What is wrong with the Dragons attack?

Pressure: Too much of St George Illawarra’s attack focuses on Ben Hornby and halves partner Jamie Soward. Picture: Jane DysonWITH Cronulla forced to make an extra 50 tackles, the Dragons should have scored at least once. But as the Sharks defence repelled all that St George Illawarra threw at them, questions have to be asked about the Dragons attack.
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Much of the off-season hype was that coach Steve Price had revolutionised the way the Dragons played as the loss of some key forwards in recent years forced the Dragons to move away from their grind-them-out type football. He moved halves Ben Hornby and Jamie Soward to opposite sides of the field and Kyle Stanley was given first crack in the No.1 jersey.

At times they have been fluent in attack with ball movement and speed a marked improvement on recent years. But on Saturday, they lacked penetration for one reason — they don’t have enough points of attack.

Contain Soward and Hornby and there is little left for opposition teams to worry about. The halves tried and schemed but when plan A didn’t eventuate, the Dragons struggled for B.

Brett Morris is a revelation in the No.1 jersey in terms of kick return and support play but he is a runner. What Morris makes up for in his running ability he lacks in being a ‘‘link man’’.

He won’t chime in at fullback and create an extra man. He isn’t a distributor and defensive teams don’t fear him setting up his outside men.

Injuries have played their part too with veteran centre Matt Cooper in and out and Chase Stanley yet to play NRL.

But the killer blow has been injuries to hookers Nathan Fien and Cameron King as attack is the strength of both players. While Mitch Rein has been among the Dragons best performers, he is unable to churn out 80 minutes. When Rein is off, Dean Young has reverted back to the hooking role which is costly in two parts.

At hooker, Young’s service is laborious with no flow when he is passing off the ground and he is taken away from playing lock in the middle of the field where he takes pressure off the halves acting as an extra distributor. He fills in at first receiver allowing for a three-pass shift, he kicks and has the ability to turn players inside to set up the next play.

Jack De Belin has started most matches at lock and has done well as he develops into a first grade player but he is playing as an extra prop.

If you shut down Soward and Hornby, you nullify the Dragons.

Fien is expected to return from an ankle injury against Newcastle on Friday night. Price hopes the Kiwi international will be at his attacking best. Points depend on it.

What do you feel is wrong with the Dragons attack?

Posted by at 16/07/2018
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