't coming down with a case of deja vu ahead of this Saturday night's NRL preliminary final against Wests Tigers.

On the same night back in 2005, the red V came off a week's break and started heavy favourites to beat the Tigers for a spot in the grand final.

But the exuberance and confidence of Tim Sheens' men proved too strong and Dragons fans had their hearts broken yet again.

Wests went onto win their fairytale premiership and are again hoping for another at the expense of St George Illawarra, who are desperate to put an end to their `chokers' tag.

Young accepts that the apparent similarities between now and 2005 will make the flashback a hot topic for fans and the media, but he isn't buying into the hype.

Not that he doesn't appreciate where they're coming from - Young remembers the dramatic loss like it was yesterday.

But aside from himself, Ben Hornby, Ben Creagh, Mark Gasnier and Matt Cooper, the Dragons are a different side with a new coach and a fresh outlook.

"I think as soon as I found out on Friday night that the Tigers won, I knew it was going to be a big week for you mob (media) and the fans because you (guys) love it," Young said.

"It hurt a lot, it's one you can't get back ... it would be nice to get one back on them but for the rest of the team and for Wayne (coach Bennett) ... it probably doesn't mean too much to them because they weren't here.

"It's obviously a grand final qualifier and it's St George Illawarra versus the Tigers and that's about it, that's probably where it ends."

One thing that is certainly similar from `05 to now, is the form of Tigers star Benji Marshall.

As a 20-year-old Marshall was the chief destroyer and, five seasons on, he's recaptured his freakish best at exactly the right time.

Marshall has been outstanding in both finals so far, but was at pains to point out that 2010 is a "different" story for both teams.

"I knew this was coming. I suppose it's the same game to make the final but different teams," Marshall said.

"I think we're a different team and I think I'm a different player and they've got a different coaching staff and all their players are different as well, so a lot of similarities but also a lot of differences."

Young is confident the Dragons' impeccable defensive record will repel Marshall and the Tigers.

The Dragons faithful are hungry and impatient for success, but Young said they won't be falling into the trap of thinking too far ahead.

"We'd love to win the grand final but there's no use even talking about it because we've got a game to play this week and if I started talking about next week and we bow out then we're on mad Monday," said Young, who revealed the Dragons are feeling refreshed and aren't concerned about losing momentum following their week off.

"We know this club's got high expectations and we've just got to deal with that."

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