A bid to farewell departing Dragons Nathan Fien and Michael Weyman on a positive note will help St George Illawarra snap their end-of-season slide, according to Charly Runciman.
The NSW under 20s star was parachuted back into the Dragons’ line-up for Saturday night’s heartbreaking loss to the Sharks, ending a frustrating month on the sidelines.
The Dubbo junior rejected suggestions the Dragons had little to play for in the last three games, with cellar dwellers Parramatta having seemingly sewn up the wooden spoon.
The Red V will play fellow also-rans Wests Tigers next weekend, knowing a loss will equal the club’s longest losing streak.
The Dragons will then figure in a round 25 scrap with the Eels before hosting the finals-chasing Warriors in the last round.
‘‘We’ve got plenty to play for...playing for our pride and playing for a couple of the older blokes that we really look up to – especially Horse [Weyman] and Fiensy [Fien] now that he’s announced his retirement,’’ Runciman said.
‘‘I really look up to Nathan Fien as one of the most experienced blokes in the team and the NRL. It would be nice to get a couple of wins for him and Horse before he goes overseas.
‘‘I thought our effort [Saturday night] was fantastic...you can’t fault that.
‘‘It kind of shows how our year has been, not really getting the luck of the draw late in the game. It’s very frustrating, but there’s not much we can do about it now.’’
Showing how highly he’s thought of in the Dragons’ set-up, St George Illawarra coach Steve Price had no hesitation rushing Runciman back into the NRL squad after his hamstring injury.
Originally named to play on the wing, Runciman was strong in his favoured centre position after initially thinking he would be eased back through the NSW Cup.
‘‘We were aiming for about three weeks, but we had to pull it back that extra week because it wasn’t quite ready,’’ Runciman said.
‘‘I thought I would be playing NSW Cup and hopefully snagging another game in first grade if things all went my way. I was fortunate enough to go straight back in the team.’’