New blood and fire needed at Dragons
Matt Cooper of the Dragons. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Robb Cox
The well is running dry for the St George Illawarra Dragons. It’s time for the hierarchy to rehydrate the player stocks or risk seeing the merger club become a regular face amongst the NRL also-rans.
If the Dragons fail to enter – and enter successfully – the player market in the months ahead, I cannot see them as a serious title threat in 2013 and quite possibly beyond.
It is imperative that CEO Peter Doust, head coach Steve Price and leagues club supremo Danny Robinson loosen the purse strings and sign some quality players to rebuild an aging, flagging line-up.
It is not good enough pointing to a premiership win in 2010. The champagne bubbles have long gone flat and the current outfit is in desperate need of a destructive back-rower, a top shelf halfback and a centre who can penetrate consistently, and rack up some tries.
Coach Price has a team which struggles in attack and looking back on the miserable first half against Canterbury at WIN Stadium last week, there are some serious defensive flaws surfacing as well.
New talent can overcome these deficiencies and breathe much-needed fire into the Dragons. As I see it, the red and whites have no excuses. Other clubs’ recruitment drives are already in overdrive for next season.
The Bulldogs, Panthers and Eels, for example, have made a number of significant player announcements yet there has hardly been a peep out of Kogarah.
The Dragons appear to have the funds available to snare some prime football flesh. Hamstrung by the salary cap? I don’t think that’s an issue.
They reportedly had 800,000 carrots to lure Cooper Cronk away from Melbourne but the brilliant No 7 decided to stick with his mates in Melbourne.
Will the Dragons have a crack at the likes of Manly’s Stewart brothers, Brett and Glenn? Would they consider chasing the out-of- favour centre Michael Jennings from Penrith? Can they do anything to woo Sam Tompkins away from the UK Super League offering him a shot at NRL glory?
The Dragons Army is among the most loyal in the game and deserves to hear about some big name signings. Aside from (coach) Wayne Bennett, fullback Darius Boyd has been pretty much the only top shelf recruit in five or six seasons.
The fabled Illawarra junior league nursery continues to pump exciting young talent through the ranks but many are too green to fire salvos at the competition’s heavy artillery in the near future. Their time will undoubtedly come, but it won’t be next year.
The worm has turned. The old guard that served the club so well had faded away. I believe the time is ripe for Saints to seek out and sign top class, established personnel – and plenty of it.
If they fail to do so, the joint venture club might be dragging the chain and find themselves lumbered with a new nickname.
C’arn the mighty Draggings.