Dragons under most pressure: poll - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons under most pressure: poll

Joe Barton 02/03/2011 07:05:03 PM Comments (0)

Defending premiers St George Illawarra are the NRL team under the most pressure going into the 2011 season, according to their opponents.

Just two days after watching the Dragons conquer Wigan to claim the World Club Challenge, rival clubs declared in an anonymous poll they're also under extreme pressure to continue to deliver for their fanbase.

"All teams are under pressure at the start of any year, but the Dragons are under the most ... now they've won the comp they're probably expected to go 11 straight," a Gold Coast Titan explained.

A Canberra star added it was natural for the defending premiers to feel the weight of expectation.

"It's definitely the Dragons, everyone knows how good they've been over the last few years, so they've got a bit of pressure to stay back up there," he said.

The Wests Tigers were tipped to feature heavily at the top of the ladder, gaining two votes as the team to beat, while one player expected Brisbane to bounce back, installing them as favourites despite a disappointing 2010.

The 2010 premiers were also overwhelmingly ushered in as favourites to go back-to-back, while Parramatta have emerged as the darkhorse of the competition.

"Just by seeing glimpses of their pre-season games, (Parramatta have) been really sharp and they haven't had many points scored against them either," explained a Melbourne representative star.

The Eels picked up seven votes, ahead of New Zealand with four and Canberra with three, while Manly and the Bulldogs were both fancied by two players to surprise the field.

"The Bulldogs recruited very heavily over the summer and I've got no doubt that their halves will gel," explained the Titan.

"They'll be pretty tough again if they can get that forward pack firing, they're probably a bit disappointed after last year so they'll be strong again."

As expected, controversial changes to the play-the-ball rule are the main on-field concern ahead of the new season, with players and coaches alike begging for consistency from the referees.

"All we want is to see a bit of consistency in the refereeing and make sure they get the new laws right," one player explained.

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