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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 2018: Sims to continue putting fear into rival halfbacks
    Dragons Den News
    [​IMG]
    FEAR FACTOR: Tariq Sims has given opposing halfbacks nightmares this season. Picture: Sylvia Liber

    WHEN Dragons enforcer Tariq Sims retires from rugby league, he could make a very good solicitor.

    At least that’s the impression you get when you ask the 28-year-old about his recent penchant for turning games into an 80-minute nightmare for opposing halfbacks.

    “It’s not [my job] to hunt halfbacks, it’s to apply pressure to halfbacks in a legal manner,” he said with a grin when asked if he goes out to target the No. 7s.

    He did it so successfully against Cooper Cronk in his side’s win over the Roosters last week, Blues coach Brad Fittler tossed him up a potential fix for Dragons teammate Ben Hunt at Origin level.

    His effort on Cronk did his NSW selection chances no harm but - while he makes no apologies for his aggression – Sims stressed it’s never his intention to harm his rivals.

    “It’s a game of rugby league, it’s a physical game,” Sims said.

    “It’s no secret I’ve been in trouble with the judiciary before so I’ve had to adapt my game.

    “It’s a contact sport so you’d be crazy not to think some tackles might get away from you but I definitely don’t go out there to hurt or injure anyone.

    “If I’m called upon to do a [similar] job, I’ll do it. If [NSW] want someone that’s not going to take a backward step with a bit of attitude and a bit of starch in defence, I’m your guy.”

    It’s not just his ability to pressure halves that’s thrust Sims into Origin contention, with the Gerringong product providing just as many headaches with ball in hand.

    It’s seen the odds on a long-awaited Origin debut shorten dramatically but, having suffered his fair share of setbacks throughout his career, he’s not counting his chickens.

    “There’s still a long time until a team’s picked for NSW,” Sims said.

    “Obviously I want to be involved in it but a lot can change in one week.

    “I could play really good football and put myself in a better position, or I can play terrible football and get spat out the back door.

    “I’ve broken my leg twice, had shoulder surgery, wrist surgery, I’ve done my time on the sideline so I’m under no illusions.

    “[In] tomorrow’s training session I could go out and hurt myself and my career could be in jeopardy so I just take it day by day.”

    The Dragons win over the Roosters sets up a monster showdown with Melbourne on Sunday, with the Storm coming off an equally impressive Anzac Day thrashing of the Warriors.

    Both sides will be coming in off an 11-day turnaround and Sims said his side will be primed for the clash after being give a four-day spell by coach Paul McGregor.

    “Mary gave us a few days off to get away and unwind from footy for a while because the Anzac Day game is such and emotional and physical game,” Sims said.

    “You can’t stay on that adrenaline cloud for an 11-day turnaround, it’s just unrealistic.

    “We all had to take two seconds and get away and unwind a bit from footy but we’re right back into it.

    “Melbourne have been the benchmark for so many years and, going on their last two performances, they’re definitely building into the Storm that we all know and expect week in week out.

    “They compete for every scrap and we’re under no illusions, they’re coming here to pick a fight. We’ve got to be up to the challenge.”

    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au...rcer-a-nightmare-for-rival-halfbacks/?cs=3713
     
  2. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    We show Storm too much respect: Dragons
    [​IMG]
    Tyson Frizell says the Dragons have showed Melbourne too much respect in the past. (AAP)


    St George Illawarra have shown perennial heavyweights Melbourne too much respect in recent years, according to star Dragons forward Tyson Frizell.

    Updated Updated 1 hour ago

    St George Illawarra star Tyson Frizell admits the Dragons have shown Melbourne too much respect in recent years - but all that will change in Sunday's anticipated NRL showdown.

    The competition leaders will face off against the in-form defending premiers at UOW Stadium in what will be a serious test of the Dragons' premiership credentials this season.

    "We try and test ourselves every week and try and play the best we can, not worry too much about the opposition, like we have in the past," Frizell said on Tuesday.

    "Probably in the past we've given Melbourne too much respect.

    "They're a good team. We do show them that respect, but we need to be playing to our standards and worrying about ourselves and not too much about the opposition."

    The Dragons sit outright first after winning seven of their opening eight games, however Melbourne have bounced back from a slow start to their campaign with three consecutive victories.

    The Storm have scored a combined 124 points in that period, an average of over 41 points a game, but Frizell is adamant he and his teammates can compete with them.

    "What we're worried about as a group is that we play to our potential. We've been playing pretty consistent at the moment and I'm sure if we continue that, we'll be in with a chance," he said.

    Frizell also bristled at suggestions the Dragons would falter as they did last year, when they began with a 6-2 record to lead the competition only to spectacularly collapse and miss the finals.

    The Dragons also won six of their opening eight in 2015 only to be eliminated in week one of the finals, however Frizell said they were a different team this season.

    "We're not trying to prove anything to anyone else. We're just trying to play well every week, prepare well and try not to worry about what's happened in the past," Frizell said.

    "It's a pretty different team this year round and a different kind of environment.

    "People are waiting for us to slip up and see how long our run's going to last for, but I'm sure we're going to be winning more games than we lose this year."

    Source: AAP


    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/we-show-storm-too-much-respect-dragons
     
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  3. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    [​IMG]

    DRAGONS

    Tariq prepared to hunt Dragons teammate Ben in Origin
    Author
    Brad Walter Senior Reporter
    Timestamp
    Tue 1 May 2018, 05:00 PM

    St George Illawarra enforcer Tariq Sims insists he would be prepared to target Dragons teammate Ben Hunt in State of Origin the same way he did Sydney Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk during last Wednesday's Anzac Day clash.

    Sims, who is playing in his preferred left edge second-row role for St George Illawarra this season, stormed into NSW contention with a hit on Cronk, which forced the ball loose and won the admiration of Blues coach Brad Fittler.

