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Discussion in 'St George Illawarra Dragons' started by getsmarty, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    McGregor risks NRL sanction over bunker blast

    Mitch Jennings@@Mitch_Jenno

    30 Jul 2017, 12:47 p.m.
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    DEAF EARS: Dragons centre Josh Dugan protests one of several calls that went against his side in a 21-14 defeat to Newcastle on Saturday. It's put the club's finals hopes on shaky ground. Picture: AAP

    NRL referees boss Tony Archer has backed the two controversial bunker calls that were labeled “incompetent and embarrassing” by St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor in the wake of his sie’s 21-14 loss to Newcastle on Saturday.

    McGregor’s anger centred on the decision late in the 31st minute to disallow a try to Tim Lafai despite replays showing Jason Nightingale appeared to deflect the ball backwards in the lead-up.

    Bunker official Luke Patten determined that there was insufficient evidence to overturn on-field referee Gavin Badger’s call of knock-on.

    The Dragons were denied just minutes later with Nene Macdonald’s 95-metre effort called back after Patten deemed Tyson Frizell to have taken out Knights halfback Trent Hodkinson off the ball.

    “Embarrassing and incompetent,” McGregor said when asked about the bunker calls post-match.

    “I think anyone that knows rugby league would agree because the ball went back on the Nightingale one.

    “That should have been overruled and it wasn’t and Hodkinson took a dive. He wouldn’t have got to Nene anyway.”

    However, after reviewing both decisions on Sunday, Archer backed the call to disallow both tries.

    "After reviewing all the available angles, you can see that the ball comes off the left forearm of Jason Nightingale and then contacts the right hand of [Knights centre] Shaun Kenny-Dowall," Archer said.

    "[Also] we can see following a kick from the Knights that Trent Hodkinson is held back by Tyson Frizell. This prevents his ability to participate in play.

    “Subsequently the live decision of try was overturned because of this infringement. This is the correct decision."

    "This constitutes a knock on. As a result the decision of no try is the correct call."

    Tariq Sims crossed on the stroke of halftime to get back within two but the Dragons couldn’t get across again in the second, with Jacob Saifiti’s 71st minute try sealing just the second win of the season for the Knights.

    McGregor stopped short of saying the calls cost his side the game.

    “We take responsibility for how we play, not the officials,” McGregor said.

    “63 per cent [completion rate] is not up to NRL standard. We didn’t take take the chances we created and we didn’t get the balance of playing tough and taking smart risks.

    "It's too far between our best and our worst. Today was a lot closer close to our worst. There's disappointed people and I'm one of them."


    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4820934/archer-backs-controversial-bunker-calls/?cs=3713
     
  2. This Year?

    This Year? Bench

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    Next article should be "Mary sent packing".

    One can only dream.
     
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  3. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Illawarra remain in finals hunt after Field heroics

    Mitch Jennings@@Mitch_Jenno

    31 Jul 2017, 4:05 p.m.
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    Jai Field kicked the match-winner on Saturday. Picture: Blake Edwards

    ILLAWARRA young-gun Jai Field came up big not once, but twice, in a crucial win for the Steelers on Saturday.

    The defending Intrust Super Premiership champions risked dropping out of the finals equation had they lost the match to Newcastle, who overcame a 24-6 halftime deficit to lead by six late in the clash.

    Field managed to convert Jordan Pereira’s 75th minute from out wide to level up at 32-all before also landing the match-winning penalty goal on fulltime.

    “It was definitely a really gutsy win,” Field said.

    “The stats didn’t really show our way at all, we finished 60-40 per cent [possession] down.

    “We made over a hundred more tackles than them so for us to stay in it and still be there at the end to have a shot at that goal was really good.

    “To kick that winning goal was awesome. It was a relief more than anything. It keeps us up in the eight and we’ve got a few players coming back after the bye so hopefully we can kick on now.


    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4824080/field-rekindles-finals-flame/?cs=3713
     
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  4. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Field boots Illawarra back into finals contention
    By Blake Edwards

    Mon 31st July, 12:00PM
    A A

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    Illawarra have kept their finals hopes alive after securing a nail-biting 34-32 victory over the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.

    With Illawarra coming off a last start lacklustre performance against Penrith, there were worrying signs early in the game when the Knights scored within the first sixty seconds, courtesy of Nick Meaney.

    The visitors shook off the poor start, swinging momentum back in their favour when youngsters Jack Payne, Luciano Leilua and Pat Herbert combined down the right edge to score Illawarra's first points.

    A determined Payne found himself in the action moments later, never giving up on a wayward kick off the boot from Jai Field, brushing through Knights defenders to plant the ball in the in-goal.

    Illawarra found their way over the line again, when a great offload from experienced campaigner Will Matthews found Adam Clune.

    Clune linked up with brother Sam, who finished it with a superb draw and pass to put Jai Field over.

    Rookie winger Matheson Johns crossed for try on the half-time buzzer to give Illawarra a healthy 24-6 lead.

