Discussion in 'St George Illawarra Dragons' started by Rob Dragon, May 12, 2017.
Disappointing night last night for your mob mate.
While I'm obviously happy to get the win, I couldn't help thinking that the Broncos were very disappointing. Very unusual to see a Bennett coached team who are so lacking in fundamentals. Also hard to see who is going to put their hand up as the leader of the team.
Only early days. But some worrying signs there.
We might get into the 8 but we won't challenge at any stage I don't think.. our props are inexperienced and our halves are in a tangle, we don't have that dominant game organising half (and we really should have, given we had Ben Hunt and Ash Taylor in our ranks a few years ago), from a Dragons perspective the only thing I can see stopping you guys from posing a real threat are your outside backs, I think with the amount of go forward you guys have you can afford a speedster or 2 in your backline
We've got one of the best coaches in the business and some gun players in our squad though so I am sure Wayne will see us through but early days it's not looking great
This fact is clear to the whole NRL except to our coach and management.
All fair points.
I'm never prepared to write off a Bennett team. Plenty of people have egg on their faces after claiming that he's lost it at various times over the years. I mean, the guy won a comp with Shane perry at halfback.
I won't go as far as to wish your team well, I'm far from a broncos supporter. But you are more fun to hate when you're doing well and have great players who I can paint as villains.
To answer the thread title for the umpteenth time - YES.
NRL 2018: Standout performance a building block for Dragons halves
Dragons Den News
Ben Hunt of the Dragons intercepts and scores during the Round 1 NRL match between the St George-Illawarra Dragons and the Brisbane Broncos at UOW Jubilee Oval in Sydney, Thursday, March 8, 2018. (AAP Image/Craig Golding) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
AS the Dragons six-million-dollar man, you can only hope Ben Hunt footed the bill when he had breakfast with some former Broncos teammates on Thursday morning.
It was the least he could do given it would be a matter of hours until he came back to haunt his former club – with a bit of inside knowledge to boot.
“I knew the play they were running,” Hunt said of the 50th minute intercept that set up the 22-point victory.
“I went up to jam on [Anthony] Milford but I got there a bit early so I had a crack at the ball. It was pretty exciting.
“I always get pretty excited when I score a try but to get one for your new team is pretty nice.”
It was merely the exclamation point on a dominant first-up display from the 27-year-old who also laid on Tyson Frizell’s first-half try and linked seamlessly with Gareth Widdop.
With Hunt locked down for the next six seasons, and Widdop the next four, the red v faithful will be hoping the performance is merely a sign of things to come. It’s a hope Hunt shares.
“[The combination] is coming along really well, I still think we've got a long way to go,” Hunt said.
“He's a freak footballer Gareth, he knows the game so well, he keeps calling me to do different plays and I think we're combining pretty nice.
“I think we need to improve on that now. We were a bit shaky in attack at times we weren't as crisp as we'd like to be so I still think there's room for improvement.
“I know I'm here for a long time now, I've just got to focus on my job at the Dragons and not focus on anything else.”
If Hunt was relieved to get his first game for his new club out of the way, he had nothing on Broncos Matt Lodge who threw the wayward pass.
Lodge’s return from rugby league purgatory dragged plenty of scrutiny away from Hunt’s Dragons debut, something he certainly had no problem with.
“It probably wasn't as much media hype as I thought it was going to get. I can't complain about that,” he said.
“I had a bit going on in the off season with the World Cup and getting married and things like that.
“Once preseason started everyone kept bringing [round one] up so then it started to drag on a bit like that after Christmas but it wasn’t too bad.
“I wouldn't say it's a big relief it just feels good to get the win and get it out of the way.”
With Cam McInnes at No. 9 and Matt Dufty at fullback, coach Paul McGregor is confident Thursday’s offering is merely a building block ahead of next week’s clash with Cronulla.
“I thought both our halves really dominated the game which is good,” McGregor said.
“Those two [Hunt and Widdop] are going to work well together. They’re going to be better as they play more footy.
“If you look at Gareth and Ben, Ben’s a genuine [number] seven and Gareth’s a genuine six. Gareth’s bottomless talent and he likes to play instinctive footy whereas, when you wear the seven, you’ve got to execute a game plan and a kicking game.
“Ben likes to go to the game like Gareth so you’ve got two competitive players on the football field. I think they complement each other really well and that was just the start of something we can build over the year.”
Why Ben Hunt will deliver on $6 million price; Graham explains Matt Lodge love
CHRISTIAN NICOLUSSI, The Daily Telegraph
March 9, 2018 5:00pm
WHEN St George Illawarra signed Ben Hunt signed to a whopping $6 million deal, they were absolutely ridiculed.
But Hunt needed just 80 minutes on Thursday night to prove the Dragons got it right splashing so much cash on him.
To be a genuine contender in this year’s NRL competition, you need a top-quality No. 7.
It was the simple reason the Dragons missed out on the top eight last season.
After one game, and with Hunt calling the shots, the Dragons could push for a top-four berth.
