Coyne backs Bennett to get Dragons firing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Coyne backs Bennett to get Dragons firing

Steve Jancetic 17/08/2011 06:39:58 PM Comments (0)

Don't be fooled by the shrug of the shoulders, St George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett still has a few tricks up his sleeve as he tries to reinvigorate the Dragons' NRL premiership push.

The joint-venture's inaugural captain Mark Coyne claims the game's most successful tactician is capable of lifting them out of a mire which has resulted in just two wins from their past ten matches.

Asked how he was going to turn his side's fortunes around after a fourth straight loss on Sunday, Bennett offered a simple "I've got no idea", but Coyne is adamant the departing mentor was simply keeping his powder dry.

"I don't think Wayne Bennett's ever clueless," Coyne told AAP.

"I think a lot of his words would have been for the players. I don't read too much into what Wayne says to the media.

"He generally manipulates the media how he wants to manipulate them."

While Coyne backed Bennett's ability to lift the Dragons to back-to-back titles, he admitted the coach's impending departure to Newcastle had been a factor in their slide down the premiership ladder.

Four points clear at the top of the ladder after round 12, the Dragons could end this weekend as low as seventh if they go down to the Storm and the Warriors and Wests Tigers both win.

"I don't think it's any one thing. I think it's probably a combination of a few things," Coyne said of the reasons behind the Dragons' staggers.

"It's been a long year for them. They started off with a lot of travel with the World Club Challenge on the back of a late finish to last year and then they had a lot of guys in the Origin period ... it's been a pretty heavy workload for them which a lot of them haven't been through before.

"Maybe it's been a bit hard knowing that the coach is going as well.

"Wayne's done a fantastic job and the players would probably have a bit of a view that they'd like him to stay on ... I'd like to think the players nowadays are professional enough not to let that get to them."

Coyne said the next fortnight would determine whether the Dragons could mount a serious tilt at the title, starting with Friday night's match against top-of-the-table Melbourne at AAMI Park.

"They need to turn things around pretty quickly because the last thing you want is to limp into the finals - they showed that two years ago when they limped into the finals and they went out the backdoor pretty quickly," Coyne said.

"It starts this week against the premiership favourites."

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