    As was the case in the first 40, the Knights came out all guns blazing crossing for an important try shortly after play's resumption to Pasami Saulo to narrow the gap back to two converted tries.

    Moments later a penalty goal to Illawarra’s Field extended their lead to 14, before Knight Jaelen Feeney crossed to get his side back into the contest.

    The pendulum well and truly swung back in favour of the hosts who ran in three consecutive tries through Thomas Cronan, Jacob Gagan and Feeney – the Knights grabbing a six-point lead heading into the final 10 minutes.

    A daring cross-field kick from Clune found a leaping Jordan Pereira, who toppled over Knights defenders to score his first try in the Intrust Super Premiership.

    A pressure goal was successful off the boot of Field to level the scores at 32-apiece with less than five minutes left on the clock.

    Herbert put his hand up to take a field goal at the death but was swamped by Knights defenders. The referees determined them to be offside gifting Illawarra a chance at a penalty goal.

    A steady Field slotted the goal to secure his side a two-point lead and a return to the top eight of the Intrust Super Premiership.

    Illawarra 34 (Patrick Herbert, Jack Payne, Jai Field, Matheson Johns, Jordan Pereira tries; Jai Field 7 goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 32 (Jacob Gagan 2, Jaelen Feeney 2, Pasami Saulo, Thomas Cronan tries; Nick Meaney 4 goals) at McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/07/31/field_boots_illawarr.html
     
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  5. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Dragons respond to NRL breach notice
    Tue 1st August, 03:30PM
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    St George Illawarra have been advised that coach Paul McGregor has been issued with a breach notice by the NRL following his comments regarding match officials post the Round 21 match against the Newcastle Knights last Saturday.

    NRL rules state that "No Club, Club Official or Player shall, on a public occasion, comment on or with respect to the performance of a Match Official”.

    The Dragons have five business days to respond to the breach notice and will be making no further comment at this time.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/08/01/dragons_respond_to_n.html
     
  6. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    St George Illawarra's efforts to narrow performance gaps all in the mind: Jason Nightingale
    Andrew Parkinson
    2 Aug 2017, 7 a.m.
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    Historic venue: Dragons winger Jason Nightingale wants his side to bounce back against South Sydney at the SCG on Friday night. Picture: John Veage

    Jason Nightingale believes St George Illawarra’s battle to close the gap between their best and worst performances is purely a mental one.

    The Dragons host traditional rivals South Sydney at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday night needing to bounce back from a deflating 21-14 loss to last-placed Newcastle.

    St George Illawarra had been riding high from their drubbing of the previously high-flying Sea Eagles in Wollongong the week before and looked to have their top eight charge back on track.

    But a flat and mostly disjointed performance against the Knights has the Dragons again battling just to make the finals after an excellent start to the season.

    Dragons coach Paul McGregor said after the win over Manly the challenge for his players was to become more consistent and learn to narrow the gap between their best and worst efforts. Nightingale told the Leader he believed the problem was mental.

    [​IMG]
    Jason Nightingale in action for the Dragons against the Knights on Saturday. Picture: AAP Image/Darren Pateman

    “I think so. That’s what it felt like that Manly game. We were at our best and flying high, everything was coming off. That Manly game is probably the perfect example of things happening for us when we’re on a roll,” he said.

    “I think our performance against Manly was more flawed than the scoreboard showed. I think probably the one positive of the short turnaround [from the Knights loss] is the chance to bounce back in six days rather than having to wait seven or eight.”

    The veteran winger has fond memories of playing at the SCG, which played host to his 200th NRL game in a win over the Rabbitohs.

    The Dragons could slip out of the top eight for the first time this season if they lose to Souths and in-form Penrith beat the Wests Tigers on Sunday.

    Nightingale, a Renown United junior, said it was always special to play at one of the traditional homes of rugby league in Sydney.

    “I’ve seen all the old footage of the many grand finals St George played there throughout the years and all the great tussles between the Dragons and especially Souths,” he said.

    “It is a bit of a special feeling to reflect on that. It’s always a good occasion playing at a ground with a lot of history, not just in our sport.”

    http://www.theleader.com.au/story/4...-the-gap-all-in-the-mind-nightingale/?cs=3833
     
  7. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Widdop: No point dwelling on Knights loss
    Wed 2nd August, 10:00AM
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    By Nathan Beuman

    St George Illawarra captain Gareth Widdop has called for the Dragons' to move past last weekend's disappointing 21-14 loss to the Newcastle Knights.

    Widdop says that the side can’t dwell on last week’s performance considering an important clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs beckons this Friday night at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

    "We take responsibility for the loss. The game has been and gone," Widdop said.

    "It’s disappointing as hell [the way we played] but we have to move on now.

    "We've certainly reviewed where we need to be better and now it’s time to get back on the track and work hard on what we need to improve on."

    Widdop remains confident that the team will play finals football.