The Dragons other big off-season recruit, James Graham, who was also handy in the Dragons 34-12 win over the Brisbane Broncos, could not fault the little playmaker.
“I don’t understand the halfback position that great, but I thought he was great, he came up with a huge play to take an intercept (and score a try), his kicking game was good, and for me as a middle, he told us what to do, so you can’t ask for much more,’’ Graham said.
Ben Hunt made his debut for the Dragons against his former side.
“The halfback is probably the most important person in our team, and I’m pleased for him to get off to a good start. He’ll only get better.
“Hats off to him because playing his first game for the club, and to add to that playing against his former teammates, it was a big effort. There were a lot of excuses he could have used to not play well, but he didn’t, which is a real positive for us.’’
Hunt and skipper Gareth Widdop combined well, considering they only started training together two months ago.
The Dragons have not had an established set of halves since Ben Hornby and Jamie Soward steered the club to premiership glory in 2010.
Dragons fans will truly embrace Hunt if he can deliver a big win in next Thursday’s derby against Cronulla.
Graham had nothing but praise for Hunt, but also went out of his way after the game to tell controversial Broncos prop Matt Lodge he belonged back in the NRL.
Matthew Lodge made his debut for the Broncos under controversial circumstances.
The debate about Lodge being allowed back in the game after his wild 2015 night in New York where he terrorised a family will start to simmer now he has played his first game for the Broncos.
Lodge was heckled all game by fans, and will receive a similar hammering from the crowd when the Broncos go on the road.
“The type of person that is attracted to our game, it’s hard to explain, but I think he’s served his ban, he seems like he has turned a corner, and our game shouldn’t turn its back on someone who has made a mistake,’’ Graham said of Lodge.
“This game helps people ... and makes their lives and the people around them have better lives.
“That was a personal thing between me and Matt. People are entitled to have their opinion and say whatever they want. I’m just giving mine.
“How long has he been out of the game? He’s played Queensland Cup (last year), so it was a massive step for him. He will only get better. He’s tough and runs the ball hard, and doesn’t show any fear.
“He’s a big boy, and at 22, he’s got time on his side to get better.’’
Argh. Yeah. Der dumb, dumb, of course. Why, well because;
You're simply the best.
You're better than all the rest.
You're better than anyone, anyone I've ever met.
No halfback is, ever was or ever will be perfect but Hunt is without question the best half we have had in a long, long time, so if you are indeed a Dragons fan why not get on the bus and enjoy the ride?
Either that or you could potentially wait another 20-odd years for one that could be better.
He's not a Dragons fan, he's actually quoted on this forum as a self-confessed troll haha. Pay no attention. I made that mistake, won't be doing it again.
Well that figures.
Hilarious. You don't think supercoach told him to keep kicking the ball dead in that grand final? Or that other halves have and will continue to kick the ball dead in regular games? Yeah, I know, I hate it when we win too.
Piss off back to your mental assylum dickhead......
You must be joking if you don't think that idea was the coach's tactic. I agree that it lost them the grand final but Bennett was more concerned about sealing his place in history that day. Backfired big time.
I don't understand the Broncos' attitude to Hunt, both fans and officials. It's like they wanted Thurston so couldn't appreciate Hunt for his own skills & constantly belittled him. Let's see what they think of him this season without a top class half.
Our lot are great complainers (recently for good reasons), but we have a club that hasn't had a top flight, representative level half since Billy Smith, so I'm sure we will appreciate what he brings to the team more.
Well said Reddragon.
I reckon you've nail it with that summation of the way the donkeys treated Hunt and that's what made Thursday night even sweeter...
( Pinkmoon - what an interesting name ? ? )
Back to to our man Hunt ( and Brisbanes biggest hole to fill ) this chap has everything that has been missing from our game for so many years . A real talent , one who can take control of the match , it was like a breath of fresh air watching him organising our attack on Thursday night .
As so many others have said the combination between him and Widdop will only get better and I can see that we will also continue scoring points as we did last year as a result of their cohesion. Both backs and forwards will reap the rewards of their skill , in particular Hunts kicking ability , being able to place the ball through the defence , no matter how well drilled it may be .
Worth every cent !
Hunt is the missing link in attack we have been waiting for.
Add Widdop/Dufty/McInnes to the mix and we have the creativity and organising skills to score points.
Importantly, they will collectively create enough space for our 3/4s to score.
Aitken given a mile of space becomes very dangerous with his power running.
Lafai needs to time his draw and pass/flick a little better and more patiently now that we have a more balanced and creative spine.
Imagine how strong this team would be if we could swap our wingers for the Melbourne wingers.
The team needs at least one more powerful front rower to be better balanced.
Latimore went ok, but we need someone better.
When we play the better sides, our weaknesses defensively out wide will be exposed.
Its easy on Ben Hunt 7 , If your got it you got it , and Ben is a natural in that position . We are not trying to turn him into a number 7 . That has been missing since Matty Head .....
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