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

  1. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Dragons wary of 'big game player' Dugan
    Dragons Den News
    [​IMG]
    MICROSCOPE: Former Dragons fullback Josh Dugan. Picture: AAP
    Be it good or bad, former Dragons fullback Josh Dugan has always attracted attention. The only thing more astounding than his ability to find the spotlight, is his ability to thrive in its glare.

    It’s why his former teammates are bracing for the very best of the incumbent Test and Origin centre when he comes up against his former club at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Thursday.

    The shift to his former club’s arch-rivals is a new beginning for the 27-year-old, who endured a tumultuous final season with the Dragons in 2017.

    Off-contract, Dugan found himself at odds with Dragons recruitment chief Ian Millward over his market value and best position on the park. It saw him ultimately knock back a three-year deal to link with the Sharks.

    He also wore the brunt of criticism for the Blues Origin series loss following a now infamous trip to the Lennox Point hotel with teammate Blake Ferguson in the lead-up to game three.

    Coming up against his former club will again put Dugan under the microscope, but Dragons veteran Jason Nightingale says its somewhere his old mate has always thrived.

    “That’s just the type of guy he is,” Nightingale said.

    “When we had him here playing against Canberra, although he got sin-binned a couple of times, he was always right up for it. He’ll be nervous, that’s for sure, but he’s a big-game player and I’m sure he’ll have a big game.

    “He’s a competitive guy especially when his back’s against the wall – not that it is now, he’s just signed at a new club and played pretty well on the weekend.

    “I think just through the fact he’s playing his old club he’ll want to impress out of care more than anything else. I don’t think he’ll be out to rub our face in it or anything like that but he’ll want to be making a good impression and saying ‘hey look at me’.”

    Contract dramas aside, Dugan’s departure was somewhat ignominious after he sensationally missed the bus en route the Dragons round 25 clash with Penrith that ended in one of the best wins of their season.

    Coach Paul McGregor consulted his senior leadership group before making the decision to stand Dugan down but Nightingale insists Dugan left, and remains, on good terms with the playing group.

    “It was sad to see him go, as a playing group and as a friend,” Nightingale said.

    “I played with him for a long time and he’s a great guy Dugey. You miss [having] him on the trips down [from Sydney] and still speak to him a bit. It’s good to keep those relationships going and he’ll be missed at the club.”

    A disappointing defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs proved Dugan’s final game for the Dragons but he was one of the Kangaroos best in a successful World Cup campaign with Australia.

    He’ll be looking to emulate that form with his new club and Tim Lafai, who’ll directly oppose Dugan on Thursday, said the Dragons entire left edge will need to be on their game.

    “I think the boys are pretty excited to come up against Dugey,” Lafai said.

    “He loves the pressure situations so I’m sure he’ll be excited. He’s an Australian Test player and an Origin player so he’s definitely up there as one of the best centres in the game. I’ve got to do my homework with the guys on the left edge to shut him down.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5276864/dragons-wary-of-dugan-big-game-factor/?cs=3713
     
  2. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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  3. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Hunt’s Dragons debut just a taste of what’s to come: Widdop
    Dragons Den News
    [​IMG]
    Starting point: Tyson Frizell and Ben Hunt. Picture: AAP Image/Craig Golding

    After having nine halves partners since arriving in Wollongong in 2014, it’s with confidence Gareth Widdop believes Ben Hunt has barely even begun to unleash the Dragons’ attacking potential.

    Hunt setup one try and scored another in the 34-12 demolition of Brisbane in his Dragons debut, while Widdop threw two majestic passes to complete the demolition job.

    The only try neither had a hand in came when Jack de Belin caught the Brisbane defence flat-footed and barged his way over. De Belin was one of the eight halves to start a game alongside Widdop since he joined the club from Melbourne, including three – Michael Witt, Sam Williams and Adam Quinlan – in the first five games he played in the Red V.

    So while fans have only had their first taste of the Widdop-Hunt combination, the captain admits to feeling a new freedom on the field alongside a dominant halfback.

    “We’ve got a No.7 who’s going to be here for a while now, he’s here for another six years,” Widdop said on Monday at WIN Stadium.

    “I think we’ve had (eight) different halfbacks, chopping and changing, whereas now we’ve signed Benny, who’s a traditional halfback.

    “We know he’s going to be there, my focus is very simple, to do my job for the team and he does his.”

    Widdop said rather than his assists for the right-sided duo Euan Aitken and Jason Nightingale being set plays, they were the result of a dominant forward pack and a new-found licence to roam.

    “Having Ben there has freed me up a little bit, to run around the field,” he said.

    “I’ve just found myself in that position to thankfully score a few tries.”

    Hunt’s next assignment comes against 2016 premiers the Sharks, another team widely considered to be a finals threat come September, despite their opening round loss to North Queensland.

    It will be the first time Sharks recruit Josh Dugan will play against the Dragons, since he left Canberra for Wollongong in 2013.

    Widdop ruled out giving Dugan any special attention on Thursday, even if he starts in the No.1 jersey.

    “We all know Dugan’s a talent,” Widdop said.

    [​IMG]
    All smiles: Dragons captain Gareth Widdop was impressive against Brisbane. Picture: John Veage

    “He can play a number of positions.

    “… We won’t put too much focus into any individuals, it;s about ourselves.”

    Meanwhile, Broncos prop Jayden Su’a took a one-game suspension for an off-the-ball shoulder charge which shook Paul Vaughan.

