Dragons turn focus to 2011 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons turn focus to 2011

Steve Jancetic 31/03/2011 04:13:29 PM Comments (0)

With planning for 2012 taken care of, NRL premiers St George Illawarra can finally get down to concentrating on what they're trying to achieve in 2011.

The decision by coach Wayne Bennett to walk away from the club at the end of the season has removed the largest cloud hanging over the Dragons' premiership defence, with the constant innuendo and rumour having no doubt played a part in the side's sluggish start to the year.

While the issue won't be fully put to bed until Bennett reveals exactly where he will coach next season, Dragons backrower Ben Creagh said news of the master coach's impending departure would at least focus the playing group's efforts on getting the most out of what time he had left in Wollongong.

"He hasn't left today, he hasn't left yesterday, he's still here, he's still coaching us for the next six months," Creagh said following Thursday's training session.

"Nothing's changed, nothing's new.

"November 1 when we start pre-season training, that will be new with a new coach, but otherwise it's all things normal, nothing's changed."

But while the appointment of Bennett's right-hand man Steve Price and the retention of much of the same squad for 2012 should ensure a smooth transition to the new era, the Dragons' best chance for another premiership in the near future would surely be while Bennett remains at the helm.

Creagh sensed the team was rediscovering its best in last week's win over the Warriors, following one of the club's worst performances under Bennett in the shock round two loss to Cronulla.

"We haven't started off the season how we did the last two, a few scratchy games where we haven't played our best," Creagh said.

"But last week with the Warriors game, our first half was probably our best first half - (it was) the kind of footy we play, we completed our sets, we defended well, scored some tries."

Creagh said he was confident of being fully fit for the clash against Newcastleon Sunday after suffering a compressed vertebrae last weekend.

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