    The Dragons currently sit at eighth position on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder, tied with the ninth-placed Penrith Panthers on 24 competition points.

    "There are still five games to go and five games there that we can win," Widdop said.

    "We just need to find some balance and play consistent football over the next five weeks because it's been two steps forward, one step back recently."

    In order for the Dragons to re-visit their early season form – which saw the club start the season with six wins in their first seven games – the team will need to get back to basics, according to their skipper.

    "[Our inconsistent form] comes down to the simple things – our completion rate was around 60 per cent against Newcastle which is very low," Widdop said.

    "If you’re not completing high against any team, you’re not going to give yourself any chance of winning games."

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/08/02/widdop_no_point_dwel.html
     
  8. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    KICK-OFF: Bunker drama enough to make fans long for the old days

    Mitch Jennings@@Mitch_Jenno

    3 Aug 2017, 3 p.m.
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    TAKING FLACK: Despite all the steps in place, the NRL Bunker's decisions are made by one person with their finger on a button. Picture: Wolter Peeters


    Ignorance is bliss. It's an old saying, but old sayings contain some degree of perennial wisdom - it's how they become old sayings in the first place.

    It certainly comes to mind when digesting the weekly controversy surrounding referees and the multi-million dollar water torture, the NRL bunker.

    This week it was Dragons coach Paul McGregor in the spotlight for his criticism of referees with the NRL slapping a $10,000 fine on him for labeling the bunker calls in his side's loss to Newcastle "incompetent and embarrassing."

    In sanctioning McGregor on Tuesday, NRL head of football Brian Canavan said: “In simple terms, the rule is that coaches, players and officials should not discuss referees and their performances in the public domain.”

    That may be the case Brian, but we in the media are not restricted in what we ask and it’s our duty to ask questions surrounding the most pressing issue to arise in a match. All too often these days, it’s calls from the bunker.

    Referees boss Tony Archer has backed the decisions but you can bet your life savings (in Kick-off’s case$11.04) that, had the calls gone the other way, he’d have found a way to justify them as well.

    Truth is, calls in rugby league overwhelmingly come down to opinion. Back in the day, it was the judgement call of one referee, working with one set of eyes and therefore susceptible to one degree of human error.

    Kick-off was sitting on our regular stool at Dicey Rileys this week pondering that fact, when a fellow patron brought up Mark McGaw’s match-winning try in game one of the 1987 Origin series.

    It’s a moment just as famous for the panning shot of Maroons coach Wayne Bennett crying out “Oh Nooo” as McGaw, in the dying moments, planted a loose ball inches from the dead-ball line in a mad in-goal scramble.

    Referee Mick Stone briefly looked left, looked right, and pointed to the spot. The Blues won 20-16. Game over, discussion over. No “separation” no “evidence” sufficient or otherwise. In the words of Journey “life was so much simpler then.”

    “In those days that’s what you were trained to do, you were trained to make decisions,” Stone told Kick-off from his home in Forster this week.

    “All you had to do in those days was make a call. It wasn’t like I could defer to someone to make it. You made a hundred of them a match and that was just another call.

    It helped that he got the call 100 per cent right and you certainly can’t question his cajones as a ref (he famously sent The King Wally Lewis to the sin-bin at Lang Park, sparking a thunderstorm of XXXX cans falling from the sky) but he’s the first to admit he didn’t get them all right.

    “That was the thing in the day, you obviously wouldn’t get them all right, that was part of the deal. The players used to accept that.

    “You’d get majority of them right and get some of them wrong but they just shrugged and said ‘alright away we go’.”

    Human error will always be a factor but under the current system, the capacity from human error multiplies exponentially with each set of eyes. It multiplies again with each camera angle.

    Add the eyes of the millions watching and that grey area is starting to look like the milky way and that’s about how far we are away from refereeing perfection. As Stone told us, “you can have as many steps as you like, but at the end of the line is a human being with their finger on a button.”

    Every week, we watch multiple replays we’d rather not see. There’s so many different ones we can’t figure out how we feel about it from the couch.

    In the technological age, we simply can’t go back. Camera angles are provided by television networks with the aim of creating the total viewer experience.

    You can't give those charged with making crucial decisions less information with which to make them than the public who will scrutinise them.

    But boy, do we long for a time where we saw as much, or as little, as the on-field referee. Like the Winfield Cup, Simply the Best, and Cans of KB, those days are gone, but surely we can pine for them a little.

    Ignorance really is bliss.

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4828090/kickoff-life-was-simpler-then/?cs=3713
     
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  9. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Bremner & Apps named in Jillaroos Merit Team
    Sat 5th August, 12:00PM
    A A

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    Womens Intersate Challenge at Win Stadium,Wollongong . Picture : Gregg Porteous

    St George Illawarra Dragons Ambassadors Sam Bremner and Kezie Apps have both been named in the inaugural Harvey Norman Jillaroos Merit Team.

    Australian selectors have named the team based on those who played as part of the recent Women’s Interstate Challenge.