    Su’a took the early guilty plea.

    TWO TO TANGO
    Widdop’s halves partners since joining St George Illawarra in 2014

    Michael Witt

    Sam Williams

    Adam Quinlan

    Benji Marshall

    Drew Hutchison

    Jack de Belin

    Josh McCrone

    Kurt Mann

    Ben Hunt

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/...just-a-taste-of-whats-to-come-widdop/?cs=3713
     
  4. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    NRL 2018: Dragons recruit James Graham eyes end to title drought
    Dragons
    • March 12, 2018 9:19pm
    • Source: AAP
    [​IMG]
    James Graham celebrates a Dragons try in round one.Source: AAP
    ST GEORGE Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has revealed James Graham is being driven by 11 years of grand final heartbreak and lifting his teammates to new heights.

    McGregor heaped praise on the English international prop after he played an integral part in the Red V’s NRL season-opening win over Brisbane.

    While Ben Hunt and Gareth Widdop earned adulation for their star turns, it was Graham’s efforts which McGregor said set the tempo for the game.

    Graham was let go by Canterbury following the recruitment of Aaron Woods and is motivated to win his first NRL title.

    He established a name for himself after helping St Helens to the 2006 Super League premiership but since then has played in a losing side in his last seven grand final appearances.

    He tasted defeat with St Helens in five straight deciders from 2007 to 2011 before having the chance again slip through his fingers with the Bulldogs in 2012 and 2014.

    Graham is a man driven to make up for his missed opportunities over the last 11 years.

    [​IMG]
    James Graham in action for the Dragons.Source: Getty Images
    “He’s a person of good character and character is the glue to your roster and a successful team,” McGregor told NRL 360 on Monday night.

    “It’s always ‘we’ before ‘me’. He’s a good leader and he’s got a great work ethic, you see the passion he plays with, he’s got a good footy IQ.

    “For me it’s just a bloke wanting to do something in the game that he hasn’t done yet. And that’s win a grand final.

    “And he’ll do anything for this football team to be successful.”

    McGregor highlighted Graham’s one percenters against the Broncos including at one stage making four tackles in a row and on another occasion forcing a Brisbane mistake off which his side scored.

    “They get belief. Because they see how hard James goes about his business at training,” McGregor said.

    “He’s not the quickest, he’s not the strongest, he’s not the biggest but what he does do is he’s committed. He does extras when everyone else is finished training.

    “He talks the right talk and he fights the right fights.”

    https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nr...k=532f0da58a27d2b15d745f0c842941d5-1520856965
     
  5. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    [​IMG]
    DRAGONS

    Why McGregor asked Leilua to play two games last weekend
    Author
    Brad Walter Senior Reporter
    Timestamp
    Tue 13 Mar 2018, 06:01 AM

    St George Illawarra Dragons interchange forwards could be regularly asked to play two matches per weekend if coach Paul McGregor believes they need more playing time or wants them to work on specific areas of their game.

    Backrower Luciano Leilua backed up after playing 22 minutes for the Dragons in last Thursday night’s 34-12 defeat of the Brisbane Broncos to play for the club’s NSWRL Intrust Super Premiership team on Saturday.

    Leilua, who carried the ball 32 metres in three runs and made eight tackles during his stint on the left edge, played another 40 minutes against Mounties at WIN Stadium.

    “Mary wanted me to get some more minutes and do some work on my defence so I just went out there to do that,” Leilua said.

    “It was just a last-minute thing. I came in on Friday and Mary just told me I could play on Saturday. He told me I have to get my defence right. I said, no worries, I will do whatever I need to do to get in the team. I think I played 40 minutes.”

    With players who don’t start an NRL match eligible to play in the Intrust Super Premiership during the same round, it is a move McGregor plans to use throughout the season if he feels it would benefit for the player.

    [​IMG]
    St George Illawarra Dragons back-rower Luciano Leilua. :copyright:NRL Photos
    Players who get limited time during an NRL match usually do extra training to maintain their fitness but most would rather play another game if they had the choice.

    “I love footy so it is not that hard if you love playing,” Leilua said. “I will do whatever I have got to do to keep myself in the team for the second round.”

    After the departure of Joel Thompson to the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, Leilua was under consideration for the starting left second-row position but Tariq Sims performed better in the trials and the 22-year-old admits he still has work to do to fulfil his potential.

    “I have got to earn my minutes, if I come off the bench I have got to make it my spot,” he said. “The team is going really well, they did an outstanding job [against the Broncos].

    “Tariq did really well and I will just come off the bench or do whatever I have to do. I think this is the year [for him], I’ve just got to focus on the little things, work hard and take it week by week or day by day.”

    https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/03/13/why-mcgregor-asked-leilua-to-play-two-games-last-weekend/
     
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  6. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    [​IMG]

    MEMBERSHIP

    Toowoomba Members Event
    Author
    Dragons.com.au dragons.com.au
    Timestamp
    Tue 13 Mar 2018, 11:53 AM

    Heading to Toowoomba to watch the St George Illawarra Dragons clash with the Gold Coast Titans in Round 3?

    Meet the players at our members only captain's run (training session) on Saturday, March 24 at Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba. Members are asked to register their attendance here.

    Not a member yet? Consider a Dragons Faithful – Toowoomba package for access to the event and a reserved seat in the Dragons member bay for the Round 3 game!

