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Rugby League Saints - 2018 - UPDATE

Discussion in 'St George-Illawarra Dragons' started by S J, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    All news for 2018 here please.
     
  2. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    Forgetting this year - and looking forward.

    Hutcho is back - at 6 in the NSW Cup. Also Field at FB. Dufty is already looking good.

    With Ben Hunt coming it will be interesting to see who plays where.

    We have some tough decisions on a few - eg Nighty.

    BUT ... we have to keep aware of players that return to the market. A few Clubs are already over the Cap as it will be in 2018. The amount they were expecting is not coming to fruition.

    So - we should hold fire on players and wait and see. It always happens. Talk already that Bird may not go to Brisbane - thus Cronulla may be in strife.
     
  3. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    Possible team - with positions I have strong doubts on.

    1. Matt Dufty
    2. Nene Macdonald / Jordan Pereira
    3. Euan Aitken
    4. Tim Lafai
    5. Kurt Mann
    6. Gareth Widdop (c)
    7. Ben Hunt

    8. Leeson Ah Mau
    9. Cameron McInnes
    10. Paul Vaughan
    11. Tyson Frizell
    12. Joel Thompson
    13. Jack de Belin

    Interchange:


    14. Tariq Sims
    15. Will Matthews
    16. Blake Lawrie / Jacob Host
    17. Drew Hutchison

    -----------------------------------------

    18. Jason Nightingale
    19. Hame Sele
    20. Luciano Leilua
    21. Josh Kerr
    22. Jai Field

    Plus a few others.
     
  4. stanleyg

    stanleyg Well-Known Member

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    I have a positive feeling about next season:confused:.
    Nighty is on a contract extension and should be a starting winger not a bench player ......unless his form fails.
    Ah Mau has not been exceptional in 2017 BUT has been consistent in the Dragons pack.
    We will just have to wait and see what combination Mary comes up with after the off season.
    We know all the players can play just only in patches in 2017 especially in the latter part of the season when other sides are hitting some form our defence has been crap.
    It is something that seriously needs to be addressed or it will just be more of the same in 2018.
     
  5. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    I feel we have to look around for a big tough forward and an explosive back. We have no real fire power in the back line and Nighty is too slow - we have to admit this.

    Also - our forwards lack real toughness. We badly need someone who has it.
     
  6. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    Off-Contract: Levi Dodd, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Yaw Kiti Glymin, Siliva Havili, Jacob Hind, Drew Hutchison, Jake Marketo, Will Matthews, Josh McCrone

    New deal: Luciano Leilua (until end of 2018), Jai Field (until end of 2019), Jacob Host (until end of 2020), Euan Aitken (until end of 2020), Jack de Belin (until the end of 2020), Blake Lawrie (until end of 2019), Gareth Widdop (until 2021), Paul Vaughan (extension until 2021), Tim Lafai (until 2020), Paul McGregor (until 2019), Kurt Mann (until 2019), Jason Nightingale (until 2018), Jordan Pereira (midyear from Mackay)

    Leaving: Russell Packer (Tigers until 2021), Josh Dugan (Sharks until 2021), Taane Milne (Tigers until 2019 with option), Tyrone McCarthy (immediate release to Salford), Mose Masoe (immediate release to Hull KR), Chris Lewis (released), Shaun Nona (released)
     
  7. stanleyg

    stanleyg Well-Known Member

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    You don't "have " to be fast to be a winger just skilled at what you do like be in position, back up and be ready to take a pass from anywhere. It also helps in Nightys case that he can play FB and is good at taking the ball up when our forwards are tired or too slow to get in position.
    I think our forwards have proven tough enough this season. They have been seriously lacking in offloads and setting up a solid defensive line.
    If you keep backing up a smart dummy half or centre running through gaps can make you look like a creampuff.
    We do however need a ball playing big prop and a backline replacement for Dugan.
     
  8. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    Being fast certainly helps - as we saw last week when Nighty tried to go around a player and was bundled out. When a winger is in the clear we expect him to score - not get run down.
     
  9. stanleyg

    stanleyg Well-Known Member

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    It does help but no matter how fast you are there is always someone faster about that's why offload skills from a player with a footy brain comes in handy.
    ...Its called draw and commit your opposition and "offload".
    This of course is all dependent on whether your team mates are keen enough to win to back you up in case a pass comes along.
    The Dragons as they start to fall apart in their games are usually all bunched up and looking for someone to pull a rabbit out of a hat.
    They might actually try to spread their line out when they have the ball although I agree there is a strong chance they could bumble their handling and they might need to be close to tackle their opposition:drowning:
     
  10. stanleyg

    stanleyg Well-Known Member

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    leader2.JPG I guess I am not the only one who has finally started to realise there is something rotten at the Gong. This interesting letter appeared in the "Leader" this week
     
  11. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    So - we have the cash - now we just have to wait ... :)
     
  12. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    Who did we pay excess for - if anything our Hunt deal looks pretty good now. This "article" appears to be written by a disgruntled fan.