    12 New South Wales players feature, while five Queensland players were selected in the team.

    The announcement follows the recent confirmation of the Kangaroos Origin Merit Team.

    Harvey Norman Jillaroos Coach Brad Donald congratulated players from both Interstate Challenge teams and said selectors were faced with some tough decisions when finalising the inaugural Merit Team.

    “We’re fortunate to have an incredibly talented and committed playing group at the elite level of the women’s game and at a time when women’s pathways in rugby league has never been stronger,” Mr Donald said.

    “Those in this Merit Team not only deserve to be named due to their on-field performance, but every one of them has gone above and beyond to include and embrace new audiences, fans and participants, particularly in the lead up to the Interstate Challenge.

    “As a Jillaroos squad, which includes a majority of members from both Interstate Challenge teams, a representative from each Affiliated State, and a member of the victorious Australian Defence Force World Cup winning team, we now set our sights on preparing for the Rugby League World Cup.

    “Whilst those who were named in the inaugural Merit Team deserve recognition, we refocus now as one team with one goal and that is to defend the World Cup on home soil.”

    The Harvey Norman Jillaroos will kick off their World Cup preparations with a camp next month, with 8 August marking 100 days until the Women’s Rugby League World Cup 2017 matches get underway.

    The pool matches and semi-finals will be played at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Sydney from 16 – 26 November, with the men’s and women’s finals played as a double-header at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 2 December.

    Tickets to all women’s Rugby League World Cup 2017 matches are on sale now at www.rlwc2017.com

    The 2017 Harvey Norman Jillaroos Interstate Challenge Merit Team is as follows:

    1. Sam Bremner (NSW)
    2. Karina Brown – Easts Tigers (QLD)
    3. Isabelle Kelly (NSW)
    4. Corban McGregor (NSW)
    5. Jessica Sergis – Cronulla-Caringbah (NSW)
    6. Caitlin Moran – North Newcastle (NSW)
    7. Maddie Studdon – Redfern All Blacks (NSW)
    8. Ruan Sims – Cronulla-Caringbah (NSW)
    9. Brittany Breayley – Brothers Ipswich (QLD)
    10. Heather Ballinger – West Brisbane Panthers (QLD)
    11. Kezie Apps – Helensburgh Tigers (NSW)
    12. Jenni-Sue Hoepper – Townsville Women (QLD)
    13. Simaima Taufa – Mounties (NSW)
    14. Ali Brigginshaw – Brothers Ipswich (QLD)
    15. Elianna Walton – Greenacre Tigers (NSW)
    16. Lavina Phillips – Redfern All Blacks (NSW)
    17. Vanessa Foliaki – East Brisbane Tigers (NSW)

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/08/05/bremner_apps_named_i.html
     
  10. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Dragons have come too far to fall now: Widdop

    Mitch Jennings@@Mitch_Jenno

    7 Aug 2017, 11:35 a.m.
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    STILL IN IT: Skipper Gareth Widdop says the Dragons have everything to play for over the finals four rounds of the competition. Picture: Sylvia Liber


    ST GEORGE Illawarra skipper Gareth Widdop says his side have come too far this season to a let a finals berth slip at the final hurdle.

    Spoiled for finals action in his early career with Melbourne, Widdop has just one finals appearance – a golden-point loss to the Bulldogs in 2015 – to show for his three seasons in Dragons colours.

    He looked certain to add to it at the mid-point of the year, but the Dragons now sit on the verge of a stunning fade out of contention, after slipping out of the top eight for the first time this season.

    The slide has come on the back of losses to last-placed Newcastle and the out-of-contention South Sydney in the past two weeks.

    Having led the Rabbitohs by 10 with five minutes to play, Widdop admits the last-gasp 22-20 defeat was the toughest loss to swallow.

    “With where we’re at, and with the season we’ve had so far, the last few weeks have been really, really disappointing,” Widdop said.

    “We’ve worked so hard as a group to get where we are so to let it slip the last few weeks like we have, it really, really hurts.

    “On the weekend it was just one set, five minutes to go. We just can’t let that happen. Good sides don’t let it happen and as a team it was very, very had to take.”

    Having looked odds-on for a top four finish, Widdop said the prospect of going without finals action for the third time in four years is hard to stomach.

    “We play this game to play finals and win trophies, there’s no secret about that,” Widdop said.

    “When you put in the hard work and the effort that each and every one of us have put in, to not get the [finals] reward would really hurt.

    “It’s probably the most frustrating thing about it because, when we’re on, we’ve played some really good football this year.

    “We know we’ve got the players to beat any team on our day, we’ve shown that this year. To then have big lows like we’re having, to lose games like we’re losing, it’s the most frustrating thing about the season.”

    The Dragons wobbles come as their top eight rivals make late runs at the finals.

    Penrith have won nine of their past 11 games while Canberra sit just one win adrift of the Dragons following an emphatic win over Cronulla on Saturday.