    It's only $119 for adults or $299 for a family (two adults and two children 14 or under)

    The Dragons Faithful – Toowoomba membership includes:

    • 1 x reserved seat ticket (section 17) to the Round 3 clash with the Titans at Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba
    • Red V member pack including member's choice item keyring, car sticker and lanyard
    • Additional member items, wall flag and member can cooler
    • All core Red V benefits listed here
    • Access to purchase flexible tickets throughout the season through the members portal at a discounted rate
    • Access to away game ticket discounts (subject to home team offer)
    • Entry to exclusive Red V Member 'meet your Team’ functions held when the Dragons play interstate (subject to the 2018 NRL draw and scheduling).
    • Merchandise discount based on years of continuous membership
    Click here for other membership options


    https://www.dragons.com.au/news/2018/03/13/toowoomba-members-event/
     
  7. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    NRL power rankings: Dragons off to a flying start
    Send via Email
    NRL
    1. St George Illawarra Dragons: Top of the heap after a mightily impressive win on Thursday night, thrashing their fellow top-four hopefuls the Broncos.

    Cracking start: James Graham and the Dragons were firing on all cylinders in round one.

    Photo: John Veage
    2. Melbourne Storm: The defending champs showed no signs of rust on Saturday in Perth, easily seeing off the Bulldogs.

    3. New Zealand Warriors: Perhaps the biggest shock of the round came in the first game of the double-header out west, with the Warriors winning in Perth for the first time ever, and in some style.

    Try time: Solomone Kata scores against Souths.

    Photo: AAP
    4. North Queensland Cowboys: Looked impressive on Friday night, and are loaded with talent all over the park.

    5. Penrith Panthers: Looked to be heading for a huge defeat to Parramatta before turning the game completely on its head. Brave win after being down 14-0 early.

    6. Cronulla Sharks: There are no tougher assignments in this league (apart from perhaps AAMI Park) than travelling to face the Cowboys. No reason to panic for the 2016 premiers.

    Gritty win: Benji Marshall.

    Photo: AAP
    7. Wests Tigers: Winning a shootout is one thing, but a tough, gritty performance against a competition powerhouse is even more impressive.

    8. Sydney Roosters: Cooper Cronk's first game didn't quite go to plan, but it's only a matter of time before things click for Trent Robinson's men.

    9. Parramatta Eels: It's now Tuesday, and they'll still be wondering how they lost on Sunday. A baffling capitulation. Can they bounce back from it?

    10.Gold Coast Titans: Most people's spoon favourites got off to a winning start thanks to a last-minute try, silencing the critics for at least the next few days.

    11. Newcastle Knights: A fairytale start for Mitchell Pearce - but a big test this weekend in Canberra, where they have had little success over the years.

    12. Canberra Raiders: Another embarassing blown lead for the Green Machine - picking up right where they left off in 2017.

    13. Manly Sea Eagles: Will have another chance at beaten one of the less-fancied teams in the competition this weekend. If they start 0-2 it might be time to start worrying.

    14. Canterbury Bulldogs: Kept at arm's length for the whole game by the Storm, but will be interesting to see them against lesser opponents.

    15. South Sydney Rabbitohs: An awful showing in Perth, and now Adam Reynolds is out for a month. Big trouble already in Redfern.

    16. Brisbane Broncos: Don't expect them to stay here for long, but a dismal showing on Thursday sees them anchored to the bottom of the ladder - and these power rankings.


    https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/sp...ns-off-to-a-flying-start-20180313-p4z44j.html
     
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  8. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Leilua determined to deliver NRL return on Dragons investment
    Dragons Den News
    [​IMG]
    Making waves: Dragons forward Luciano Leilua at Wollongong beach. Picture: Adam McLean
    Could this be the year Luciano Leilua makes a big splash in the NRL?

    Trimmed down after signing a contract extension to keep him at the Dragons until the end of 2020, the door swung wide open for Leilua to burst through when Joel Thompson left for Manly.

    Named the club’s best NSW Premiership player last year, coach Paul McGregor has invested heavily in Leilua in the pre-season games against Hull and South Sydney.

    The 21-year-old missed out for a starting spot on the left edge by Tariq Sims, playing 20 minutes off the bench in the 34-12 victory against Brisbane.

    But so determined are the Dragons to have Leilua firing, they made the decision at Friday’s recovery to thrust him into the reserve grade game, playing another 40 minutes against Mounties on Saturday.

    Leilua said he’s ready to deliver on his enormous potential.

    “I’d like to think this is the year,” he said.

    “I’ve just got to do those one-percenters right and just work hard, take it week by week.

    “Hopefully I can have a big year, I’ve got to earn my minutes, Taz (Sims) is doing an outstanding job. It was sad to see Joel go, but it was good for us back-rowers to be able to get in and try and earn that spot.”

    Leilua concedes it’s his attitude and technique which is under the spotlight by Dragons coaching staff as he tries to cement his place in the team.

    [​IMG]
    Tariq Sims

    He played five NRL games at the end of the 2016 campaign, but was overlooked last season.

    The decision to play a second game in 48 hours last weekend was welcomed by Leilua.

    “It helped minutes wise and also for my defence,” he said. “I’ve got to get my defence right.

    “I’ll do whatever I can to be in the team, I love footy, I’ve just got out there and just played.”

    St George Illawarra dominated through the middle against the Broncos, but interchange prop Jeremy Latimore warned they faced a fierce challenge against his former club the Sharks on Thursday night.

