Live scores
Live Commentary
Broncos : 20
Storm : 34
| Fulltime

PRICHARD: Beale, Dugan – can anyone help the free-falling Dragons?

Greg Prichard Columnist

By Greg Prichard, Greg Prichard is a Roar Expert

 , , , ,

40 Have your say

    Kurtley Beale ruled out of Rugby World Cup semi-final against the All Blacks (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Related coverage

    What are those of you who thought it wrong to label St George Illawarra as wooden-spoon contenders thinking now?

    After three rounds they are already in that battle up to their ears.

    Only the supremely awful Warriors are keeping them from the bottom of the table at this stage, and the schedule of an away game against Cronulla this weekend suggests it will be four losses from four rounds for the Dragons.

    Now there is talk they may be interested in signing Kurtley Beale, the Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby player who was sent home in disgrace from South Africa this week after a physical altercation with his captain and another teammate.

    Sounds like a fantastic potential addition to the squad.

    That is on top of St George Illawarra being interested in another disgraced player, Josh Dugan.

    Unfortunately for the Dragons, though, it seems the fullback who was sacked by Canberra for yet another off-field indiscretion is more likely to head to Brisbane.

    The Broncos are apparently another club so in need of an injection of stars that they would be prepared to take a risk on a rebel like Dugan.

    That is what happens when star players who are sacked by their clubs go looking for employment elsewhere.

    They end up at clubs that are so badly lacking in the x-factor department that they will ignore the considerable negatives in favour of the potential positives.

    It is why Sydney Roosters picked up Todd Carney after he was sacked by Canberra, and why Cronulla did the same after Carney split with the Roosters. Now, it seems, Carney has settled down.

    Every club that makes that move hopes they will be the one that turns the player around, but what usually happens is that the player himself eventually decides whether he will turn around or not.

    And that decision is often based on how quickly his opportunities are running out and whether he is sensible enough to do something about it.

    There is no guarantee Dugan will turn himself around at his next club. If he went to the Dragons, would he afford the coach, Steve Price, respect? Price has no guarantee of his own future, and that is part of the problem at the Dragons.

    They have struggled to attract players, and that struggle will only become greater while they keep losing and while it remains unclear who will coach them next season.

    Potential player recruits want to know who is going to coach them, and if a club can’t tell them for sure then that is an easy way for the player to put a line through them and move further along in the decision-making process.

    I don’t know who is going to coach St George Illawarra next year, but like the vast majority of the league world I’ll be stunned if it is Price.

    For how much longer are the current Dragons players going to listen to him if the club is showing no sign of backing him by giving him a new contract?

    Some people suggested there were signs of improvement from St George Illawarra in their 30-17 loss to Canberra last weekend, but everything is relative.

    The Raiders had their own problems, coming off two floggings in the first two rounds and the Dugan drama.

    Neither side would have gone into that game with great confidence, and even though Canberra got the win it was still just a step – rather than a leap – for them.

    They still have issues to do with their play that they need to deal with as well.

    The Dragons really didn’t come far at all. Their attack is poor, and that just puts too much pressure on a defence that used to be their strength.

    Wayne Bennett left St George Illawarra after his three-year contract as coach was up, even though the Dragons wanted to keep him, and then, after just a year of Price, the Dragons went after Craig Bellamy for next year and couldn’t get him.

    These are coaches renowned for making good decisions.

    The Dragons had a team that was starting to age even when they won the competition, in 2010, and since then that ageing process has taken full effect.

    There is no easy way out for the club from here.

    Greg Prichard
    Greg Prichard

    Greg Prichard has spent all of his working life in the media, from way back when journalists were still using typewriters. He has covered rugby league, football, AFL and various other sports for News Limited and Fairfax newspapers and also worked for magazines, radio and pay television. Twitter: @gregprichard

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (40)

    • March 27th 2013 @ 12:21pm
      Nick Inatey said | March 27th 2013 @ 12:21pm | ! Report


      Is there some credence to the possibility that players may not want to play at St George for location reasons and not just the coach/management setup?

      From my perspective, its hardly convenient to have to commute between Sydney and the Gong for games and training all the time, where as with other clubs, there is a lot more stability and a better routine. If I’m Josh Dugan and I’m entertaining a couple of offers, I might be more inclined to pick the club with the more stable ‘home’ base…unless the Dragons really ratchet up the asking fee.

