NRL 19 days ago

Death by a Thousand Sets of Six

  • Death by a Thousand Sets of Six

    SYDNEY - 31 March: Mark Gasnier #3 of the Dragons walks back to the change rooms dejected after their 33:16 loss during the NRL third round match between the Bulldogs and the St George Illawarra Dragons held at Stadium Australia in Sydney, Australia on 31 March, 2002. (Mandatory Credit: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

  • Death by a Thousand Sets of Six

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Joel Thompson of the Dragons looks dejected after a Bulldogs try during the round 26 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on September 3, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Death by a Thousand Sets of Six

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Tyson Frizell of the Dragons looks dejected after a Bulldogs try during the round 26 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on September 3, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Death by a Thousand Sets of Six

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Josh Dugan of the Dragons looks dejected after defeat during the round 26 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on September 3, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Death by a Thousand Sets of Six

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Tim Lafai of the Dragons looks dejected after defeat during the round 26 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on September 3, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Death by a Thousand Sets of Six

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Dragons supporters look dejected during the round 26 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on September 3, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Death by a Thousand Sets of Six

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Jason Nightingale of the Dragons looks dejected after defeat during the round 26 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on September 3, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Death by a Thousand Sets of Six

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Tyson Frizell of the Dragons looks dejected after defeat during the round 26 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on September 3, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Death by a Thousand Sets of Six

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Josh Dugan of the Dragons looks dejected after defeat during the round 26 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on September 3, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Put to the sword by the Bulldogs, in the end, the Dragons' death was merciful. No more blood and sweat shed by the players nor oceans of tears gushing from the team's army of long-suffering fans. The end was nigh weeks ago.

Thank God its over. My heart rate's been racing off the richter,  my nails have been chewed to the cuticles and my hoarse voice makes Tommy Raudonikis sound like a jockey. 

The last three months have been a car crash in slow motion. The wheels fell off soon after leaving the showroom and the car has fishtailed its way sideways ever since.

Heavy traffic coming from the opposite direction has made excellent use of clearways as the Dragons simply gave way.

The match against the Bulldogs was theirs for the taking. With the whole team on board, they could have zipped up the Transit Lane and found a semi-final car space. Instead, they went one out on the M5 heading south in peak hour. A very ugly sight.    

Coach Paul McGregor's mini explosion in the box as the full-time siren sounded in Round 26 was as  palpable as it was poignant.

The man they call "Mary" has held his emotions in check all season. He's had his seatbelt on, indicated left and right and given every indication that he is the man driving the red and white bus. He's a good driver but he's carrying 'a lot' of passengers. Bollocks to call for Mary to be culled.

However, the suggestion that holding the third  best points differential in the comp should be seen as some sort of green card giving auto entry into the semi finals is a load of hogwash.  

Things needs to happen. A complete overhaul is needed, not a grease and oil change. While a million dollar halfback and the rumoured signing of a fiery Great Brit international in season 2018 might help, it won't be  Valvoline. Know what I mean?

No one can dispute the fact that the Dragons' engine has been running but its been misfiring on two cylinders:Tyson Frizell and Gareth Widdop. These two guys are the Ferraris in the garage. Between them, straight line speed, power, torque and cornering come together as one. Pure Football Pleasure.    

Oh the desire to lift the covers off vintage models like a Billy Smith, Johnny Raper, 'Changa', Brian J and a fleet of others.

Where is the next Benny Creagh guts and  Ben Hornby glory going to come from? The Mark Coyne mastery, the 'Charriots' finish and the Mundine-like magic?

We need a zip zip man, a Luke Lewis lookalike and a Josh Jackson clone to be rolled out in 2018. Designs on players and combinations needing drafting now, Forget Mad Monday, make it road to recovery sponsored by WestConnex.  

Some 12 hours after the match and my heart rate is back to that of a dead man walking. There are green shoots on my nails and my voice is a little less raspy. Although I suspect much like the players, I'm feeling sad, sorry and somewhat whip lashed. How about you?



   

  





  
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