    Asked during the Channel Nine commentary of the match how he would stop Hunt, who is favourite to replace Cronk as the Queensland halfback, Fittler said: "Stick Tariq Sims on to him."

    Sims, who was on the cusp of Origin selection in 2011 and 2015, said he would have no hesitation in dishing out the same treatment to Hunt if asked to by Fittler.

    "That's footy and if I am called upon to do a job I will do it," Sims said. "If they want someone who is not going to take a backward step, with a bit of attitude and a bit of starch in defence, then I'm your guy."

    Dragons right-edge second-rower Tyson Frizell, considered a certain selection by Fittler, endorsed Sims for the Holden State of Origin series and described his tackle on Cronk, which was comparable to a quarterback being sacked in NFL, as a turning point in the St George Illawarra's 24-8 win.

    [​IMG]
    Dragons forward Tariq Sims. :copyright:Grant Trouville/NRL Photos
    "That set could have turned into a repeat set and we would have been on our line again but Tariq came up with a big play," Frizell said.

    "It's something in our game that you classify as a one percenter, and you don't really get recognised in the stats department.

    "He has been making those big plays over the past couple of weeks and has been making it very hard for opposition No.7s. Hopefully he can keep doing that."

    After winning the duel with talented rookie Luciano Leilua for the starting position made vacant when Joel Thompson finalised a move to Manly in late December, Sims is fulfilling the potential he demonstrated as a 21-year-old playing outside Johnathan Thurston at North Queensland.

    Since then Sims has suffered two broken legs and undergone shoulder and wrist operations, while he has had to improve his discipline after developing a poor judiciary record.

    Until joining the Dragons from Newcastle midway through the 2016 season, the 28-year-old had always played as a second-rower but spent the past 18 months as a middle forward before telling coach Paul McGregor he wanted a chance in Thompson's position.

    "In the pre-season, it was a bit uncertain because Joel was here until about two weeks before the season started so I just kept playing my role and floating in between the middle and the back row

    If they want someone who is not going to take a backward step, with a bit of attitude and a bit of starch in defence, then I'm your guy.

    Tariq Sims
    "Hopefully that adds another string to my bow when it comes to the Blues squad in that I can actually play in the middle, mix it up with the big boys and then go out to the edges if the edges are a bit tired."

    Asked if his job was to "hunt" halfbacks, Sims said: "It is to apply pressure to halfbacks in a legal manner."

    With seven wins from their opening eight matches, the Dragons are the NRL's form team and could have as many as six players Frizell, Sims, Jack de Belin, Paul Vaughan, Cameron McInnes and Euan Aitken - in the NSW team, along with Hunt in the Maroons team.

    However, they face their biggest test on Sunday at Jubilee Oval against premiers Melbourne, who thrashed the Warriors 50-10 on Anzac Day.

    Meanwhile, Sims spoke out in support of his sister Ruan after she stood down as a Dally M Medal judge in the wake of criticism the co-captain of the Jillaroos World Cup winning team had been unable to watch a game live because it clashed with her own match.

    "I am going to stick by my sister because she is the best big sister in the world, she has spearheaded the women's rugby league game in Australia and been an inspiration for many young girls out there," he said.

    "She is upset about what has happened."

    Blues Out For Blood!


    https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/05/01...dragons-teammate-ben-hunt-in-state-of-origin/
     
  4. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Gareth Widdop says St George Illawarra Dragons have eye on more success ahead of Melbourne Storm test
    • Dragon's Den
      [​IMG]
      Leader: Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop has led the club to the top of the NRL table ahead of their clash with Melbourne at Kogarah. Picture: Chris Lane

    • Gareth Widdop believes St George Illawarra’s blistering start to the season is no surprise – and hopes there is plenty more success to come.

      The Dragons captain will lead his side in their clash with his former club Melbourne on Sunday. A big crowd is expected at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah for what is undoubtedly the match of the round.

      St George Illawarra will have enjoyed an 11-day turnaround from their Anzac Day win over the Roosters as they sit proudly on top of the NRL table after eight rounds.

      But Widdop told the Leader while many outside the club have been surprised, the Dragons’ red hot start was deserved reward – and the red V is aiming a lot higher than just a finals finish.

      “I wouldn’t like to say surprised. Every year you have to start off with that confidence and believe what you’re about. I’d like to think it’s not just luck but all the hard work the boys have done in the pre-season,” he said.

      “We’ve obviously had a couple of new signings at the club, a few of the younger boys are a year older and more experienced. I think we’ve worked hard to get to where we are now.

      [​IMG]
      Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop. Picture: John Veage

      “We understand it’s a long year, we’re only about a third of the way through the season with a lot of football to be played. But I’d like to think it’s everyone doing their job and putting the team before themselves which is something we’ve spoken a lot about.

      “It’s no secret we all play this game to win premierships. We’re not here to make up the numbers. But there has to be a process in place we need to stick to to achieve that. It’s a long season but certainly we’ve got a lot of belief, we believe in our standards at the club and we like the way we play football.

      “We’re doing what the coach asks of us. We’re doing the little things every week that people don’t see behind the scenes. It’s the old cliche of taking it week by week and ticking off what we need to do but hopefully we will have some success at the end of it.”

      It’s no secret we all play this game to win premierships. We’re not here to make up the numbers.

      Gareth Widdop
      Widdop has been in sparkling form, building a formidable halves partnership with former Bronco Ben Hunt.

      But the five-eighth gave credit to his side’s forwards for St George Illawarra’s start and his own form. With Paul Vaughan, James Graham, Tyson Frizell, Tariq Sims and Jack de Belin among their pack, their forwards are arguably an even more daunting challenge for opposing teams.

      “Any half would say it, the forwards we’ve got are doing such a good job that it makes my job a hell of a lot easier,” Widdop said.