      • Roar Guru

        March 27th 2013 @ 1:19pm
        peeeko said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

        i think that all training is in Wollongong these days

        • March 27th 2013 @ 2:16pm
          Nick Inatey said | March 27th 2013 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

          well then, would you really want to move to Wollongong if you could play with a Sydney based club or the Broncos?

          • March 27th 2013 @ 6:06pm
            Warren said | March 27th 2013 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

            Yes Wollongong and surrounding areas are fantastic. Having spent time in places such as Kiama which is about 30 minutes away I could not think of a better place to live. Out of the city, limited traffic and close enough to family and friends if you need to visit.

            • March 27th 2013 @ 10:00pm
              Dean- Surry Hills said | March 27th 2013 @ 10:00pm | ! Report

              Do you recommend that I purchase a two or three bedroom apartment Mr Hooker?

      • March 27th 2013 @ 1:52pm
        elGusto said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

        Ironically this might be the case, even though Dugan would have had as much stability as he could have asked for in Canberra. I can see him going to Brisbane just because he wants a big city feel to his life. As a 23 year old living in Canberra i can tell you, it gets mighty boring mighty quick..even more so if i had 500k in my bank.

        • March 27th 2013 @ 5:56pm
          mushi said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

          I don’t think you could even spend that much in the high roller room at the canberra Casino

    • March 27th 2013 @ 12:32pm
      oikee said | March 27th 2013 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

      I thought the Dragons were not looking all that bad. They played really good against the Raiders. They were never really likely to win that battle, the hoodoo and all,,,,,hold on,,, dont mention the hoodoo, 🙂

      But overall, they look like a pretty good young side and Soward is alot better than alot of halves in the comp. You only have to look at the Broncos halves to know that Soward is a goodun. I would not want to lose him, you could end up with a lemon.

      No, apart from a helping hand for Soward in the halves, they look alright. They will finish ahead of the Broncos and Warriors i think.
      People are to quick to judge, at least they are scoring points, the Broncos cant even score.
      And if the Broncos do get Dugan, then we will have half a game Hodges and will he turn up Dugan to worry about.
      That has me learning more towards the Dragons if they dont panic.

    • March 27th 2013 @ 12:40pm
      Johnno said | March 27th 2013 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

      It’s best Beale and Dugan, head overseas or retire. Australian sport is better of with out these clowns, no mercy. If I ran Australian sport I would ban them for 2 yeas and not let them play in a sports team in OZ until 2015.

      We do not need these 2 clowns, and the drunken behaviour. is is that hard to just stay off the alcohol , until pre season and even then only have 1 or 2 standard drinks when you go out like normal people. You 2 clowns deserve no more sympathy, your disgraceful role-modesl the 2 of you,.
      And the better your out of the limelight, the better for OZ sport, that keeps getting tarnished by you 2 trouble makers.

      The short lip to your coach in Dugan’s case, the hitting of the team mate and your captain by Beale, and many other indescrestions, enough is enough. Dugan;s canberra raiders teammates were all happy to see the back of him.

      And the pictures of Dugan not he top of his roof , were an out and out disgrace .
      What’s there problem, can’t they just behave like normal people, losers the 2 of them, who destroy a team morale everywhere they go.
      With there selfish self-destructive behaviour, the 2 clowns. Sack Beale like Dugan has already been sacked, and don’t let either of these 2 clowns back on a footy pitch in OZ, until there have sobered up and learn how to behave like everyone else, no mercy, there adults, teams have run out of patience.

      • March 27th 2013 @ 1:10pm
        oikee said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

        Johnno, i am normal people, and i have never in my life only ever had 2 drinks when i went out, ever.
        2 drinks was the warmup for the mains.
        I dont think Beale is going anywhere, and Dugan has not really done alot wrong. He is a long way off what Todd Carney ever did, have you forgot that Carney was sent to North Queensland to buy him some time to mature.

        I will say it again, i never grew up until the age of 37.
        Some of us dont want to grow up. We need to persevere with them, not send them away like convicts, hehe

        What is wrong with you lately Johnno, you have become real angry all of a sudden. You ok. ?

        • March 27th 2013 @ 1:37pm
          NickF said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

          You’re right Oikee, most do have more than 2 drink on a night out. I have, more than a few nights, but I never hit anyone, especially my mate (or equivalent of my captain).

          It’s not just the alcohol, it what the alcohol, and too much of it, leads to. Being a d**khead is just not cool.