    Two weeks after being touched up by the Dragons in Wollongong, Manly also returned to form with a come-from-behind victory over the second-placed Roosters.

    It puts the Dragons in a fierce battle to scrape into the eight but Widdop insists his side is still in the mix just as much at the other contenders.

    “You know how hard teams work to get there and, as a club, we’ve worked as hard as any team to put ourselves in a good position,” Widdop said.

    “We know what’s happened the last few weeks but we’ve got to move on from that, we can’t dwell on it. We’ve got everything to play for.

    “We’ve got four games left, four games to be won. It’s about mentally getting back on track and focused. We have to win these next few games and play well.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4837894/finals-finish-a-must-for-dragons-widdop/?cs=3713
     
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  11. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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  12. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Hutchison ready for maiden 2017 voyage
    Wed 9th August, 10:00AM
    A A

    [​IMG]


    St George Illawarra Dragons halfback Drew Hutchison can’t wait to lace up the boots for the first time this year when he runs out for Illawarra this Saturday afternoon at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah.

    Hutchison – who injured his ACL before Christmas – said that while the many months of rehabilitation have been tough, he has no concerns about a return to the field.

    "I don’t think I would play the game if I didn’t think I could," Hutchison said.

    "I’ve had seven to eight months to work on myself physically and prepare for a comeback game this year.

    "That started from the very beginning when I was in here the day after surgery getting physio."

    While Hutchison said he couldn’t wait to get the all clear to return to training, he admits that the medical staff made sure he wasn’t doing too much, too soon.

    "As soon as they told me I could start training on the field, I just wanted to do everything," Hutchison said.

    "[The medical staff] has been really good in pulling me in and telling me I have to do things the right way rather than going out and getting re-injured again."

    After winning an Intrust Super Premiership and State Championship with Illawarra last year, Hutchison says he has been keeping a close eye on their 2017 campaign.

    "I go and watch (Illawarra) quite often," Hutchison said. I’ve got a couple of close mates that play in that side."

    “It’s unreal some of the speed and skills they have. It’s probably going to make my job a lot easier this weekend in terms of playing them into space.

    "Hopefully we get a few wins in a row and make those semis again."

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/08/09/hutchison_ready_for_.html
     
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  13. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Frizell recharged after State of Origin drain

    Mitch Jennings@@Mitch_Jenno

    9 Aug 2017, noon
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    FIGHTING BACK: Tyson Frizell at Dragons recovery. Picture: Adam McLean


    HIS exploits in a Blue jumper have earned him reputation as one of the toughest players in the NRL, but Dragons ironman Tyson Frizell says the physical toll of Origin football pales in comparison to the mental drain.

    Frizell was one of the Blues best this season, despite carrying three separate rib cartilage tears and damaged ankle ligaments through what was ultimately an unsuccessful Origin campaign.

    His willingness to put his body through hell won him plenty of plaudits, but the 25-year-old said overcoming the mental letdown of a series loss is a far bigger hurdle.

    “At the end, you’re probably more mentally spent than anything,” Frizell said.

    “You only get three opportunities and it is really all-consuming because there’s so much work and effort behind the scenes that go into three games.

    “We had the opportunity there in game two to take the series and then it all pretty much flipped and fell in on us. To end up losing the series was really tough to take.

    “As much as it hurts a lot of fans and a lot of people on the outside looking in… giving that series away was very tough for the players.

    “It’s probably not what people see but we took it really hard because we were the ones to blame.

    “It’s not easy being a part of that and it was little bit mentally tough at the end of the series but there’s a bigger picture for us now at club footy.”

    “All I want to be doing in September is playing footy. I don’t even turn on the tele at all if we’re not a part of it." - Tyson Frizell

    Frizell missed just one game for his club through the Origin period –a golden-point loss to Canberra in round 19.

    He said that spell, and a run of longer turnarounds, have left him feeling rejuvenated heading into the final four matches of the season.

    “I had a couple of days to get away from footy after the last game and I can see an opportunity for us as a team and a club to put ourselves in a good position,” Frizell

    “I definitely struggled a little bit through the middle of the year but, I had a week off after the Origin period that definitely helped the body along.

    “It’s feeling the best it’s been in a little while now and hopefully that continues.”

    The Dragons recent hiccups mean Frizell has jumped out of the Origin cauldron and into the NRL finals fire, but he said switching his focus to club football has not been difficult.

    “Once Origin finished I had to refocus and worry about what needs to be done here at the Dragons,” Frizell said.

    “You put in so much hard work with the boys here every day it’s not hard to refocus and put all your energy into club footy.

    “We’ve lost an opportunity for us to be sitting in that top eight. We were there and now we’re not, so we’ve just made the job a little bit harder for ourselves.

    “We’ve had a tough middle of the year, but we’re looking to put in good performances for the rest of the year and hopefully that takes care of finals. If it doesn’t, then we’ll have let ourselves down.

    “All I want to be doing in September is playing footy. I don’t even turn on the tele at all if we’re not a part of it.

