Dragons overcome rep duty to smash Cowboys - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons overcome rep duty to smash Cowboys

Ben Horne 08/05/2011 07:41:47 PM Comments (0)

If St George Illawarra proved anything in their 22-8 win over North Queensland on Sunday, it's that the team is more important than the individual.

The rest of the NRL didn't need to see the Dragons beat the Cowboys to know they're premiership threats, but rivals will be quivering at how the absence of several stars made virtually no impact on the quality of their performance.

With Darius Boyd, Jamie Soward, Nathan Fien and Jason Nightingale all out of the side, Brett Morris, Trent Merrin, Dan Hunt, Ben Creagh, Matt Prior and Adam Cuthbertson backing up from representative duties and just two players left on the bench after more injuries on Sunday - the Dragons had plenty of excuses they could have offered up for a loss.

Although there's no doubt the likes of Boyd and Soward were important to the Dragons, the message from coach Wayne Bennett was that it didn't really matter who wore the jersey, because the players would turn up for each other.

"It's been the making of the club since I've been here. They've done this repeatedly, these guys. This wasn't a one-off today," Bennett said.

"It's great stuff and it's what you've got to build your club on, if you're going to have players playing in the rep program.

"I think it's what these boys have created. It's not so much the individual. The individual might go into a different system and not do what they do for us. Everybody feels an important part of the club. They've got a job to do, they know what it is and they go out and do it for us."

The match was best summed up in a five-minute period midway through the first half, when the Cowboys mounted five consecutive sets of six on the Dragons line - only for St George Illawarra to ultimately score down the other end of the field.

Frustration eventually told on the Cowboys and five-eighth Ray Thompson was rushed into a pass that was intercepted by Ben Hornby, who then popped a pass for Morris to streak 90 metres and score.

It gave the Dragons a 12-2 lead and broke North Queensland's spirit.

While the Dragons weren't exempt from making errors on the field, Hornby said their unrivalled ability to defend them came back to a simple philosophy.

"You just don't want to let that person down that's made the mistake, that's the main thing," said Hornby, who was also among the try-scorers along with Kyle Stanley and Dean Young.

North Queensland coach Neil Henry said the Morris try was the telling point of the game, but questioned whether the Dragons defenders were onside.

"Morris goes away for that intercept try and that deflated us a bit and that was hard to take," said Henry.

"I thought he (Thompson) was hurried up for his pass by a man who was offside but, oh well, they didn't go to the video ref anyway."

Captain Matt Scott said the Dragons were the best defensive team in the competition.

Injuries to Bronx Goodwin (ACL), Kyle Stanley (ankle) and Mark Gasnier (ankle) made the Dragons effort even more commendable.

Fien and Nightingale will almost certainly return for the Canterbury clash on Friday night, while Bennett is also optimistic about Soward and Boyd.

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