          • March 27th 2013 @ 2:48pm
            Christo the Daddyo said | March 27th 2013 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

            Alcohol is a red herring. For most people it’s not a problem, but for some it is. There is enough evidence for the Beales and Dugans of the world that they are better off without it. But that’s a decision that they have to make for themselves. If they are not strong enough to make that (fairly obvious) decision for themselves they will need to deal with the consequences.

        • March 27th 2013 @ 2:19pm
          Nick Inatey said | March 27th 2013 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

          Oikee, teams are paying players $600000 a year to be irresponsible adolescents. They are paying them $600k to be responsible professional athletes.

          It really doesnt matter whether you didnt grow up till you were 37. I’m sure (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that your employer wasn’t splashing out 600k for you to hit the piss most nights, instead rocking up to training.

          • March 27th 2013 @ 3:48pm
            Nick Inatey said | March 27th 2013 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

            sorry, I meant teams are NOT paying them to be irresponsibl adolescents.

            • March 27th 2013 @ 4:25pm
              Christo the Daddyo said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

              Evidence would suggest you were right the first time…

            • March 27th 2013 @ 5:33pm
              oikee said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

              Ok, i agree, and if they step over the mark like Carney and Dugan have, then sack them. But let us not throw them away like convicts or leaches.
              They should still be able to try again until they get it right. Carney needed about 5,,,,ok maybe 10 chances, but still, he seems alright now. Well as alright as he will ever be, he is not a rocket scientist, and never will be. hehe.
              I am sure the lads out in the mines earning 200 thousand a year can drink till their hearts content. Should we be monitoring them.
              Dont get me wrong, i am not saying these guys are beyond punishment, but gee whiz, nobody has been murdered have they. ?
              There young blokes, full of testy and me me me attitiude. I can live with that, as long as they come good after we perservered.
              Like i said the other day, one saved is a good day, we have kept a troubled kid off the streets, our neibours dont have to deal with that one.
              As a code rugby league is doing some good work, we are being recoognised for that work worldwide, hence the community indigenous award we won in London last year.
              We cant lose sight of that, by throwing these guys away is not the right thing to do, we must give them as much or many chances as we can take. And as a code, we seem unbreakble, we have been hit with that many axes we are axe proof.
              Beware the acid. 🙂

        • March 27th 2013 @ 5:23pm
          Johnno said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

          Oikee thanks mate for worrying, but im doing good still happy and loving life. Just my beef is i get so angry when i see such talent, wasting away, and disregard for there teammates. I seem to only do a few oikee, i should of hung out with you in the 80’s mate, you played hard on the field, worked hard, and played hard hard off it. Good man oikee, maybe these 2 need a fresh start but they better toughen up, and group oikee this aint the 80′ anymore mate these footballers are now full time professionals now mate, they gotta shape up or ship out.

          • March 27th 2013 @ 5:50pm
            oikee said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

            No worries Johnno,.
            It was better in the 80’s Johnno, we all had more fun back then. Cheers.

    • March 27th 2013 @ 12:41pm
      Worlds Biggest said | March 27th 2013 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

      It’s fair to say the Dragons have never been big on recruitment due to there strong Illawarra junior nursery. However who ever takes over as coach will need to have the assurances that money will be available to purchase a good halfback and centre amongst other positions of need.

      • March 27th 2013 @ 1:14pm
        oikee said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

        You might laugh, but i think what the Dragons should do is send their juniors to the Broncos, and the Broncos should send their juniors to the Dragons. Why you ask, to help them mature and get out of the comfort zones.

    • March 27th 2013 @ 1:46pm
      maximillian said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

      Id like to see the dragons move Morris in to the fullback role. He is by far their most potent back so the more he can get his hands on the ball the better they’ll be. Fien is a hooker playting halfback so it might be worth giving young Drinkwater a go as well with Fien on the bench as cover for Rein.

    • March 27th 2013 @ 1:54pm
      Pot Stirrer said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

      As one of the ones who didnt think the Dragons would get the spoon this year i say thank god for the warriors. But seriously on paper the dragons still have a reasonable side except the halves which are clearly a bigger problem than i thought and it now is also clear they have problems in the centres aswell. I dont think it would matter who the coach is either, they should never have let J.Morris go to keep cooper. Not keeping the Morris twins together at the dragons was a bad marketing decision.

    , , , ,