    Latimore has played at five NRL clubs since starting with Parramatta in 2009, including a stint with the Dragons in 2012 and last season at Cronulla.

    ''They have had a bit of success in the last couple of years and the Dragons have missed the finals so it is a new beginning for us,” Latimore said.

    “It is about consistency and doing it every week. We've got aspirations to be a top team so we have got to go out there this week and do that.''

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5280504/leilua-ready-to-make-sudden-impact-in-nrl/?cs=3713
     
  9. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Josh Dugan will be nervous ahead of Cronulla Sharks derby with St George Illawarra: Jason Nightingale
    • Dragon's Den
      [​IMG]
      Nerves: Jason Nightingale believes his former Dragons teammate Josh Dugan will be nervous ahead of their derby clash on Thursday night. Picture: John Veage
      Jason Nightingale believes former Dragon Josh Dugan will be nervous when St George Illawarra arrive in the shire for their derby clash with Cronulla on Thursday night.

      Dugan left the Dragons for their fierce local rivals at the end of last season after the Sharks announced in May they had signed the 27-year-old on a four-year deal worth a reported $3 million.

      The Australian Test centre and veteran of 12 State of Origin appearances for NSW has slotted in at centre for the 2016 premiers to replace Brisbane-bound Jack Bird.

      Fairfax Media reported in April that the Dragons’ hierarchy had told Dugan’s management they saw him as a long-term centre. Dragons coach Paul McGregor indicated he would continue to play Dugan at fullback, with Sharks coach Shane Flanagan making the most of the uncertainty to sign Dugan from under St George Illawarra’s nose.

      Nightingale was a teammate of Dugan for five seasons in the red v after Dugan had arrived from Canberra. Nightingale said Dugan would be feeling the pressure ahead of his first derby wearing the black, white and blue.

      “He’ll be nervous but I think excited to get out there and show us what he’s done in the off-season,” Nightingale said.

      “I only watched a little bit of their game but wherever he plays you know he’s going to give his all back against his old club. I remember when we played Canberra a couple of times he always turned up and got very excited about those games.

      “I’m sure we’ll focus a little bit more [on him]. Not so much myself because he’ll be on the opposite edge. Obviously he’s a great player and looking forward to going up against him again. I’m sure there’ll be a bit of banter later in the week.”

      Thursday night’s clash will be somewhat of a home game for Nightingale, a resident of the shire. He will know as well as anyone how much Cronulla will want to bounce back from their round one defeat to North Queensland on Friday night.

      St George Illawarra will take plenty of confidence into the clash given their explosive start to the campaign, blowing away a brittle Brisbane at Kogarah to start life with new star No.7 Ben Hunt at the helm.

      “I can’t wait. It’ll be great. I’ll have to stay inside for a couple of days leading up to it,” Nightingale said.

      “I can pretty much walk to the game. [But] I won’t be doing that because there’ll be too much heckling. But it’s great to play local derbies and especially for the 10 or 11 of us that live up close to Shark Park. It sort of feels like another home game with people wearing different jerseys.

      “It’s certainly easy to get positive energy after a win. I suppose the challenge when you don’t have a win is to turn up feeling good. So it is easier on these sort of days to turn up on the back of a good win.

      “As for the game, you saw every other game this week everyone started a bit slowly and found a bit more rhythm. It was always going to take us 10 or 15 minutes but in saying that we were happy with how we started. So pretty happy with the start and to be expected a bit of rust round one.”

    • http://www.theleader.com.au/story/5277950/dugan-will-be-nervous-nightingale/?cs=3833
     
  10. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    NRL 2018: Ben Hunt compares Dragons teammate Gareth Widdop to Broncos legend Darren Lockyer
    John Dean, FOX SPORTS
    March 13, 2018 8:48pm

    ST GEORGE Illawarra recruit Ben Hunt has given teammate Gareth Widdop the ultimate rap, comparing the five-eighth to Brisbane legend Darren Lockyer.

    Hunt and Widdop’s on-field partnership got off to the best possible start with the international duo firing for the Dragons in their huge season-opening win over the Broncos.

    Hunt, who played alongside Lockyer in his first three seasons of NRL, said Widdop shared plenty of similarities with the former Australia and Queensland champion — not just their positional switch from fullback to five-eighth.


    It’s an incredible statement given Lockyer is among the favourites to be named the ninth rugby league Immortal later this year.

    “I’d put Gareth up there with Darren Lockyer the way he does everything at training,” Hunt told Queenslanders Only.

    “I was lucky enough to have a bit of time with Darren and then to go down there and train with (Widdop) — his knowledge of the game and everything he does is excellent.

    “You come into a game and he’s the type of player, that if I do my job, he’s going to be even better.

    “The more I can do in the game to open it up for him; we’re going to do a lot of damage this year.”

    Hunt said his playmaking role at the Dragons had slightly changed from the way he played at the Broncos.

    He put that down to his conversations with new coach Paul McGregor.

    [​IMG]
    Gareth Widdop of the Dragons celebrates with his team in round one against the Broncos.

    [​IMG]
    “Paul told me midway through last year he wanted a genuine halfback, someone who can take control of the team and let Gareth play his natural game,” Hunt said.

    “I’ve come down and he’s asked me how I like to play and given me a few tips on how he’d like me to play as well.

    “He wants me to be more up on the ball and playing off my forwards.

