Dragons woes continue: Is the Price right?
St George Illawarra’s somewhat pedestrian performance Friday night against Canterbury, showed just how far the joint venture has slipped during season 2012.
A team that just 12 months ago was riding the crest of the 2010 NRL Premiership, and looking in good stead to go back to back, has failed to find the form that saw them take out the World Club Challenge.
The once formidable St George defense was made to look paper-thin during much of their Friday night clash against the Bulldogs, as Canterbury ran in four first half tries to one.
Due to limited cap space, a number of key players like Darius Boyd and Mark Gasnier, as well as promising young prospects Jack Bosden and Alex McKinnon were forced to find new homes at the end of 2011 season, leading to a number of holes in key positions.
However, possibly the biggest loss for the big Red V was the departure of head honcho and chief arbiter Wayne Bennett, who pulled the pin and moved to Newcastle during the off-season.
Since then, his former apprentice and offsider Steve Price, who took over the reigns at the club, has been unable to harness the same skills that saw Bennett deliver two minor premiership during his three year tenure in the Illawarra.
Having played 14 of their 24 games so far this season, the Dragons have been leaking points like the New York Stock Exchange, letting in 252 points to date, just 47 short of what they conceded during the year they won the Premiership.
To make matters worse, St George are not being helped out much in attack. Off the back of a kicking game that looks about as stable as WIN Stadium’s short lived former Western Grandstand, the Dragons have only scored 210 points to date, a far cry from the 518 they racked up in 2010 and the 483 from just a year ago.
Already without Michael Weyman for the rest of 2012 after he ruptured his ACL during their Round 10 golden point loss to the Panthers, St George were met with more bad news last night, with promising young center Kyle Stanley picking up a groin injury in the loss.
Currently sitting in 10th position and with a tough end of season stretch that sees them take on the West Tigers, Melbourne and North Queensland, Mr Price will need to rally his troops if they have any hope playing football in September.
With their NSW Cup feeder side the Illawarra Cutters sitting in 3rd last, and the Toyota Cup team just outside the 8, they don’t have the calibre of players to draw upon that they once did.
About the only solace that the men in red and white can take out of their lacklustre season to date is that Bennett’s Boys sit below them in 13th position on the ladder.
What do you think Roarers? Can St George turn their season around or will their lack of a kicking game and inability to score points be to much for them to overcome.