The 2019 NRL season has crossed the halfway point, and unlike previous years, the Dragons’ annual collapse is already in full swing.
This time last year, the Dragons were premiership contenders and considering whether or not to rest their State of Origin stars.
Now, they have no choice but to play them.
Heading into their Round 13 clash against the Bulldogs on a five-game losing streak, the Dragons have tumbled to 13th on the NRL ladder. Looking like a Top 8 team six weeks ago and paying $1.50 to play finals football, Paul McGregor and the Red V are now out to $2.90.
Can the Dragons rebound and get themselves into a position to play September footy?
Why The Dragons Make The Top 8
A quick look over the St George team list offers plenty of hope for finals football.
In Tyson Frizell and Paul Vaughan, the Dragons have two Origin reps in the pack. It was only last year that Tariq Sims wore sky blue too. Ben Hunt just played his fifth game for Queensland. It wasn’t long ago that Corey Norman was mentioned as a bolter either.
Origin replacement for JT pecking order: Michael Morgan, DCE, Corey Norman, Anthony Milford
— Chris Garry (@ChrisGarry7) May 11, 2017
Euan Aitken was unlucky to miss out on Origin selection last year, Korbin Sims and James Graham are consummate professionals and reliable through the middle, Matt Dufty is one of the most exciting players in the NRL when presented with the right opportunities.
This is a Top 8 team on paper and should be better than the $2.90 price they’re being given to make it.
Why The Dragons Won’t Make The Top 8
The problem for the Dragons is McGregor’s name is on that piece of paper too.
First, he tried to crowbar five 80-minute spine players into games to start the season. When Garreth Widdop’s injury popped up and removed that headache, he moved on to selecting an outside back on the bench and forcing him into the game.
It’s not only the strange selections and rotations that McGregor employs that have negatively impacted the team. He also told his side Jack de Belin would win his court case and be available for their game against Knights.
— Palmerbet (@PalmerbetAU) June 3, 2019
As it turns out, he didn’t win. Even if he had, he wouldn’t have been eligible to be selected. Hit with the bad news, the Dragons were thrashed 45-12 to register their fourth of five straight losses.
Without any consistency to the team list, the Dragons haven’t been able to play consistent footy. While injuries have played their part, McGregor has done serious damage.
What have you done for me lately?
That’s the question that needs to be asked of McGregor and the Dragons.
Sure, they made the Top 8 last year and thrashed the Broncos in Week 1. That came following a late-season collapse, though. The same collapse occurred a year earlier too, only that time, they couldn’t sneak into the Top 8.
The Dragons look like a finals team on paper. However, they’ve been that way for years and regularly fall short.
Right now, they can’t be trusted to make the Top 8.
With how the Sea Eagles have played to start the season and with the reinforcements they have arriving, their $2.30 to make the Top 8 is the better bet.