    “The more I’m controlling the team and moving us around the better it’s going to be for the guys like Gareth and young ‘Duff’ (Matt Dufty) at the back.”

    After pass his first big test, Hunt’s focus now turns to Thursday night’s local derby against Cronulla at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

    It’s not the first rugby league derby the crafty playmaker’s been involved in, having taken part in the Queensland clash between Brisbane and North Queensland since 2010.

    [​IMG]
    Ben Hunt in action for Dragons. Picture: Phil Hillyard
    “It’s a bit of a strange feeling,” Hunt said of the Dragons-Sharks clash.

    “Everyone at training has been talking about how big of a derby it is and it’s a big clash going up against those guys.

    “Coming from Queensland, (Broncos-Cowboys) is one of the biggest derbies in the competition.

    “You get to Suncorp and there are about 40,000 people in the stadium. It feels like a finals game.

    “To be a big clash, it’s got a lot to live up to the Queensland derby.”



    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport...k=47600042205a27f699c0111cbe73f745-1520946712
     
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  11. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Dragons 2018: McGregor unfazed by Dugan's potential fullback switch
    Local Sport
    [​IMG]
    GUESS WHO: Josh Dugan and Valentine Holmes. Picture: AAP

    ST GEORGE Illawarra coach Paul McGregor insists there’s no bad blood with Josh Dugan, despite the former Dragons fullback’s ignominious exit from the club last season.

    Dugan found himself at odds with recruitment chief Ian Millward over his market worth and best position, with the Test and Origin centre stating that he saw himself as a fullback at club level.

    McGregor played Dugan at fullback for the Dragons’ opening 12 games before injury forced his shift to the centres for the final five games of the season.

    The 27-year-old ultimately knocked back a three-year offer from the Dragons to link with Cronulla on a four-year deal – ironically, debuting in the centres last week.

    Dugan’s departure was also clouded by the controversy that followed the Dragons’ round 25 clash with the Panthers last year, where he was stood down by McGregor after missing the team bus to Penrith.

    The tumultuous 2017 adds spice to his first clash against his former club on Thursday, but McGregor is adamant that Dugan left on good terms.

    “It’s what happens in professional sport, players change clubs, coaches change positions,” McGregor said.

    “As a professional sportsman you feel you know you’re own worth.

    “With Josh, he felt he required a certain amount of money that they didn’t come to terms with and he moved to a club where he got what he needed.

    “I wish him all the best, just not [on Thursday] night. He was very good for us for a number of years so he’s going to enjoy playing against his old teammates and old coach.

    “We just need to make sure that his night’s not a good one.”

    Dugan was named in the No. 3 on Tuesday but coach Shane Flanagan said he and Holmes will spend time at the back as he looks to cover the loss of young flyer Sione Katoa.

    ‘‘They’ll share the role tomorrow,’’ Flanagan said.

    ‘‘I think it will work well. We did it in the trials so it’s nothing new. Duges is a big body and we don’t expect him to play 80 minutes at the level I want him to play tomorrow at fullback.

    “There is a lot of work to be done there. It gives me the opportunity to flip him onto the centre and my centre onto the wing. We will go from there.’’

    McGregor said he hasn’t wasted energy on the Sharks fullback merry-go-round in the lead-up to Thursday’s local derby.

    “Both [Holmes and Dugan] are very good players, they’re very similar players, they like to run the footy more,” McGregor said.

    “They both run the ball with a lot of ammunition, they’ve got size, they’ve got speed. They’re both talented players whatever position they play.

    “Selection of other teams is for other coaches. It’s not really my concern right now. I’ve just got to make sure we prepare our boys the best we can.”

    “They’ll do what they do to win the game and we’ll do what we do to win the game. Whoever is at fullback we need to do a job on them.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/...zed-by-sharks-fullback-merry-go-round/?cs=302
     
  12. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    We've got no issues with Dugan: McGregor
    [​IMG]
    The Sharks' Josh Dugan (r) comes u against his former club St George Illawarra on Thursday. (AAP)


    St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor insists there are no issues with Josh Dugan ahead of the centre running out against his old club for Cronulla.

    Updated Updated 1 hour ago

    Paul McGregor insists there is no bad blood with Josh Dugan, heading into the Kangaroos centre's grudge match against St George Illawarra.

    Dugan will play his first game against the Dragons for Cronulla on Thursday night, since leaving the Red V at the end of last year after claiming he would not receive world-class money while categorised as a centre at the club.

    Dugan's final weeks at the Dragons were also controversial, after he was dropped for last year's round-25 clash with Penrith when he missed the team bus.

    There were also reports the 27-year-old had failed to return home on the plane with the team from Brisbane the previous week.

    But when asked on Thursday about the pair's relationship, Dragons coach McGregor insisted they were on good terms after Dugan's exit from the club.

    "I am," McGregor said.

    "As a professional sportsman you feel you know your own worth, and it's what happens in professional sport. Players change clubs, coaches change positions.

    "With Josh he felt he required a certain amount of money which they didn't come to terms with, so he moved to another club where he got what he needed.

    "I wish him all the best ... Except for tomorrow night."

    Dugan scored 28 tries in 84 games for the Dragons, playing mostly at fullback in his five-year stay with brief stints in the centres at the end of 2014 and 2017.

    He will shift back to the No.1 spot for much of the derby, after Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan said the role would be shared with Valentine Holmes.

