Tiger Ellis understands Dragons NRL plight - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tiger Ellis understands Dragons NRL plight

Ben Horne 01/08/2011 06:59:56 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers NRL second rower Gareth Ellis can understand how the seemingly indestructible St George Illawarra Dragons have lost their killer instinct.

Speaking from experience in his English Super League days, Ellis says it's natural for a team to lose motivation after reaching the highs of a premiership.

There was extraordinary pressure on the Dragons to break their premiership drought last year, given the proud St George club hadn't tasted success since 1979.

Now that they have that gorilla off their back, the red and whites have shown in their past two losses - where they've collapsed against Souths and Canberra - that perhaps the determination is gone.

Ellis, whose Tigers meet St George Illawarra on Friday, can see similarities between the Dragons plight and the situation he found himself in when he joined Leeds in 2005.

The previous season, the Rhinos had won the premiership and, although they made the final of both the Super League and the Challenge Cup in '05, the Englishman says the club had lost that desperation to win which is so vital.

"I think it can definitely happen. When I was at Leeds ... the same motivation wasn't there from the year before," Ellis told AAP.

"It's such a tough competition that to have the pressure on week in week out takes it's toll on any player in any team and St George have been fantastic over the past few seasons.

"You go from the highs of winning the competition and having not had that success for a long time as well. You get a bit of a sigh of relief when you eventually do it."

Leeds bounced back from two down years to record a Super League three-peat from 07-09, proving that reality checks are a necessary fact of life, even for the most successful teams.

But Ellis believes the Dragons won't necessarily have to wait a couple of seasons to get their desire back and are capable of turning their fortunes around when the two sides clash in a heart-stopper on Friday night at the SFS.

"They've got one of the best coaches in the game steering their ship and I'm sure whatever they're experiencing, he's seen it 100 times over, so he'll have them primed," he said.

"He's probably just giving some of their players a kick up the backside and sometimes that's what you need.

"I'm sure they're not far off getting that hunger back and normally it only takes a loss here and there to get it back as well.

"They're a good team you know, and I'm sure they've got some good players there that won't be prepared to lose three games on the trot so it's going to be a massive challenge for us.

"We can only concentrate on us. We're in a pretty good place at the moment and hopefully we can go there and do a good job and carry the roll on."

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