      “The spine, myself and Benny, [Matt Dufty] and Cameron McInnes, it’s important we’re on the same page and I feel like we’re getting a little bit better each week.

      “But the forward pack have done a tremendous job. Collectively as a team we’re playing some really good football but I feel like we’ve still got improvement left in us.”

      He may have left the Storm five years ago but playing against his former club is still a special occasion for Widdop. A win at Kogarah on Sunday would give the Dragons another shot of confidence as well as making a statement to the rest of the competition.

      While many have been waiting for the Dragons to fall over, victory over the Storm would again prove their premiership credentials.

      “I’m looking forward to it. I suppose whenever you come up against your old club it’s always special. Being up at Kogarah as well. It’s a big challenge and it’ll be a long week waiting for it,” Widdop said.

      “The NRL at the moment anyone can beat anyone on their day. It’s a test each week. We understand the Storm have been the benchmark for a number of years now. They play consistent football every week. But for us it’s about what we can control, our individual preparation and performance and only worry about us as a team. If we can do that again to the best of our ability I’m sure we can put on another good performance.

      “I’ve been away from Melbourne for a while now and I’m well and truly settled at the Dragons. But I’ve still got a few mates down there that makes playing them extra special.

      “I haven’t seen much of them but we all know with Melbourne there isn’t too much between their best and worst performance. They’ve built their reputation on that for the last 10 years with [Craig Bellamy] in charge. With [Cooper Cronk] leaving it was always going to take a little bit of time to sort out their combinations but for us we’ve got to just focus on us as best we can and keep making sure we’re living up to our standards.”

      The Dragons and Storm will again play for the Emergency Services Cup, with a special ticket offer for emergency services personnel.


      https://www.theleader.com.au/story/...-in-it-to-win-it-ahead-of-storm-test/?cs=3833
     
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  5. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Dragons 2018: St George Illawarra out to earn own respect against Storm
    Local Sport
    [​IMG]
    NEW FOCUS: Dragons star Tyson Frizell says his side have spent too much energy analysing their opposition in the past. Picture: AAP

    Melbourne has earned its fair share of respect over the years, but it’s something St George Illawarra have given the reigning premiers far too readily according to Dragons back-rower Tyson Frizell.

    The Storm have won eight of the last 11 games against the Dragons heading into their clash at Jubilee Oval on Sunday, and have hit top form in recent weeks, posting 124 points.

    The Dragons are 7-1 and coming off an impressive Anzac Day victory of their own, but there’s no doubt Melbourne present their biggest test of the year thus far.

    Frizell is no stranger to the likes of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cameron Munster and Will Chambers having won last year’s World Cup alongside them.

    They’ve also proven a major thorn in his side having lost out to Melbourne's Queensland contingent in the past two Origin series’ with NSW

    It leaves him well aware of their capabilities, but Frizell said it's something his side has dwelled on too much ahead of previous meetings.

    “I think in the past we’ve probably given Melbourne too much respect,” Frizell said.

    “Even though they’re a good team, and we always show them that respect, we need to be playing to our standards and worrying about ourselves.

    “We try and test ourselves every week and try to play the best we can and not worry too much about the opposition like we have in the past.

    “In a game footy you do need to do a little bit of homework on them but we know how they play.

    "They’ve been doing the same sort of thing for quite a while now and doing a good job at it.

    “We know a Melbourne team will never beat themselves and we can’t give them any sort of opportunity to beat us on the weekend.

    "We know we can compete with them if we play to our potential but we'll need to be at our best.

    “We’re playing pretty consistently at the moment and I’m sure if we continue to do that we’ll go in with a good chance.”

    A win on Sunday would rubber-stamp their title credentials, but Frizell insisted his side doesn't feel a need to prove themselves to knockers expecting their bubble to burst as it has in previous seasons.

    “We’re not trying to prove anything to anyone else,” he said.

    “We’re just trying to play well every week and prepare as best we can. We’re not worried about what’s happened in the past.

    “I guess people are waiting for us to slip up and see how long our run is going to last for, but I’m sure we’re going to be winning more games than we lose this year.

    “It’s a fresh start every year and, with the players we've brought in, it’s a pretty different team this year and a pretty different environment.

    “Even though [fading out] has been a bit of a continual thing, there’s a lot more belief this time around.

    “I know we probably said the same thing at this time last year but I definitely feel the way the boys are playing we’ll continue to progress through the rest of the year.”


    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5375327/red-hot-storm-hold-no-fear-for-2018-dragons/
     
  6. Gareth67

    Gareth67 Bench

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    Should the Dragons beat the Storm this weekend then I for one would more confident of finishing towards the top end of the competition ladder . Any type of victory over Melbourne would be worth its weight in gold .

    To get over the top of this team which does have class and also that relentless go forward about them , would require another team to be at least its equal . This will be the Dragons acid test , this will show just how far the team has progressed since the last few years of utter disappointments .

    Should the Big Red V be running a victory lap on Sunday afternoon , then it shall be well deserved. Dragons by 6 :innocent:

    ### ( My apologies gentlemen I have the wrong thread . ###
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  7. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Robson set for NRL debut in crucial Dragons clash
    • Dragons Den News
      [​IMG]
      Talented junior: Dragons' Reece Robson. Picture: Adam McLean.

    • Junior Kangaroos representative Reece Robson is in line to make his NRL debut after being named in the Dragons 17 for Sunday’s clash with the Storm.

      The emerging hooker will likely act as a backup for Cameron McInnes in a move that indicates coach Paul McGregor is preparing his side for the Origin period, in which McInnes, and potentially four other forwards, could be missing from the competition leaders.

      St George Illawarra fullback Matthew Dfuty has confidence Robson will slide straight into the side should he take to the Jubilee Oval turf on Sunday.

      “He’s been doing the job in NSW Cup,” Dufty said. “He’s been working hard at training and he’s getting a crack this week.”

