Category: Dragons

For the next 26 weeks of the NRL Dream Team Competition, I’ll be reviewing the rounds top performers.  To make it in this list each week a player must have a season average of 45 or more and score 50 points or more in the review round.  Mid season, I’ll review the top performers in all the key positions using a different criteria for each position.

There were mixed results across the board in round 1, a few players ventured into the 40’s but only eight broke into the 50’s.  Some high priced stars were disappointing – Corey Parker, Nathan Hindmarsh and Paul Gallen and on the other side of the coin Ashley Harrison (62) and Aiden Tolman (60) were exceptional – the only players in the round to break 60 and for Ashley Harrison, the only Titan to break 40. 

Johnathan Thurston returned to Dream Team form; scoring 55 points and no doubt will make the Cowboys faithful very happy.  It was a case of what could have been though – JT loosing 16 points from mistakes, the worst from the Top Performers.  Continue reading

King’s big moment tarnished by injury

Rookie hooker Cameron King had the joy of scoring the match-winning try in St George Illawarra’s World Club Challenge victory soured by confirmation of a pectoral injury.

The back-up rake took advantage of some lax Wigan marker defence to barge over from close range in the 55th minute of the 21-15 win at DW Stadium.

The try handed the Dragons a lead they would not surrender.

“It was a great atmosphere, the score was a good feeling, to be able to get the team back ahead,” said King, who only made the UK trip due to an injury to Nick Emmett.

But minutes after being mobbed by his teammates, the teenager hurt himself stretching out in an attempt to tackle elusive Wigan fullback Sam Tomkins. Continue reading

St George Illawarra captured the World Club Challenge title for the first time with a 21-15 win over three-time champions Wigan at DW Stadium on Sunday night.

After being blown away in the opening four minutes, the NRL premiers showed their mettle to pull off the victory in front of 24,268 fans in cool, clear conditions.

By their high standards, it was a mistake-riddled performance by the Dragons and showed they were still in pre-season mode.

Winger Brett Morris was man of the match, the winger scoring two tries and causing havoc down the left side all evening as the Dragons prevailed without coach Wayne Bennett on the sidelines.

The hosts had a pre-match blow with workhorse Stuart Fielden sitting out the match alongside the suspended Jeff Lima.

To rev up the crowd, the Warriors paraded members of their 1987 World Club Challenge winning side before a minute’s silence in respect for the victims of the Christchurch earthquake. Continue reading

Greenfield wants a regular spot

St George Illawarra prop Michael Greenfield says the Dragons’ NRL premiership was the wake-up call he needed to overcome an attitude problem which threatened his career. Greenfield barely played a match in 2010 and wasn’t part of the grand final side, but the quality of the Dragons’ line-up made him realise he needed to shape up. Injuries had played their part in slowing his progress, but Greenfield knew he was partly to blame. Despite plenty of promise, he’d failed to make a mark at previous clubs Souths and Cronulla, and moving to the Dragons’ professional set-up under Wayne Bennett, was the change that made the penny drop. “I was a bit lazy and probably my attitude to training wasn’t where it should have been,” admitted Greenfield. “I never missed training but in the fitness I used to struggle. “I thought I was unfit and with a lot of fitness, half the battle is the mental part of it. “Dieting wise and being able to push my body as hard as what it could go … it’s taken me a few years to mature in that area.” Continue reading

Idris excited to return to backline

Jamal Idris wants for his time at second row to be over so he can make a permanent home for himself in the NRL at centre. The Canterbury star says he will play wherever needed, but admits he’s itching to move back to his original position out wide. Canterbury coach Kevin Moore shifted the 20-year-old monster to the backrow last year, to help the club cope with injury problems and add size in the forwards. He’s been named in the No.11 jersey for Friday’s trial against St George Illawarra, but when Frank Pritchard, Andrew Ryan and Greg Eastwood return to the side, the club’s personality player is excited about returning to the backline. Idris’ size and aggressiveness has seen him adapt well to the forwards, but he said Moore hasn’t given any indication he’ll be used there regularly this year. Continue reading

Dragons show no charity towards Bunnies

Four months after their drought-breaking premiership win, St George Illawarra have returned to the scene of their triumph to thump South Sydney 32-10 in the Charity Shield at ANZ Stadium. Despite missing up to half a dozen regulars, the Dragons were too fast, too strong and too smart for a disappointing Rabbitohs outfit. The Red V sent a strong message to rival clubs that they will again be up there in 2011 with a resounding six tries to two victory before 19,267 fans. It was St George Illawarra’s first Charity Shield win since 2007 and the perfect tune-up for their World Club Challenge showdown with Wigan in England on February 27. Both sides went into the biggest of the pre-season trial matches severely under-strength following a string of withdrawals prior to kick off. The Rabbitohs were without star off-season recruit Greg Inglis, Kiwi international Issac Luke and Sam Burgess while the Dragons’ absentees included Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby, Dean Young and Brett Morris. Continue reading

St George Illawarra have named the son of Parramatta great Mick Cronin in a squad containing 10 of their premiership stars for Sunday’s Charity Shield clash with South Sydney. Peter Cronin is among four recruits making their debuts for the Dragons, joining former Manly and Cronulla forward Adam Cuthbertson, Wests Tigers signing David Gower and ex-Penrith forward Daniel Penese at ANZ Stadium. The traditional fixture will also mark the return from long-term injury for prop Dan Hunt (Achilles), who has signed a new deal with the club, and outside back Ratu Peni Tagive (knee). Exciting young Dragons hooker Cameron King, who played one NRL match last season and was recently chosen in Ricky Stuart’s NSW Blues in waiting squad, has been given the opportunity to start at hooker. Assistant coach Steve Price will be in charge of the team with Wayne Bennett on NRL All Stars duty.

