Price the happy Dragon

RUGBY LEAGUE

If Dragons coach Steve Price is a man under pressure heading into the 2014 NRL season he's certainly not showing it.

Fresh from overseeing his third NRL pre-season, a relaxed Price said pressure was part and parcel of coaching one of rugby league's proudest clubs.

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"There's pressure in everything and being the Dragons we all know what comes with that," Price said.

"We know we're going to be ready for round one.

"Everyone's gelling as a

unit and I'm really happy with the way the group's coming along.

"It's a really happy place and the guys are really buying into what we're trying to achieve."

Price has battled an ageing roster and crippling injury toll since succeeding Wayne Bennett as coach in 2012.

Armed with a host of fresh new faces, he is confident he now has the right mixture of youth and experience to return the club to the top of the competition.

"It's exciting ... it feels like it's a new beginning," Price said.

"It is a positive but in saying that we've also got a lot of old heads to go with it.

"It's a good mixture of old guys and young guys and it's certainly got a really good feel.

"We've got some really good depth in the forwards there's some good young bulls coming through.

"The guys are challenging each other ... it doesn't matter who they are so that's really pleasing."

Much of the pre-season hype surrounding the Dragons has centred on the the club's bursting halves stocks with with Gareth Widdop, Sam Williams, Kyle Stanley, Josh Drinkwater, Michael Witt and the versatile Adam Quinlan all fighting for a place in round one.

Price said it's a very welcome new headache.

"It's a good position to be in with pressure on key positions," Price said.

"It does take a little bit of time integrating new players and new combinations but it's my job to try and fast-track those guys so that come round one everyone's transparent in what they need to do and has their job down pat.

"You don't really know until you start playing the trials how it's going to look but I'm confident it's going to be really positive."

The Dragons will begin their pre-season trials with a match against a combined Mudgee and Illawarra Cutters side at Kogarah next Friday before the highly anticipated Auckland Nines tournament on February 15 and the annual Charity Shield Clash with South Sydney in Wollongong on February 22.

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