      Robson played SG Ball with the Dragons and featured in the Australian Schoolboys and NSW Under 18s sides in 2016.

      He then backed an impressive 2016 with an outstanding 2017, gaining NSW Under 20 and Junior Kangaroo selection.

    • https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5376270/robson-in-line-for-nrl-debut/?cs=3713
     
  8. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    The Stunning Stat that Highlights Dragons incredible dominance

    COMPLETION rates.
    Whether you win or lose they are the cliches of choice for the modern NRL coaches, crediting a victory with possession dominance and putting a loss at the foot of a percentage less than 70.

    But a completion rate will only tell you so much.

    What use is a high completion rate if you do little with it when you have it?

    Round 9
    The Dragons are flying high on the back of six more uses of the football per game than their opposition. Photo: Phil HillyardSource: News Corp Australia


    The Bulldogs and Eels are both in the top eight through eight rounds for completion rates but for the most part struggled to find their way across the opposition tryline.

    The top clubs for completion rates in the first two months — Wests Tigers, Dragons, Warriors and Knights — are all well placed but there is something that St George Illawarra is doing that sets them apart from the pack.

    A long way apart.


    Statistics obtained by the Fox Sports Lab demonstrate just how far in front the Dragons are when it comes to uses of the football.

    The Dragons’ 31.4 sets per game is the best in the NRL but it is their number of sets they allow their opposition to get through — 25.1 per game — that has contributed to their seven wins from eight games and top spot on the ladder.

    That is a difference of 6.3 more sets per game, more than double the next best, Sunday’s opponent the Melbourne Storm.

    On what will (hopefully) be a sunny Sunday in Kogarah, the competition leaders go head-to-head against the in-form defending premiers, a proposition that has fans and players excited.

    “We’re under no illusion that they’re coming here to pick a fight and we’re going to be up to the challenge,” Dragons backrower Tariq Sims warned earlier this week.

    “Going on their past two performances the Storm are definitely building into the Storm that we all know and that you expect week in and week out.”

    The two forward packs are littered with current and prospective representative players who like to assert themselves physically.

    It’s that contest that has Matthew Johns particularly excited by what Sunday may bring.

    “The two packs, it’s going to be fantastic,” Johns said on Triple M’s Grill Team.

    “James Graham, Paul Vaughan, Tyson Frizell, Tariq Sims and Jack de Belin, that (Dragons) pack is just so good.

    “But they’re coming up against (Dale) Finucane, (Felise) Kaufusi, (Nelson) Asofa-Solomona and of course the bloke that pulls the strings in the middle of it, Cameron Smith.

    “It’s going to be great, I can’t wait.”

    https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nr...s/news-story/5b46215df204744b23bafccd68a5c64b
     
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  9. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    [​IMG]
    INDIGENOUS ROUND

    2018 Dragons indigenous jersey launched
    Author
    Dragons.com.au dragons.com.au
    Timestamp
    Thu 3 May 2018, 12:25 PM

    St George Illawarra have today unveiled their 2018 indigenous jersey ahead of the Dragons' Round 10 Indigenous Round clash against the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Sunday, May 13.

    The Dragons indigenous jersey will for the first time include a combination of designs from three local artists: Lani Balzan, Keiran Campbell and Koori Minto. Their designs were selected by a player panel which included indigenous players Josh Kerr, Tristan Sailor, Jai Field and Joel Thompson (prior to his departure) as well as Jack de Belin, Euan Aitken and Cameron McInnes.

    The front of the jersey – designed by Balzan – includes a whale (Birri Birri) which symbolises the Dharawal nation, the land on which St George Illawarra play their home games.

    The different gathering symbols surrounding the whale represents the bringing together of a harmonious community, including Dragons members, fans and players.

    The three white dots above the Red V signify the three indigenous players currently in the Dragons' NRL squad (Kerr, Field and Sailor).

    [​IMG]
    Young artists Campbell and Minto's design are included on the back of the jersey.

    Their design highlights the special relationship and respect local aboriginals have with the sea, especially considering sea creatures have provided indigenous people a food source for generations.

    "It was pretty special to help pick the design of the Dragons' indigenous jersey. It's great to be able to express my culture in such a way like this, in front of so many people," Dragons indigenous player representative Kerr said.

    "I say that because obviously the jersey will be there for all to see. It's an opportunity I never thought possible for myself.

    "To be given the opportunity to express that side of our aboriginal culture has been a great experience for me so far.

    "Indigenous Round is a great round. My family and I especially, absolutely love it. It's something we look forward to every year," he added.

    The 2018 indigenous jersey will be available to purchase in-store or online from the Dragons team store during the week leading into the Round 10 Rabbitohs clash.

    Inspiration for front of jersey (by Lani Balzan)

    [​IMG]
    Inspiration for back of jersey (by Kieran Campbell and Koori Minto)

    [​IMG]

    https://www.dragons.com.au/news/2018/05/03/2018-dragons-indigenous-jersey-launched/
     
  10. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    KICKOFF: Dragons drawing from deep resorvoir ahead of rep season
    Dragons Den News
    [​IMG]
    DEPTH CHART: Hame Sele is part of a healthy forward arsenal Dragons coach Paul McGregor has at his disposal ahead of a demanding rep schedule. Picture: NRL Imagery

    THERE'S no one thing that distinguishes the NRL's perennial benchmark clubs from the rest but, in recent seasons, there's one trait they've all had in common.

    It's something reigning premiers Melbourne have turned into an art form – navigating a rep season that only becomes more demanding with each passing year.

    Over the years we've seen many sides shoot out of the blocks to start a season. The Dragons were a case in point last season but they've looked every bit the premiership contender in 2018.

    The upcoming rep season remains the asterisk next to those aspirations, with more than half their squad having thrust themselves into the Origin selection frame.