    The Sharks coach noticed a lift in energy from Dugan at training this week while McGregor also expected the club's former big-name back to be pumped up.

    But Flanagan said that had to be kept in check after the rivals fought out two nail-biters last year.

    "I talk to all the players who come up against their previous clubs, and I've been doing it for years," Flanagan said.

    "It's not a personal battle, we've got to make sure we go out there and do the best thing for the team.

    "If it starts to become personal then you start to lose focus on the Cronulla Sharks, you're not going to do your job."

    Source: AAP


    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/we-ve-got-no-issues-with-dugan-mcgregor
     
  13. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    I had lost confidence': Old Dog Graham gets new lease on life
    By Andrew Webster
    Updated14 March 2018 — 7:20pmfirst published at 6:00pm

    James Graham is a 15-year-old kid with strawberry blond hair from a town just north of Liverpool in the United Kingdom who doesn’t dream of playing football at Goodison Park or Anfield but rugby league for St Helens and England.

    To celebrate victories, he and his teammates guzzle beers and then run at roll-down garage doors, just for the fun of it.

    If the 15-year-old James Graham could hear what the 32-year-old James Graham has just said in this café in the Sutherland Shire, he knows what would happen.

    He would kick the shit out of himself.

    “I’m not going to shy away from it: I do like it here,” admits the England captain of his life in Australia. “As hard as it is for me to say . . . ”

    Why is it so hard?

    “Because I know the 15-year-old me would want to kick the crap out of me for saying that,” he laughs. “I didn’t hate Australia — I just loved England. I still love it. That 15-year-old me would say you can go there but you will have to come back. We’ll see.”

    Graham might not have said this last season when he was captain of the Bulldogs, the club he joined in 2012 after starting his career at St Helens.

    Each week, as talk swirled about the future of coach Des Hasler and then himself, Graham would front media conference after media conference, ashen-faced, stiff-jawed, fixed stare, as reporters lobbed hand grenades in his general direction.

    “Without playing the victim, I’d like to think I kept ripping in at training and on the field but I had lost confidence,” he admits. “Like the rest of the team.”

    At first, the possibility of Graham being squeezed out because of salary-cap issues after the signings of Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran wasn’t plausible. By early September, his move to St George Illawarra was a done deal.


    A successful World Cup (save for England’s narrow loss in the final to the Kangaroos), pre-season training with his new club (that didn’t include running at garage doors) and a first-round bash-up of the Broncos have seen him reborn.

    He’s contracted for two seasons and has an option his way for a third if he wants to stay instead of having a farewell season at St Helens — but he’s already talking about playing on in the NRL as a 35-year-old front-rower.

    “So I don’t want this story to be about the Bulldogs,” Graham insists. “That all seems so long ago. ‘Mary’ [Dragons coach Paul McGregor] has really refreshed me. There’s a more relaxed approach here. He gives control to the players. I feel like I’m starting all over again.”

    Graham walked into Dragons training in the first week of January with a point to prove. “Which sounds crazy because he doesn’t have a point to prove,” Dragons forward Jack de Belin says.

    Instead, in a defensive session, Graham decided to prove a point.

    The team was split in two, working on its try-line defence, and Graham was in the attacking side. When the play broke down, he would sprint back to the 30-metre line, preparing himself as if the game was about to restart.

    But it wasn’t a game. It was training.

    “I thought, ‘Oh wow’,” recalls Graham’s front-row partner, Paul Vaughan. “We all just looked at each other. I’ve never seen that at any other club I’ve played at.”

    None of this would surprise those who played with him at the Bulldogs, and while Graham doesn’t want this story to be about the Bulldogs, some of it has to be.

    Former teammate Josh Reynolds is no longer at Belmore, either, and he can’t fathom why Graham isn’t still wearing blue and white.

    “Canterbury were mad to get rid of him, that’s what I reckon,” says Reynolds, who is now at the Wests Tigers. “He puts his heart and soul into everything he does. Isn’t that what you want? I know that’s the type of player I want to play with. Whatever the Bulldogs lost, the Dragons gained.”

    What will he bring to them?

    “I don’t know what he’ll bring to the Dragons this year, man,” Reynolds says. “I just know you could see in that first game against the Broncos that they were tougher. Something happened and he was the first in there.

    “It will help him not being captain. At the Bulldogs, that brought extra pressure: big club, good roster, everyone wants results. It all caught up with him. He was a great captain but sometimes he worries too much — because he cares about people.”

    Reynolds knows that better than most. At the Bulldogs presentation night in September, then-chairman Ray Dib revealed to the room that Graham had offered mid-season to take a pay cut so the club could retain Reynolds.

    The moment reduced Graham to tears.

    “And I was rattled,” Reynolds says. “We were always close but . . . I mean, the guy’s got a wife and kid and another on the way and he offered to do that for me? That’s special.”

    Raise the story with Graham and he becomes uncomfortable.

    “At that time, when Josh had rung me to say he was going to sign at Wests Tigers, I just wanted to do everything I could for him to say. I said . . . it’s weird because I don’t like talking about myself in this way.

    “There was a lot not going Canterbury’s way — coach under pressure, board under pressure — and I wanted to fix that. It was suggested to me the best way I can be part of the solution was to go. That’s not blaming anyone. I’m not going to play the victim with this move. It was my decision. It’s been a win for me, a win for Canterbury, and hopefully for the Dragons. It feels strange to talk about it now. It will always be part of me but I have moved on.”

