Dragon Bronson Harrison says focus on Manly not coach

Bronson Harrison

Bronson Harrison

Dragons back-rower Bronson Harrison has urged his side to ignore speculation surrounding who will coach the club in 2015 and focus on continuing their late run at this year's finals.

Wayne Bennett is still the favourite to be at the Dragons helm next year but board member Sean O'Connor's public endorsement of interim coach Paul McGregor on Thursday confirmed that it is still a two-horse race.

The Dragons remain on a finals knife-edge, level with Brisbane (seventh) and Melbourne (eighth) on 20 competition points with just their for and against keeping them out of the top eight.

Harrison - himself off contract at season's end - warned his side against letting off-field distractions derail their finals bid.

"It's something that is out of our control so there's no use us wasting our time on it," Harrison said.

"If they [Bennett and McGregor] are the two options, they're two great options for the club but for myself I don't even know where I'm going to be next year, so it's right out of my head and right out of my mind.

"It's a win-win either way but my focus isn't on that, it's on playing good football week in, week out.

"We've got a coach to play for right now, so we've got to put our best foot forward just to be picked in the side.

"We've got a lot of depth in our squad and if you're not performing you won't be in the side. You can't worry about the other stuff."

The Dragons's task on Monday night certainly warrants their full focus as they face an in-form Manly side that are $4 favourites to win the premiership in a match that could prove crucial to their finals aspirations.

The Dragons have history on their side, with the Sea Eagles winning just 10 of 34 matches at Kogarah, with just one win in their last seven appearances at the venue.

Manly have featured in four of the last seven grand finals, winning two, and Harrison admits he can't recall a time in his career when the Sea Eagles haven't been one of the NRL's benchmark sides.

"We're coming up against a side that's been there for the last five or 10 years. I can't even remember a time they haven't been up there it's been that long," Harrison said.

"They're always in the fight. They're a top quality side - you can get out there and they can blow you off the park or they'll hang right in there to the very death. That's the quality of their side.

"We've got to make sure that our quality's right up there with them and we put them under some pressure.

"We have to be clinical in everything that we do. Each and every week we get out there is a chance to prove to yourself that you are a quality team and we definitely need to do that this week."

■ MORE LEAGUE: P40-41

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