    Ben Hunt, Tyson Frizell and Jack de Belin look certainties while Paul Vaughan, Tariq Sims and Cam McInnes aren't far off it.

    Euan Aitken and Nene Macdonald are further back in the Peloton but selection is not beyond either of them.

    James Graham and Gareth Widdop will play for England in June's Denver Test match while Jason Nightingale may well line up for the Kiwis.

    With a recent history of hitting the mid-season skids – with far more modest representative demands than they’ll face this year – fans are legitimately concerned it could derail their campaign.

    It’s a reasonable fear but, looking across the whole squad, and given the plans Paul McGregor has already put in place, the Dragons have rarely been in a better position to ride that roller coaster.

    McGregor has already been in regular dialogue with Blues coach Brad Fittler and he’ll likely know exactly who he’ll lose well in advance of Origin I – if he doesn't already. It's a nice head start but, looking at his selections over the opening eight rounds, it's clear McGregor's been preparing since before round one.

    He's had the luxury of naming the same starting 13 in all eight games so far and has had the same 16 players for seven of them. The No. 17 spot has seen a revolving door of players getting their taste of NRL action as a supplement to regular big minutes in the Intrust Super Premiership.

    Hame Sele, Luciano Leilua, Jacob Host have all worn the jumper. Young No. 9 Reece Robson will do so this week and don't be surprised if the likes of Mitch Allgood and Blake Lawrie get a stint there in the coming weeks. Kurt Mann can cover any position in the back line, while he's also added the ability to play in the middle of the park this season.

    The proof will ultimately be in the pudding and, while they have all the tools, riding out the rep storm, more often than not, comes down to a side's attitude and culture – their intangibles.

    That's the other trait all truly great sides share. Meeting that challenge looms as the true litmus test for the Dragons this season.


    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5379106/kickoff-mcgregor-drawing-from-a-deep-pool/?cs=3713
     
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  11. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Dragons youngsters to step up as State of Origin looms on horizon
    Dragons Den News
    [​IMG]
    Stepping up: Euan Aitken, Josh Kerr and Jai Field show off the Dragons jersey for next week's Indigenous Round. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

    While the St George Illawarra Dragons may be sitting comfortably atop the NRL ladder, a dark storm cloud is looming on the horizon.

    That storm cloud comes in the form of State Of Origin and the havoc the interstate contest could wreak on the club’s NRL side.

    As many as seven of the Dragons starting 13 could be in line for Origin selection, with a further three likely to play in Denver during the representative weekend in the England-New Zealand Test match.

    The pressure then, will turn to those on the fringe of the first grade squad to step in and pick up where the stars left off. Thankfully for Dragons fans, a host of youngsters are sniffing around the edges of the team eager to step up when their name is called.

    Coach Paul McGregor has selected Reece Robson on the bench for this weekend’s clash against Melbourne as a possible replacement for Cameron McInnes and Jacob Host featured in the Dragons Anzac Day victory.

    With Ben Hunt in career-best form, a Queensland origin selection is looking likely and boom junior Jai Field has put his hand up as a possible replacement for the halfback.

    “I’d like to think I can play there,” Field said. “I’ve been playing NSW Cup and we’ve had a couple of poor team performances the last couple of weeks, if we’re not performing very well, you never know what’s going to happen. But hopefully if Ben is selected and I get the nod to play there, I’ll take it with both hands.”

    Despite playing fullback in the NSW Cup, Field has had the opportunity to learn from Hunt and Gareth Widdop at training.

    “I think Gareth plays like myself, he likes to play off the cuff, free-flowing footy and now Ben’s there complementing Gaz, he’s really taken another step in his game.

    “I’ve also played that halfback role as well, so I’ve been picking Ben’s pocket and listening to what he has to say. He’s played Origin, is an international half, so I’ve definitely been listening to both of them.

    “Anytime I want to go up and ask Ben questions or pick his brain, he’s always been open to help. He’s a bit of a character, which you might not see outside the club, but he’s a good bloke and he’s always there to lend a hand.”

    While Field is a young back hoping to break into the Dragons NRL side, there are also plenty of emerging forwards pushing for selection. Host, Zac Lomax and Josh Kerr are all hoping to feature through the Origin period.

    Speaking at the unveiling of the Dragons Indigenous jersey for next week’s clash with the Rabbitohs, Kerr expressed his desire to make his debut.

    “The boys have been playing out of their skin, so I really hope they do get their opportunity to play in the NSW Origin side,” Kerr said. “Whatever happens happens for me, all I can do is keep working hard and learning off the boys up in first grade. I don’t want to think too far ahead because you never know what can happen, all I can do is focus on week to week and what I can do better.”


    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au...ers-to-step-up-as-origin-cloud-looms/?cs=3713
     
  12. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    [​IMG]

    MEMBERSHIP

    Dragons reach 20,000 Red V Members
    Author
    Dragons.com.au dragons.com.au
    Timestamp
    Fri 4 May 2018, 02:00 PM

    The St George Illawarra Dragons are proud to announce they have signed up 20,000 Red V Members for the 2018 season. The 20,673 record mark set in 2011 is now within reach.

    Taking the honour of being the 20,000th member was Kon Galanis, a first year general admission member who loves sitting on the hill with friends and family.

    Galanis will get the opportunity to deliver the match ball for the Dragons' Round 9 clash against the Melbourne Storm this weekend, as well as be gifted a brand new 2018 Dragons jersey.

    "I am not sure what took me so long, to become a member," Galanis said.

    "Membership is great value for money even when signing up mid-season, which I now know. I can't wait to be back at Kogarah Sunday and deliver the match ball."

    The 2018 Red V Membership program now offers a new range of flexible and affordable packages including flexi ticket packs, offering new and enhanced benefits to our loyal Red V Members.

    Great family packages also offer kids free in general admission and bronze seating!

    With so many great games still remaining and a package to suit everyone, make sure you get on board in season 2018 and March with Us.