    “We see ourselves in contention in this competition and that’s where we want to be at the end of the year.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4843810/finals-worth-the-pain-for-frizell/?cs=3713
     
  14. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Sailor re-signs as Dragons bolster 2018 roster

    Mitch Jennings@@Mitch_Jenno

    9 Aug 2017, 3:01 p.m.
    [​IMG]

    STAYING PUT: Dragons young-gun Tristan Sailor has re-signed with the club for tow more seasons. Picture: NRL


    ST GEORGE Illawarra recruitment chief Ian Millward says the Dragons will be in a position to pick up some “bargain” players left out in the cold by an ongoing salary cap fight.

    Just a month out from the finals, the NRL is yet to confirm a salary cap figure for the 2018 season as they continue discussions with the clubs and the Rugby League Players Association.

    It’s a situation that could see big-spending clubs forced to offload players to get under a tighter cap than initially predicted.

    Millward said the Dragons have been conservative in their estimations of the eventual cap figure and relied on advice from the NRL in shaping their roster.

    "We're under specific instructions from the NRL on what the salary cap is so we feel we’re in a really comfortable position,” Millward said.

    “All clubs are being communicated with on a regular basis and we're complying with that. Obviously the other clubs are complying with it, that’s the reason they’ve got to unload some players.

    “I know everyone says they’re a little bit hard done by because they’ve got to get rid of players, but the reason they need to get rid of players is because we need to all comply with what the NRL directive was.

    “That’s the figure you’ve got to be under. We’re in a position where we are, some others aren’t and that’s why they’ve got to make some movements.”

    With Russell Packer departing, Millward confirmed the Dragons are in the market for a front-rower and said the club will also be in a position to pick up players deemed surplus to requirements elsewhere.

    “We’ve got spots available in our top 30 for next year and obviously with spots available we have money,” Millward said.

    “We’ve got four [roster] spots to go, that why we're actively looking for a front-rower and being patient for the right players.

    “We’ve got three other spots available where we are active but we’re waiting for the right person.

    “Because we have money and spots available we might be able to get some bargains that other cubs have to release at the moment.”

    In other recruitment news, Millward confirmed the club has locked down young-gun Tristan Sailor for two more seasons.

    The new deal will keep the son of duel-International Wendell Sailor at the club until the end of the 2019 season with the 19-year-old utility back to transition into the full-time squad from next year.

    Sailor represented the Queensland Under 20s side earlier this season and has been a key figure in the Dragons NYC side’s push into the top four.

    "Tristan has been quite exceptional this year,” Millward said.

    “He played in Queensland's Under-20s side, following in the footsteps of his dad and now he’ll follow in the footsteps of his dad being a full-time Dragon.

    “He’ll come into our fulltime squad. He plays numerous positions and I think we’re still to find out what his best position is.

    “He's a very talented fullback and five-eighth, he has really good vision, instinct and skills. We're really excited by his retention because we feel there's so much upside in him physically.”


    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4845112/dragons-well-placed-in-salary-cap-drama/?cs=3713
     
  15. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Dragons young-gun to make long-awaited return

    Mitch Jennings@@Mitch_Jenno

    10 Aug 2017, 2 p.m.
    [​IMG]

    COMEBACK TRAIL: "It's a knee injury, it's not like I've forgotten how to play footy." Dragons young-gun Drew Hutchison ahead of his return from a knee reconstruction this weekend. Picture: Robert Peet.


    DRAGONS young-gun Drew Hutchison is the first to admit that he “carried on a little bit.”

    But if anyone ever had cause, it was the 22-year-old Albion Park product. The 2017 season was supposed to be his.

    He finished the 2016 season by spearheading the Illawarra Cutters to an ISP double-crown and, following the departure of Benji Marshall, had been endorsed as the Dragons No. 7 for 2017.

    Coach Paul McGregor was telling anyone who’d listen that the former Junior Kangaroo had “flicked the switch” and was training the house down.

    It was all going to plan. And then it wasn’t.

    In the space of weeks, medical staff confirmed a training injury was an ACL tear that required surgery and the club confirmed Ben Hunt will arrive in Wollongong in 2018.

    It was a tough pill for anyone to swallow, with Hutchison making no secret of what his ambitions were.

    “Coming into preseason the club hadn’t signed Ben Hunt yet so in my mind I was telling myself I could be the long-term halfback at this club for the next five or six years,” Hutchison said.

    “It was a pretty good opportunity to do that and that’s the way I attacked it but it just wasn’t to be.”

    It’s been a mental battle but Hutchison, who will return to action with Illawarra this weekend, is confident he’s a more mature individual than the one who was left kicking stones earlier this year.

    “To be honest I carried on when it happened. I thought my world was about to end but, at the end of the day, it’s just an injury,” he said.

    “This is your career, it’s not your life. It’s been a hard one to take but I suppose you grow as a person. It’s about how you come back from it and that’s been one of the biggest motivators for me.