    We do need fresh management and direction - but this "article" offers nothing.
     
  13. stanleyg

    stanleyg Well-Known Member

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    The point I was making not the letter writer is that things must be getting bad if "fans" disgruntled or otherwise are resorting to vent by writing to the media about the club.
    Any complaining or issue raising with the club obviously falls on deaf ears and many fans are frustrated at the lack of consistency unless you call losing from winning position consistency
    The letter writer is obviously not on his pat Malone over issues with the club although the issues may vary from fan to fan they are still there and not being addressed with any success.
    You cant help injuries but the Dragons have bought more than a few who turned out to be duds for one reason or another but injuries have contributed with Masoe and Kiti Glymin just a couple.
    We do have a history of buying other clubs cast offs who have proved to be just a waste of money like the Germ and others.
    The Hunt "deal" based on the rumors of cost wont look any good until he arrives and proves to be value for money.
    Widdop has been the only "buy" the Dragons have bought in over 6 years who has actually been any good as far as back line quality.
    I don't include Duges unfortunately but only due to his being injury prone and lack of willingness to pass.
    The Forwards are a mixed bag and don't exactly set the world on fire as a whole pack but do some individually good things on the field
     
  14. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    [​IMG]
     
    stanleyg likes this.
  15. stanleyg

    stanleyg Well-Known Member

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    They will just tell Duges and a few others it starts a day early:p
     
  16. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    Possible team - with positions I have strong doubts on.

    1. Matt Dufty
    2. Nene Macdonald/Jordan Pereira )18,
    3. ??? .........................................) 22,
    4. Tim Lafai.................................) 26, 27

    5. Euan Aitken
    6. Gareth Widdop (c)
    7. Ben Hunt

    8. James Graham
    9. Cameron McInnes
    10. Paul Vaughan
    11. Tyson Frizell
    12. Joel Thompson
    13. Jack de Belin

    Interchange:


    14. Tariq Sims
    15. Leeson Ah Mau
    16. Blake Lawrie ) 19, 21
    17. Kurt Mann

    -----------------------------------------

    18. Jason Nightingale
    19. Hame Sele

    20. Luciano Leilua
    21. Josh Kerr
    22. Jai Field

    23. Will Matthews
    24. Drew Hutchison
    25. Jacob Host
    26. Zac Lomax
    27. Tristan Sailor

    28-30. Others.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  17. S J

    S J Mod Squad Staff Member

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    nrl.com

    Their season may have finished terribly, with a lame defeat in Round 26 to a bottom-eight Bulldogs side when a victory was needed to secure a finals berth, but was St George Illawarra's 2017 campaign really a disappointment?

    It is hardly consolation for Dragons fans still feeling the hurt of their final loss of the season, but take a step back and you could easily argue the club exceeded expectations this season. Many were predicting a bottom-two finish for Paul McGregor's men this year, with the team having struggled badly in attack in 2016 and with promising half Drew Hutchison ruled out for the season with a knee injury before the campaign began.

    Instead they exploded out of the blocks, thumping the highly-fancied Panthers in Round 1 and winning six of their opening seven matches to go into the Anzac Weekend on top of the ladder.

    But a trio of losses against premiership heavyweights the Roosters, Storm and Sharks followed and the Dragons would fail to string together back-to-back wins in the second half of the season, with five defeats against bottom-eight teams in the final 10 rounds bringing their finals hopes undone.

    Where they excelled: The addition of Paul Vaughan strengthened an already impressive forward pack, and the Red V finished with more run metres and offloads than any other team this season. The Dragons also led the league for tackle breaks and ranked second for line breaks, and with playmaker Gareth Widdop having his best season since joining the club it all added up to a significant improvement to St George Illawarra's attack – from 15th in the league last season to fifth this year. They were strong without the ball as well, with the second-fewest missed tackles in the competition.

    Where they struggled: The Dragons' Round 26 loss to Canterbury did sum up their season in one way – it epitomised the real weakness of their campaign. While six of their wins came against teams that would go on to play finals football, too often the Red V failed to win against teams they should have beaten. In the second half of the season the Dragons lost to the Titans, Knights, Rabbitohs, Raiders and Bulldogs (twice), all teams that missed the eight. From Round 17 to Round 22 they faced four teams below them on the ladder and one genuine finals rival in the Sea Eagles – they smashed Manly 52-22 and lost the other four games.