    Click here to view the 2018 Dragons draw

    For further detail, benefits and comparison, visit www.marchwithus.com.au and make the choice that best suits your needs, or simply follow the steps to join or renew.

    Please contact our team on 1300 DRAGON or via email to: [email protected]

    Belong, connect and commit by becoming a Red V Member in 2018!


    https://www.dragons.com.au/news/2018/05/04/dragons-reach-20000-red-v-members2/
     
  13. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Dragons 2018: Shift in attitude pays off for Macdonald
    Dragons Den News
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    NEW APPROACH: Dragons winger Nene Macdonald says a shift in lifestyle off the field is paying big dividends on it. Picture: AAP

    IT hardly looked likely to spark a run of career-best form at the time, but Dragons flyer Nene Macdonald says a knee injury suffered at last year’s World Cup proved a blessing in disguise.

    The Papua New Guinea International hobbled into a limited preseason with the Dragons after picking up a knee injury while playing for the Kumuls.

    It saw him spend a lot more time in the rehab room than on the training paddock, but the soon to be 24-year-old said it proved a career wake-up call.

    “I had that knee injury from the World Cup I was carrying last year and I just I just thought to myself ‘it’s time to stop mucking around and get on top of it’,” Macdonald said.

    “You’ve just got to know when to put footy first sometimes and, personally, I’ve changed a lot on and off the field and away from footy when no one’s watching

    “I think when I first came in [to the Dragons] I was still a bit young, 22, and I was just enjoying life a bit too much.

    “Now I’m being a bit more professional, coming into training and making sure I’m doing everything right.

    “I’m looking after myself a bit better, not doing anything stupid, not going out all the time, eating well, not just doing whatever I feel like and it’s showing out there on the field.”

    The attitude shift has paid major dividends on the paddock, with Macdonald leading the Dragons in running metres – averaging 150 metres a game – and tries, with six.

    At 192 centimetres and 110kgs, the Cairns Brothers junior is seemingly custom-built for Origin and his early-season form has thrust him right into the Queensland selection frame.

    Barring injury, he would need to unseat current Test players in Valentine Holmes and Dane Gagai but Macdonald makes no secret of his ambition to pull on the Maroons jumper.

    “Obviously growing up in Cairns it’s been a massive dream of mine,” he said.

    “Anyone who grows up up there knows how massive Origin and the Maroons are. Everyone just lives and breathes Queensland.

    “Hopefully one day I get to chuck that jersey on. We’ll just see what happens.”

    He’ll get another chance to press his claims against Melbourne on Sunday, with the match-up on the fringes sure to be one of the most intriguing battles.

    “It’ll be a good match up, they’ve got really good wingers,” Macdonald said.

    “We’ve got Gypsy [Jason Nightingale] and [Josh] Addo-Carr out on the other wing and me and [Suliasi] Vunivalu, so it’s an exciting match-up.

    “Vunivalu’s a talented player, he’s a big body, he’s agile, so you’ve really got to watch him, but I’m excited to come up against him.”



    https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5381310/shift-in-attitude-pays-off/?cs=3713
     
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  14. rednwhites

    rednwhites Juniors

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    Jeez this read fires me up!! Yes Hunt, yeah Graham BUT JDB and Sims are the key difference this year.


    'The whole point of the game is to beat people up. Oh, and score more points'


    Andrew Webster
    4 May 2018


    Like many people, I weep for this great game we call rugby league.

    I miss so many things. I miss the chip-and-chase, and cardboard corner posts, and Kevin Hardwick’s wild mane reined in by electrical tape.

    I miss the biff and the shoulder charge. Next, you’ll be telling me they’re banning the head butt …

    What’s that? It has been banned? I weep for this game.

    The person I miss most, though, is the Enforcer. God, I loved a good enforcer: David “Cement” Gillespie; Gorden “Raging Bull” Tallis; Trevor “The Axe” Gillmeister, especially in Origin including that time when he was smashed in a tackle, prompting Ray “Rabbits” Warren to declare: “Ohhhh!The Axe just got axed!”

    “Trevor Gillmeister was the best I’ve seen,” offers Dragons Paul McGregor when you raise the topic of enforcers. “Him and Peter Ryan at the Broncos. We’ve got a few players here who are the same. They are just power athletes: when they hit players, they stay hit. I think Jack de Belin has the best timing out of all of them."

    NSW coach Brad Fittler offers this: “There’s aggression and then there’s frustrated aggression. If you can be an enforcer and not get penalised, that’s valuable in the modern game. And the player who has that is Tariq Sims.”

    I’m sitting with Sims in the stands at WIN Stadium in Wollongong ahead of the Dragons’ showdown with Melbourne at Jubilee Oval at Kogarah on Sunday.

    There’s a lot to like about the Dragons’ early season form but the re-emergence of Sims as a genuine contender to make his debut for NSW is perhaps the most pleasing.

    Along with de Belin, he's been bringing a nostalgic tear to the eye of retired enforcers all around the country, maybe even the world.

    Take the Anzac Day win over the Roosters in which he repeatedly raced up and belted halfback Cooper Cronk, as well as running over the top of him on the way to the try line.

    “It just happened to be Cooper a few times,” Sims says. “It was my job to apply a bit of legal pressure to him.”

    He’s been applying a lot of “legal pressure” this season. And not just to the little fellas. Ask Titans centre Konrad Hurrell, who dared to spar with Sims in round two.

    After Sims pushed Hurrell into the advertising board behind the dead-ball line, the two had to be separated. They stared down each other with Tony Soprano-like intent.

    Soon after, Sims hit the 108-kilogram Hurrell with everything he had, jolting the ball loose. Then he did it again late in the game, jolting the ball loose.

    “Unfortunately for Konrad, I got a few lucky hits on him,” Sims says. Lucky?

