Creagh calls for more NSW Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Creagh calls for more NSW Dragons

Ben Horne And David Beniuk 14/05/2011 03:35:47 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra second-rower Ben Creagh has called on NSW to reward not only Dragons players but adopt the defending premiers' playbook in the State of Origin opener.

As many as nine Dragons are in contention for Blues selection on Sunday, but Creagh believes the successful blueprint created by Wayne Bennett over the past three seasons should also be considered.

St George Illawarra have developed into an almost unstoppable machine in the NRL this season, thanks to a simple game plan carried out by a team who are all on the same wavelength.

Blues coach Ricky Stuart has the chance to pick a side with a Dragons backbone.

"Hopefully a few of the guys get a run and I know they'll do well, whoever gets the opportunity," said Creagh.

"Sowie (Jamie Soward), Beauy Scott, Gaz (Mark Gasnier) just to name a few.

"You never know if they want some good front-rowers like Dan Hunt. Matty Prior's playing great at the moment too so they've got plenty of options there."

The Dragons style of play which has seen them drop just one game on their way to the top of the NRL ladder after 10 rounds, is based on two simple theories.

Ensuring an iron-clad defence and maintaining constant pressure in attack until the other team finally cracks. Creagh said if it's good enough for the defending premiers, it's good enough for the Blues.

"It works in any game of footy so it will definitely work in Origin," he said.

"It is a grind. It's building pressure We just really try and smother teams in defence, do our best on the kick-chase, try and keep them down their half of the field."

Creagh has had a tough time at Origin level in the past, but says consistent performances for club and country stand him in good stead should he be given another crack.

"It all comes down to experience and getting older and playing more of those bigger matches," he said.

One of the more contentious positions in the Blues line-up, is hooker - with Dragon Dean Young and Canterbury's Michael Ennis the frontrunners.

Creagh said there was room for both, with one to start and one to provide cover off the bench. Penrith's Luke Lewis roared into Origin contention with a huge return performance for the Panthers in their win over Brisbane on Friday night.

Lewis is a proven campaigner at representative level and he'll be in a fight with the likes of Scott and Greg Bird for a spot in either the starting team or off the bench.

The versatile Panther has no concerns about his fitness, despite missing the pre-season with an ankle problem and the past five weeks with a hand injury.

"I'm sure I'll get through the game. I'm someone who loves to push myself through that game and that feeling and you can't get that feeling without doing it," he said.

Lewis' Panthers teammate Michael Gordon demanded Blues selection with his game against Brisbane, before he suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

Josh Dugan and Jarryd Hayne are in a battle for the fullback spot, while the likes of Keith Galloway, Aiden Tolman, Tim Mannah and Trent Merrin will vie for front row positions on the bench.

Likely NSW side: Josh Dugan, Brett Morris, Jamal Idris, Mark Gasnier Akuila Uate, Jamie Soward, Mitchell Pearce, Kade Snowden, Michael Ennis, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Ben Creagh, Paul Gallen, Greg Bird. Interchange: Keith Galloway, Aiden Tolman, Luke Lewis, Dean Young. 18th: Beau Scott.

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