    Missing in action: Hutchison's season-ending injury got things off on the wrong foot, although Josh McCrone filled in admirably at halfback. Euan Aitken was restricted to just a dozen games due to shoulder injuries, rep star Josh Dugan missed some game time with hamstring and cheekbone injuries, Widdop missed a month with a knee injury and Will Matthews spent the bulk of the season sidelined with a dislocated hip.

    Turning point: At the end of a rollercoaster of a season the turning point for the Dragons appeared to come 55 minutes into their Round 25 clash with Penrith, when Tariq Sims pulled off an audacious one-on-one strip on Panthers speedster Dallin Watene-Zelezniak before running 45 metres to score the match-winning try that kept his team's finals hopes alive. Alas the point that defined their season would instead come a week later with seven minutes remaining in Round 26, when Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa burrowed over from close range for the try that ended the Red V's campaign.

    Hold your head high: Gareth Widdop was brilliant as the team's chief playmaker, ranking second in the league for points scored and third for try assists. New recruits Paul Vaughan and Cameron McInnes were excellent additions to the pack, with Vaughan scoring eight tries and leading the team for run metres and McInnes finishing as the top tackler in the competition. Jack de Belin continued his rise as one of the best all-round forwards in the NRL, ranking second at the club for tackles and offloads, while Jason Nightingale's 16 tries ranked him sixth in the league after 26 rounds.

    2018 crystal ball: The high-profile recruitment of Broncos playmaker Ben Hunt was confirmed all the way back in January and his combination with a rejuvenated Widdop could give the Dragons one of the league's most potent halves combinations. The expected signing of Bulldogs skipper James Graham would boost an already strong forward pack, giving Paul McGregor a very solid-looking line-up. Josh Dugan's departure will be offset by the rise of improving speedster Matt Dufty who has already provided some highlights at fullback in the top grade and the team should really be pushing for a finals berth next season.

    Conclusion: While it ended in disappointment, 2017 season will possibly go down as the one in which the Dragons recalibrated their expectations – going from a team that was making up the numbers to one that can now set a top-eight finish as a minimum expectation. They've learned the hard way the value of not taking the weaker teams lightly in the NRL and should be better for it in 2018.

    SEASON STATISTICS
    Wins: 12
    Losses: 12
    Position: 9th
    Home Record: 7-5
    Away Record: 5-7
    Longest Winning Streak: 5 games (Round 3-7)
    Longest Losing Streak: 3 games (Round 8-10)
    Players Used: 25
    Tries Scored: 91
    Tries Conceded: 80

    ------------------

    It is hard to fathom how a team with those stats missed the finals. 4th in overall % - for and against - leading the comp after 6 rounds - able to score tries.

    Yet - at times - commitment was lacking - as was resolve. We did lose some via injury - but so did most other sides.

    We have strengthened for 2018 - which is good - but badly need speed out wide.

    Our main problem - I fear it will our Coach once again. He does not appear to be able to lift them for games they should win. Whether he lacks the inspirational techniques of Bennett - or the fear of Bellamy - I don't know. A very nice guy - but lacks something. I can see us making the 8 and 4 in 2018 - but I saw this in 2017. We could have achieved this but didn't. Until we build some "commitment/spirit" into the team - for a full 80 minutes - we will linger in the doldrums I fear.
     
  18. stanleyg

    stanleyg Well-Known Member

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    Those stats don't look too bad BUT they really don't tell the tale of why they were so disappointing.
    I have been saying it for a few seasons ( probably since 2011).
    The Dragons don't value field position
    When they get to defend near the opposition 10 - 20 metre zone they tend to be caught out slow getting up and give penalties
    They defend on the back peddle until stuck against their goal line
    They don't move up in defence
    They yield probably the most metres of any team
    They are quite often caught out of position not marking up against their opposite number out wide so they get stretched in defence.

    That just their defensive effort which makes them tired out by the time they get the ball.
    Their attack runs hot and cold. One week they can run up a big score and the next they haven't a clue.
     
  19. Bazza

    Bazza Active Member

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    Fuck"n hell! You should be like my old Man - He forgets the shit by the dragons the following day. If you don't have dementia S J or STG - f***'n drink ....Lol! For many years with the eels I'm quite fancy a Jack D! :D
     
  20. stanleyg

    stanleyg Well-Known Member

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    Just saying it like it is Bazza and I do have a memory. If I had the Big D or drank I would better off as I wouldn't have to remember how bad the Dragons can be ....or why.
    I don't drink much even though the Dragons would drive you to drink at times although I am a Tennessee Squire:bag:.

    The eels would drive anyone to drink though.
    They have done well this year after the hard times of salary cap rorts and a few players with errant ways including the odd nose sniffle issue.
     

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