    But before we do, a final word on Hasler, who helped Graham navigate some difficult times, not least the fallout from his alleged chomp on Billy Slater’s ear in the 2012 grand final as well as the explosive Good Friday match against South Sydney in 2015 that erupted after Graham gave away the match-winning penalty.

    “There were a couple of situations where he really stood up for me,” Graham says of Hasler, who was sacked in late September. “Not a lot of others would have. I will forever be in his debt. I’ve seen him once since it all unfolded but I will always have admiration for him. It’s easy to have a short-term memory but he took over that team that didn’t make the play-offs the year before and then we made the grand final.”

    Perhaps we’re all suffering memory loss. Cast your minds back to the heady days of the Slater incident. Think

    Loading
    back to Good Friday when he and David Klemmer’s eyes were rolling back in their heads with anger.

    Back then, the general dislike for Graham was Gallen-esque because of how he played and the way he spoke to referees. He fitted snugly into Hasler’s famed policy of getting the entire universe to loathe his side.

    But, in time, we’ve grown to respect Graham. He’s a throwback prop who plays hard on the field and speaks truth off it. When the Dragons meet Cronulla in the Shire on Thursday night, he'll be one of the most admired players on the field.

    We’ve swung his way. He’s part of the rugby league furniture. Imagine this game without Jimmy Graham.

    “Oh, I don’t know about that,” he laughs. “But I do like it here. I’d like to think I’ve changed a little bit to that 15-year-old kid wanting to play for St Helens, running at garage doors.”


    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/i-...m-gets-new-lease-on-life-20180314-p4z4bf.html

    P.S Thanks Hewi
     
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  14. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Dragons make best start under Paul McGregor

    Scott Bailey
    AAP / 33 minutes ago
    Share
    St George Illawarra are off to their best early start to a season under Paul McGregor following their come-from-behind 20-16 win over Cronulla.


    Dragons hold on to secure tense derby win



    [​IMG]
    Dragons hold on to secure tense derby win

    VIDEO Two late penalty goals gave the Dragons a 20-16 victory over Cronulla.

    After they fell behind 14-0 early, the Dragons had stars all over the field as they mounted their second-half comeback at blustery Southern Cross Group Stadium on Thursday.

    Gareth Widdop and Ben Hunt both had one assist each, their combination in the halves easily the most fluent during McGregor's tenure given Hunt's ability to guide the Dragons as their first specialist halfback since 2012.

    Tyson Frizell was also impressive for the second straight week, while Tariq Sims ran 153 metres with four tackle breaks to back up the forwards' domination of Brisbane last week.

    Centre Euan Aitken also scored once, and pulled off a crucial try-saver on former Dragon Josh Dugan midway through the second half to change the course of the match when he helped spill the ball loose over the line.

    [​IMG]
    The Red V is red-hot. Image: Getty

    Combined, they helped ensure the Dragons would go 2-0 at the start of the year for the first time since 2014 - the year Steve Price was later sacked as coach after they quickly fell apart and McGregor took over.

    "Our draw was tough the first two weeks playing against sides who have been predominantly top four for the last few years with Brisbane and Cronulla," McGregor said.

    "We've come away two-from-two, one at home and one away. It is pleasing but it is only two weeks."

    McGregor knows better than most coaches not too get over excited.

    The Dragons last year became just the third team since the top-eight system was introduced to miss the finals after leading at the end of the seventh round.



    He has used last year's disappointment to help fuel a Dragons side this season that are desperate to make amends.

    "For us it's maintaining an 80 minute game," McGregor said.

    "Last year we were good over 40 minutes for the whole year. We were good early for the first 10-12 weeks for 80 minutes then we dropped off.

    "It's just about us being consistent week to week in the game."

    https://au.sports.yahoo.com/league/a/39525056/nrl-dragons-make-best-start-under-paul-mcgregor/
     
  15. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Blood on the streets after footy match upset: Brawling fans pepper sprayed by police and taken away shirtless after late-night dispute in Sydney pub
    • Brawling football fans have been pepper sprayed and handcuffed by police
    • Images show the aftermath of the dispute outside Boyles Hotel in Sutherland
    • Fight followed Thursday's NRL clash between St George Illawarra and Cronulla
    By Peter Devlin For Daily Mail Australia

    Published: 09:55 AEDT, 16 March 2018 | Updated: 11:38 AEDT, 16 March 2018

    Brawling football fans have been pepper sprayed and handcuffed by police after a late-night fight outside a Sydney pub.

    Shocking images show the aftermath of the dispute outside Boyles Hotel in Sutherland following Thursday night's NRL clash between St George Illawarra and Cronulla.

    One image shows a shirtless football fan being handcuffed and made to sit on the side of the road while police deal with other patrons.

    Scroll down for video



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    +8
    Shocking images show the aftermath of the dispute outside Boyles Hotel in Sutherland

    [​IMG]
    +8
    Another shows a number of officers on top of a football fan as they attempt to restrain him.




    Another shows a number of officers on top of a football fan as they attempt to restrain him.

    A senior police officer at the scene confirmed to a Daily Mail Australia reporter the men had come from the pub and were fighting after the game.

    Three men, aged 39, 24 and 28, were arrested and charged with affray, a NSW police spokesperson said on Friday morning.


    'They were arrested in relation to their behaviour outside a hotel in Sutherland and were brought back to Sutherland police station,' the spokesperson said.