    “I won’t lie, there were days when I was in doing rehab and just thought ‘’stuff this, I just want to go home’, but it’s what being a professional is about.”

    Staff haven’t been able to fault Hutchison’s application in the rehab room, as he defied predictions that reconstructive surgery would end his 2017 campaign.

    “You always read stuff saying it’s a season-ending injury but, straight from day dot, I spoke to the physios and performance staff and they said ‘I reckon you can get back this year’,” he said.

    “I always had the goal of playing again this year, and to achieve that will be good, but I don’t want to make it all about myself.

    “We’ve still got a job to do as a Steelers team and consolidating a top eight spot is my primary focus.”

    Off-contract this season, Hutchison’s return is a timely one as he looks to secure his future, whether it’s with the Dragons or elsewhere.

    “I always said once I did the injury that I’d sort it out when I’m back playing so that’s something to focus on,” Hutchison said.

    “As soon as I injured my knee I thought ‘oh no, I’m never going to get an opportunity again’, but your performances take care of that.

    “I haven’t been playing footy to secure a contract here or anywhere else but hopefully now I’m back playing it’ll be clear in my mind where I want to go next.

    “It’s a knee injury, it’s not like I’ve forgotten how to play footy. I’d love to play in the NRL again, whether that’s now, two years, three years but it’s always up to you to sort that out.

    “Whether it’s here or somewhere else, you’re never just going to walk into an NRL team. It’s going to be up to me to train hard and get back playing good footy.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4844755/hutchison-graduates-from-tough-school/?cs=3713
     
  16. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Short-term focus for Dragons rookie

    Mitch Jennings@@Mitch_Jenno

    11 Aug 2017, 3 p.m.
    [​IMG]

    HERE AND NOW: He's been touted as the club's long-term No.1 but Dragons rookie Matt Dufty isn't looking past the 2017 season. Picture: Robert Peet


    ST GEORGE Illawarra livewire Matt Dufty doesn’t need to say the words for you to know he’s set his sights on being the Dragons long-term No.`1.

    It’s a position the Penshurst RSL junior has long been groomed for coming through the Dragons junior ranks.

    His stunning 55 tries in 65 NYC games for the club were at least part of the reason club recruitment chief Ian Millward – whose paid to look to the future – was keen to see Josh Dugan shift to centre next season.

    Dugan has since confirmed he will depart for Cronulla at season’s end, leaving a long-term vacancy at fullback that plenty have already penciled Dufty’s name into.

    After a stunning debut against Manly in Wollongong three weeks ago, there are plenty more willing to write it down in ink, none of which is news to the 21-year-old.

    “It’s obviously a goal but it’s not up to me,” Dufty said.

    “It’s up to Mary [coach Paul McGregor] and the coaching staff next year to decide who fits the bill.

    “We’ve got a lot of new players coming in and we’ll see what combinations work well and that sort of thing will be up to Mary.

    “Both Fieldy [Jai Field] and Killer [Kurt Mann] have played fullback this year and Killer played a few games there last year so they’ve both got a bit of experience.

    “We’ll have to wait and see but I’m definitely trying to put a foot forward towards the end of this year and play the best footy I can. Certainly I’ll be getting in next preseason and working pretty hard.”

    For now, he’s just happy living the dream.

    “It’s still a dream come true every week being out there with the boys,” Dufty said.

    “The longer the season went the less likely it seemed that Mary was going to change the team up because the boys were playing pretty well at the beginning of the year.

    “It was getting towards the end of the year and I wasn’t sure if I’d get a game but I just kept trying to play well in NSW Cup.

    “That week everything fell into place for me. There were a couple of injuries and Mary came up and said ‘I’m playing you’ and I was over the moon.

    “It’s still pretty crazy when you walk out there and, instead of a couple of hundred fans, there’s 12,000-plus.

    “I used to look around and be able to find my family easily in the crowd but now you’re lucky to see anyone you know. It’s a bit surreal.”

    A finals appearance just six games into is top-grade career would cap a stunning rise, but it’s something he’s only given brief thought to with his side locked in a tight top-eight battle.

    “It’d be pretty surreal, playing six NRL games and then playing a couple of finals,” Dufty said.

    “It would be unreal but right now we’ve just got to focus on finishing off the year and making sure we’re in the finals. That’s the goal we’re all working towards.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4848165/dufty-living-in-the-nrl-moment/?cs=3713
     
  17. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Dragons livewire unfazed by weighty talk

    Mitch Jennings@@Mitch_Jenno

    11 Aug 2017, 4:04 p.m.
    [​IMG]

    NO WORRIES: Matt Dufty is unfazed by size discussion: Picture: AAP


    HE’S looked far from out of place in three NRL appearances this season and Dragons rookie Matt Dufty insists he’s unfazed by suggestions his 80-kilo frame could struggle to meet the week to week rigours of a full NRL season.

    Barring injury, Dufty looks odds on to replace the departing Josh Dugan next season after grabbing his opportunity with both hands since being handed his debut three weeks ago.