    At full-time, the pair embraced and laughed. Beautiful stuff.

    “Sometimes, some players can take it too personally,” Sims says. “It might be because you dislike the bloke. I think that makes for even better viewing. I like it as a footy fan myself. As soon as you cross that white line, the whole point of the game is to beat them up. Oh, and score more points than them. If that means you have to pick a personal battle, or you line up against someone who is not going to take a backward step, it’s one of those things where, as a physical player, you lick your lips and look forward to 80 minutes of going at it. I don’t hate anyone but sometimes that's just the way it goes.”

    Sometimes, I wonder if the sole purpose of YouTube is to keep a catalogue of bone-rattling, unsettle-the-dust-on-the-rafters-of-the-grandstand rugby league tackles.

    On YouTube you will find Sims’ tackle from 2011 on Braith Anasta, who was playing for the Roosters. Sims was in his first season of first grade for the Cowboys.

    Anasta is rushing towards the try line. Sims is on that line, standing his ground. He doesn’t just stop the try — he snaps Anasta in half.

    “Yeah, I remember it,” Sims smiles. “I was wearing number 16. I was three or four games into my first-grade career. I mean, it was Braith Anasta. He was awesome. They were awesome then. They did a short-side raid. To be honest, I only had eyes for him. If he passed, I would’ve looked pretty silly. I was lucky enough to get him up and hold him up and get the turnover.”

    Yeah, just another one of those lucky tackles.

    Sims seemingly had the game at his feet back then. Born and bred in Gerringong on the NSW south coast, he followed his brother Ashton to the Broncos, was named the 2010 under-20s player of the year and was duly snapped up by the Cowboys.

    He was pencilled in as a NSW player of the future. And then, in round 25 against Cronulla, he snapped his left leg in two places. And then, the following season against Penrith and just seven matches into his comeback, he snapped his left leg again, in exactly the same place.

    He shows you his leg. There are no gruesome scars to highlight the traumatic experience of breaking it twice. But, as he explains, there’s a lot going on beneath the skin.

    “They cut me open there,” he says, "before dislocating my knee cap and then driving a titanium rod all the way through the leg.”

    Lovely.

    “Then they put in two pins: one halfway through the bone, then one all the way through the bone.”

    Awesome.

    “Then there’s like an exhaust hole. When they put the rod through, they have to push the bone marrow out because it can’t be in your system because it can kill you. Then they screwed it off: two cross screws at the top and then two at the bottom.”

    Someone once dubbed it “Terminator leg” in reference to the Schwarzenegger movies. He says he doesn’t like the comparison. He’s not a T-800 cyborg by any means. The area where he broke it still hurts and throbs. Right now, there's a lump the size of a cricket ball because of a cork.

    “There’s a lot of calcified bone there,” he says.

    The injuries could’ve prevented Sims from being the enforcer he was born to be.

    “At the start, I was very hesitant to look for metres after contact,” he says. “I was running into the line and just stopping and trying to find the ground. I found out very quickly that you can’t play football like that. You can’t help your team if you’re scared to run the ball and get injured. If you’re thinking about getting injured, you will get injured.

    “I’m proud, mate. I’m proud. Through those injuries I faced a lot of adversity, I had some big highs and lows. As a 21-year-old, I was running off Johnathan Thurston and in one night I snapped my leg. The team’s travelling to Sydney to play finals footy for the first time in many years and I was laid up in bed with a cast on my leg.”

    Now look at him. He's thriving.

    Sims took a pay cut to join the Dragons after two-and-a-half years of losing at the Knights. He and his young family have never been happier because they are closer to home and family.

    During the pre-season, when Joel Thompson was released to Manly, he walked into McGregor’s office.

    “I want to own that left edge,” he told McGregor, who gave him the keys to the left edge.

    And Sims is much closer to NSW selection than people — including himself — might realise.

    Fittler’s got all of us fooled. He’s been tossing up so many potential selections that they’ll need to book two hotels for the first match against Queensland at the MCG on June 6.

    He won’t bite when asked if Sims is on the verge of selection, only pointing to his recent commentary of Dragons matches in his sideline caller's role at Channel Nine. On that score, Sims must be in the side.

    Asked during the Anzac Day match how he would handle Dragons halfback Ben Hunt if he was selected for Queensland, Fittler said: “We’ll just sick Sims onto him”.

    Fittler wears many hats. In 2010, he made a documentary for which he interviewed a variety of people across the game. As the NRL's brightest new talent, as an Origin player of the future, Sims was one of them.

    Finally, eight years later, it looks like it's about to happen.

    "I’ve made no secret about that," Sims says. "I want to be in it."

    If he is, the game's new enforcer will be entitled to shed a few tears.
     
  15. dragonssamy61

    dragonssamy61 Bench

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    Love it go belt them on Sunday sims.
    Please do us all a favour get smith and if you can hit billy back to melbourne.
    Love it
     
  16. ALSGI

    ALSGI Juniors

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    H
    Hopefully, our entire squad is looking at the attention Sims and JDB are getting as well as the fight video against the storm that OT posted. Hopefully, they treat this as a Finals match and smash the crap out of the lilac cheats. No prisoners, no mercy.
     
  17. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Thanks for posting...as much as part of me doesn't want our side decimated through players being selected for Origin, Would love to see Tariq and JDB and Vaughan to be given a shot.
     
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  18. ALSGI

    ALSGI Juniors

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    Agree Getsmarty, along with Friz that’s 4 forwards all of whom deserve a shot.
    McInnes is in the frame especially if he goes well against Smith tomorrow and if McDonald can shine against the storm wingers he’s a chance for Qld and Hunt’s a shoe in.
    Decimation alright.
    Might as well play SOO at Kogarah.
     