The Rabbitohs have named their strongest available line-up, with a long list of players sidelined by injury. Sam Burgess (shoulder), Greg Inglis (shoulder/hip), Issac Luke (shoulder), Michael Crocker (knee), Luke Stuart (shoulder), Jason Clark (hamstring) and Blake Judd (hamstring) are all out but are expected to be fit for the round one match against the Sydney Roosters. Prop Ben Ross will back up from the bench following his first game in nearly two years last weekend following a neck injury. Meanwhile, Hunt has agreed to a contract extension that will keep him at the Dragons until the end of 2013.Sunday’s game will be his first since rupturing his Achilles in the warm-up to the round 11 clash against Canberra at WIN Stadium last May. “It is pretty exciting times for me at the moment, to be returning to the field and also to secure my future here at the Dragons for a couple of extra years,” Hunt said. “It’s been a long recovery road but all the hard work will have paid off come Sunday when I get out there on the field.” The Rabbitohs will be looking to take home the Charity Shield for the fourth consecutive year.

DT Best Performances – Round 21

While there were a lot of 40, and low 50’s scored in DT in round 21 but there were only two players who scored 55 or better.  

  GMS Ave Total Pts Tries  Goals MG TA KM Oth Lost Pts >= 45 % >= 45
Soward 19 47.63 905 132 99 196 504 61 -87 13 68.42%

 (62) Jamie Soward (Half) @ $329,500.00 (Increase of $11,300.00) averaging 47.63.  In a low scoring match against the Broncos in round 21 it was his 30 KM and 17 tackles that dominated and, for the first time this season, no points lost from mistakes.  

  GMS Ave Total Pts Tries  Goal MG TA KM Oth Lost Pts >= 50 % >= 50
Parker 16 57.50 920 120 224 580 3 80 -87 15 93.75%

(58) Corey Parker (2RF) @ $357,900.00 (Increase of $3,200.00) averaging 57.50.  Earlier in the year I did a review on the Broncos in one of my “Preparing for the bye rounds” spiels.  I said it back then when the Broncos don’t score tries then Parkers’ tackle count goes up and that’s exactly what happened against the Dragons in round 21.  In a low scoring game where Parker only scored 2 points from a conversion he compensated by scoring 15 from MG and 43 tackles, the 4th time this season he has got into the 40’s in 16 outings.

Gasnier reclaims 3

Mark Gasnier has reclaimed the No.3 jersey in a St George Illawarra side reshuffled by coach Wayne Bennett for Sunday’s massive SCG clash with the red-hot Sydney Roosters. With the ladder-leading Dragons now having lost three of their last four, Bennett has handed Gasnier the jersey he wore in his previous stint with the club in his fifth game back from two seasons in French rugby union. Gasnier started his first game in Sunday’s loss to Brisbane, but in the No.19 jumper. Bennett has re-jigged his forward pack to accommodate the returning Michael Weyman (suspension) and a move for Beau Scott from Gasnier’s right centre position to the second row. Neville Costigan moves from the back to the front row to partner Weyman and new hooker Dean Young, with Luke Priddis named on a six-man bench. Scott partners Ben Creagh in the second row with Jeremy Smith named at lock.

Dragons welcome back Weyman, Young and Fien

As St George Illawarra’s attack faltered in front of a packed Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, the man who looms as the solution to their woes took his first tentative steps back to action. Kiwi international Nathan Fien made his long-awaited comeback from a broken leg playing for the Dragons’ NSW Cup outfit, the livewire hooker impressing in two 20 minute stints at dummy half for the Shellharbour Dragons. While the handful of spectators on show at Melbourne’s Olympic Park may have been a long way from the 40,000-plus on hand in Brisbane, Fien’s return is a significant step in the Dragons’ finals build-up. While Dragons coach Wayne Bennett is unlikely to rush Fien back into the top grade for Sunday’s blockbuster against the Sydney Roosters, Gilogley said Fien – who celebrated his 31st birthday on Sunday – was ready to go. “He’s an international isn’t he, and I’m sure if they needed him he’d be able to do the job,” Gilogley said. “He’s been training fulltime for about three weeks now – he was ready to play but they weren’t going to risk him. “I think Wayne will probably use him a little bit more in the NSW Cup.” While veteran Luke Priddis has done a serviceable job filling in for Fien, the latter’s speed and playmaking ability makes the Dragons more threatening in attack. The Dragons will also welcome back some forward power this week with NSW prop Michael Weyman available again after a four-week suspension and lock Dean Young having recovered from a hamstring injury that kept him out of Sunday’s loss to the Broncos.