The streak has been ended but the Dragons lost no fans with the performance that they put in, nobody gave them a hope in hell of beating the bunnies and the Dragons held the lead for a long time, it was just lack of attack that cost us, with the Dragons unable to penetrate the Rabbitohs line in the final ten minutes.
Despite the loss the Dragons played well, with only Benji and Widdop failing to fire, the forwards were outstanding having the clear advantage over Souths mammoth pack, they marched straight through the middle all game and contained Souths momentum, forcing them to go around us.
Josh Dugan was outstanding despite not being fully fit, he gave the Dragons excellent starts to the sets and the same will be needed this week against his former team who are full of confidence after their demolition of the Titans. Both teams forward packs are firing on all cylinders so this game will come down to the skill and nuance of the outside backs and halves to be the difference with evenly matched forward packs.
Leeson Ah Mau
Jack de Belin
Widdop vs. Austin
This is a tale of two players at complete opposite ends of their games, Widdop a big name not firing, he is not backing his instincts enough and that is causing a disjoint in the Red V attack, then you have Austin who is all about backing his instincts, playing what he sees and running the ball as much as possible, you very rarely hear people complain of their halves running too much and that is why Austin is being mentioned as an origin bolter, Widdop could take a page out of Austin’s book and run the ball with conviction. On paper Widdop is the better player and should be able to come out on top, but on form Austin is clearly the winner, whoever has the better game will most likely decide the outcome of this game.
Dugan vs. Wighton
Another master and apprentice battle, my favourite. Both these players played together at Canberra and now Wighton has gone from the young winger to a representative fullback who has been mentioned in the Origin discussion, he will be looking for a big game against Dugan who has all but secured the NSW fullback spot. Dugan was outstanding against the bunnies and the Dragons will be looking for another top performance before he goes into origin camp, this will be an exciting clash with two big fullbacks who love to run the ball.
Forward Pack vs. Forward Pack
Both these packs have been excellent this season, they are differing in style but equally as effective, the Dragons starting forwards pump out huge minutes with the bench having very little to do, Merrin, Cooper, Thompson, Frizell and De Belin all punching out over 50 minutes a game, with Canberra however use players in smaller minutes but use their bench far more with the likes of Boyd and Nicholls providing real gusto at the back end of each half. It will be intriguing who or even if anybody “wins” this battle, I predict it to be pretty even resulting in a good old fashion bash fest.
I got through the article without mentioning the Hoodoo, and that is because it is gone but I am sure the coverage pre game will be all about the hoodoo and that is why people will tip Canberra, I think the Dragons will take this one on the back of Dugan, he will be looking to cement his NSW position and will fire the Dragons to a big win, I think he will bag a few to and he is also my prediction for first try scorer. Dragons 28-14