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  19. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Dragons give cliques the flick and welcome WAGs into inner sanctum
    Send via Email
    St George Illawarra's improvements on the field in 2018 have been underlined by crucial changes off it, fullback Matt Dufty has revealed ahead of Sunday's blockbuster against the Melbourne Storm.

    The Dragons are united on and off the field, whereas last season the playing group was much more cliquey away from the club.

    Wives and girlfriends have also been embraced as the club builds a culture under coach Paul McGregor that the Dragons faithful hope will deliver a first NRL premiership in eight years.

    "We're more of a team this year," Dufty said. "Being in the squad last year there were a few groups here and there, but this year everyone has coffee with everyone. We've just bonded as a team really and I think that's gone a long way. We've got everyone's backs on the field as well as off the field.

    "We got to just know everyone better, we got to know people's kids, names, birthdays, just stuff like that. It brings you a lot closer to the team.

    "We had to remember questions and then get to know our teammates in pre-season. It might sound stupid, but it goes a long way to get to know your friends off the field as well as on the field.

    "We've got everyone's partners involved as well. There's a lot of functions just for the partners that we're not invited to which makes them feel part of the team as well, and the boys really appreciate it."

    Sunday's clash between St George and Melbourne is one of the most anticipated matches of the season and gives the Dragons a chance to extend their lead on top of the NRL ladder.

    McGregor is desperate to pick up as many wins as possible in May with State Of Origin looming on the horizon and threatening to decimate a St George forward pack that has been the best in the league this season.

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/dr...-wags-into-inner-sanctum-20180504-p4zdf6.html
     
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  20. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Rep jerseys on the line, but Fittler won't be there to watch it
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    NRL
    If ever an incoming coach of NSW, losers of the past three and 11 of the past 12 State of Origin series, would benefit from a preview of prospective players against their key opponents, it’s today's match between St George Illawarra and Melbourne.

    With selection for the first game only three weeks away and Queensland’s formidable spine on display at Jubilee Oval today, as well as the possibility St George Illawarra could supply five forwards to a revolutionary Blues pack, NSW coach Brad Fittler has been given a rare opportunity to witness who puts his hand up for selection.

    His commitments for Channel Nine mean he will be at Allianz Stadium for the 4.10pm clash between the Roosters and Sea Eagles.

    In an incredible scheduling blunder, the best game of the round – the Dragons (first) against the Storm (fourth at the start of the round) – is at 2pm, the slot usually reserved by TV for the worst game.

    Freddy will have to rely on a replay, together with the observations of his trusted advisers. To be fair, in a year where the selection of the Blues will see a major turnover of talent, Fittler won’t rely on just one game. But he won’t see as many intriguing match-ups again.

    The Dragons’ Cameron McInnes versus the Storm’s Cameron Smith

    Fittler will have three possible hookers in mind, but to watch the NSW
    favourite, McInnes, up against the greatest rake of all time is a rare opportunity.

    McInnes is running more and the only mystery about his form is why the Rabbitohs let him go.


    The Dragons’ Tariq Sims versus the Storm’s Felise Kaufusi

    The two back-rowers will oppose each other with Sims on the Dragons’ left
    and Kaufusi on the Storm’s right. Queensland’s Kaufusi only
    returned to his best against the Warriors, while Sims has been a star in the Dragons pack this season.

    The Dragons’ Jack de Belin versus the Storm’s Dale Finucane

    Both want the NSW No.13 jumper. They are different types of players; de
    Belin offering more variety in attack, although he does run across field too
    often. Finucane’s strong defence and high work rate make him a favourite of
    his club coach Craig Bellamy.


    The Dragon’s Euan Aitken versus the Storm’s Curtis Scott

    Aitken plays on the right and Scott on the left and they could be the two NSW centres, particularly with the injury to incumbent Josh Dugan. Aitken is more robust, but while his tackling is solid, he does occasionally misread numbers in defence.

    Scott is a classic three-quarter, with superb timing and efficiency. He is only 20 and will become a 10-year NSW Origin player. But he is slight of build and Fittler may want heavier bodies on NSW’s left side.

    The Dragons’ Ben Hunt versus the Storm’s Cameron Munster

    Halfback Hunt plays on the right and five-eighth Munster on the left. Both will be in the Queensland team and are creative in their different ways. Maroons coach Kevin Walters will be interested in who wins the fight.

    Hunt has shown a greater commitment to structure this season, but is still capable of a solo, risky act, not necessarily a bad attribute in Origin. Munster has added a short kicking game to his impressive array of skills.

    The above pairings are of players directly opposed to each other, while there are others on display who are in serious contention.

    Melbourne left winger Josh Addo-Carr has the speed of an Olympic sprinter and the balance of a tightrope walker. However, he is only 86 kilograms and Fittler will want to pair him up with a left centre who is strong and forceful. Queensland are very skilled at keeping teams pinned on their own try line and "the Fox” will need some bulk beside him to escape this territory.

    He will not be marking the Dragons’ Nene Macdonald, who also plays on the left and is eligible for Queensland. Macdonald was named as an emerging Maroon last year and Walters has his eye on him after he has discarded some of his lazy habits.

    The Storm will also have guaranteed Maroons selections Billy Slater and right centre Will Chambers on display.

    Prop Tim Glasby, once he recovers from a broken thumb, is likely to play in remaining Origin matches for Queensland.

    Fittler will be focussed on the Dragons pack. Apart from McInnes, Sims and de Belin, he will be watching Tyson Frizell and Paul Vaughan. Frizell is an incumbent Blue and is an automatic selection, while Vaughan was close last year and the Dragons coaches have improved his defence significantly during the past two seasons. He is very dangerous close to the try line.

    The Dragons are expected to be at full strength following their impressive victory over the Roosters on Anzac Day, while Finucane is no guarantee to have recovered from a broken thumb and Scott injured an ankle in the Storm’s Anzac victory.


    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/re...n-t-be-there-to-watch-it-20180504-p4zddh.html
     
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