    The 21-year-old said he will look to add some bulk to his frame in the preseason but neither he, or club coaching staff, have any concerns around his size.

    “I copped a bit of that [talk] when I was younger but not so much now,” Dufty said.

    “No one’s really told me that the last couple of years. There’s a lot of people my height or shorter in the NRL. The boys do look a lot bigger on TV.

    “Right now I’m around 81-82 [kilos]. I don’t if I got much heavier I’d get slower or whatever but my weight’s not really bothering me at the moment so I’m not too worried about it.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4849901/weight-not-an-issue-for-dufty/?cs=3713
     
  18. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Illawarra climb back into top eight with win over Bears
    Blake Edwards
    13 Aug 2017, 5:58 p.m.
    [​IMG]

    Rhys Kennedy scored one of five tries for Illawarra. Picture: Blake Edwards

    Illawarra continued their charge at the finals with a 30-16 win over North Sydney at UOW Jubilee on Saturday.

    The scarlet and whites were bolstered with the inclusion of Jake Marketo, Jacob Host, Kalifa Fai Fai Loa and 2016 grand final hero Drew Hutchison, who returned from an ACL injury suffered in the preseason,however, his impact was limited to just 40 minutes.

    Illawarra found their way across the line early through prop Rhys Kennedy, after receiving some quality service from playmaker Jack Payne. Adam Clune continued his impressive season, when he raced away to score off the back of a classy offload from Luciano Leilua to extend the lead to 12.

    The Bears finally hit back through Tautalatasi Tasi, before a leaping Fai Fai Loa went over in the corner to give his side a 18-6 lead at halftime. Second half tries to Leilua and Jacob Hind sealed the win with a late double to the Bears’ Abbas Miski bringing the final score to 30-16, with Illawarra stealing seventh position on the ladder.

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4851502/steelers-continue-top-eight-charge/?cs=3713
     
  19. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Illawarra outlast North Sydney in ISP
    Mon 14th August, 01:00PM
    A A



    By Blake Edwards

    Illawarra continued their charge into the finals after defeating the North Sydney Bears 30-16 at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Saturday.

    Illawarra were bolstered with the inclusion of Jake Marketo, Jacob Host, Kalifa Faifai Loa and 2016 grand final hero Drew Hutchison. The latter returning from an ACL injury suffered in the pre-season.

    Illawarra found their way across the line early through prop Rhys Kennedy, after receiving some quality service from playmaker Jack Payne.

    Adam Clune continued his impressive season, when he raced away to score off the back of a classy offload from Luciano Leilua to extend the lead to 12 in the opening quarter.

    The Bears hit back through Tautalatasi Tasi, before a leaping Kalifa Faifai Loa went over in the corner to give his side a 18-6 lead at half-time.

    Leilua continued Illawarra’s first half dominance, when he received a neat offload from Josh Kerr to tumble his way over the line. Jacob Hind followed suit a short while later to get his side's fifth of the afternoon.

    A late double to the Bears’ Abbas Miski wasn’t enough to get the Bears over the line, with Illawarra running out 14-point victors to secure seventh position on the Intrust Super Premiership ladder.

    Illawarra 30 (Adam Clune, Jacob Hind, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Rhys Kennedy, Luciano Leilua tries; Jai Field 5 goals) defeated North Sydney Bears 16 (Abbas Miski 2, Tautalatasi Tasi tries; Eli Levido 2 goals) at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah. Half-time: Illawarra 18-6.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/08/14/illawarra_outlast_no.html
     
  20. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Members Appreciation game announced
    Mon 14th August, 09:00AM
    A A

    [​IMG]

    The St George Illawarra Dragons will host their Members Appreciation game at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park against traditional rivals Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Sunday, September 3.

    The Dragons will show their appreciation to all Red V Members and fans with a number of initiatives planned for the club's final regular game of 2017.

    As thanks and in appreciation, all Dragons and Bulldogs members will be entitled to free entry as part of their 2017 club memberships.

    Members with entitlements to ANZ Stadium can bring along a friend for free.

    All adult tickets otherwise will be sold at a capped price of $25 and $40 per family, with free entry permitted for juniors 12-and-under.

    There will be no reserved seating on the eastern side of ANZ Stadium for the clash, so make sure to get in early to get prime seating.

    Rail transport to and from Olympic Park will also be included with each ticket purchase or membership card.

    For the sake of your stomachs, Sausage rolls and meat pies will also be slashed to the low price of $3 each until NRL kick-off.

    Any member purchase of Dragons merchandise over $50 on game day will go in the running to win a signed 2017 Dragons jersey.

    There will also be plenty of giveaways, entertainment, offers and activities for everybody's enjoyment throughout the day.

    In what is shaping up to be a decisive clash for the Red V's top eight fortunes, it will also be the final opportunity for members to see departing Dragons and Bulldogs players in a regular season fixture.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/08/14/members_appreciation.html
     

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