    The men were released on conditional bail.

    They are set to appear in court on April 5.

    [​IMG]

    A senior police officer at the scene confirmed to a Daily Mail reporter the men had come from the pub and were fighting after the game

    Three men, aged 39, 24 and 28, were arrested and charged with affray, a NSW police spokesperson said on Friday morning

    St George Illawarra overcame an early deficit to shock Cronulla 20-16 in a bizarre NRL local derby at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

    The Sharks looked to have the game within their grasp a number of times, leading 14-0 after 26 minutes and then with a man advantage midway through the second half when the game was locked at 16-all.

    But after a near perfect first half in attack, Cronulla could only muster three play-the-balls with Jason Nightingale off the field for a professional foul, handing the Dragons back-to-back penalty goals and the four-point victory.

    The men were released on conditional bail and are set to appear in court on April 5

    Blood on the streets after footy match upset: Brawling fans were pepper sprayed by police



    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...rested-St-George-Illawarra-Cronulla-game.html
     
  16. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    MEMBERSHIP

    Travel offers for Red V Members
    Author
    Dragons.com.au dragons.com.au
    Timestamp
    Fri 16 Mar 2018, 10:40 AM

    The St George Illawarra Dragons are happy to announce a brand new benefit for our loyal Red V Members in association with our existing rewards club offerings.

    Rewards club offers members exclusive discounts and deals with over 1,500 available rewards across different locations and businesses.

    This is in addition to our many existing benefits including ticketing and merchandise discounts and exclusive member events to meet the players!

    All Red V Members are now able to access a new benefit with club holidays – offering up to 75 per cent off holidays and travel which includes hotel and resort deals via https://www.clubholidays.com.au/redv.

    We understand that members are always looking for more value with their membership, and this new offer is made to benefit those looking to travel to away games.

    Become a member today and look for your promo code in your member emails to access these savings.

    Browse packages

    Join now

    For further detail or assistance, members can contact the Red V membership team on 1300 DRAGON or via email to: [email protected].

    https://www.dragons.com.au/news/2018/03/16/travel-offers-for-red-v-members/
     
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  17. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Hard yards paying off for Dragons superman
    Dragons Den News
    [​IMG]
    BIG PLAY: Winger Nene Macdonald's spectacular first-half try proved the telling moment in the Dragons 20-16 win over the Sharks. Picture: AAP
    HIS early contender for try of the year made the difficult look easy, but Nene Macdonald believes his crucial first-half four-pointer against Cronulla on Thursday was a reward for efforts far away from the paddock.

    Macdonald’s gravity-defying try in the 33rd minute cut the Sharks lead to 10 heading into halftime and proved telling as the Dragons ran the hosts down in the second half.

    The 23-year-old’s effort in pulling a Gareth Widdop kick out of the air and planting the ball milimetres inside the touch-in-goal chalk, despite the attention of Valentine Holmes, was enough to grab the attention of AFL scouts.

    “I might have to switch codes,” Macdonald joked post-match.

    “It goes like that, but when you’re up in the air it feels like you’re up there for a long time. It felt like I was up there for a while and as I was coming down I was just trying to put it down on an angle because I knew if I put it down flat it was going out.

    “It was 50-50 there, I thought I had it but then they said ‘no try’ went to the video ref and I doubted myself a bit. When it came up ‘try’ I was pretty happy with it.

    “It was a tough first half and we faced a bit of adversity but in the second half we came out firing. We had the wind behind us and we knew if we could hold them to 16 and just play our footy we could get the points.”

    While the spectacular try grabbed most of the attention, coach Paul McGregor was just as impressed with the PNG International’s double effort that forced an error from Kurt Capewell five minutes from fulltime, and his whopping 202 run metres, the bulk of them coming out of trouble.

    “He had a very good night Nene,” McGregor said.

    “We’ve all always cheered his talent, but now his work ethic’s starting to meet his talent. To finish off a movement like that, with no room, and get the ball down was pretty special.

    “If he keeps on the right track that kid could do what he should do in footy which is reach the top because he’s a very good player.”

    Macdonald said it’s a lesson he’s learned in five seasons since debuting as teenager with the Roosters in 2013, and one he leaned on as he carried a knee injury from lat year’s World Cup through preseason..

    “Coming in young, there’s obviously a lot of talented players coming through who get all the attention,” Macdonald said.

    “You don’t see all the boys who’ve been playing for years who do all the hard work people don’t see. People see the highlights and the tries but there’s a lot of work that goes into it.

    “I feel like every year since I’ve started it’s gotten harder and harder. Defensively taking those hit-ups is so tough with players putting their bodies on the line and just gets tougher and tougher.

    “My knee’s been holding me back since the World Cup. It’s been pretty tough but the physios have been right on top of me making sure I’m doing everything right.

    “I’m starting to get the rewards for all the hard work I’ve been doing and it feels good just to be out there with the boys.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5289160/hard-yards-paying-off-for-dragons-superman/?cs=3713
     
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  18. Drag Queen

    Drag Queen Juniors

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  19. Drag Queen

    Drag Queen Juniors

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    Keep forgetting how young this kid is. We acquired him at the right time. Going great guns Nene.
     
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  20. dragonssamy61

    dragonssamy61 Bench

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    Drag
    Without going into it on a forum.
    He has had a lot to deal with in his life and I hope that I'm right .
    He seems to have matured a lot.
    Agree keep up the good work nene.
     
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