Dragons must keep focus in last-gasp rally for NRL finals action

Dragons fans Jake Butler, left, and Josh Morris, both 12, have autographs signed by Will Matthews and Jack de Belin on Wednesday. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Dragons fans Jake Butler, left, and Josh Morris, both 12, have autographs signed by Will Matthews and Jack de Belin on Wednesday. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

RUGBY LEAGUE

After coming up short against a number of the competition's heavyweights, Dragons prop Jack de Belin has warned his side not to drop their guard against vanquished sides determined to sink their slim finals chances.

The Dragons cannot afford a loss on their run home this season but have been blessed with a favourable draw that sees them come up against sides outside the top eight, three of which are out of finals contention.

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Only the Broncos (10th) - who they play in the season's penultimate round - sit higher on the table, though the Dragons will have to win three of the four matches on the road.

Go to the Dragons Den

St George Illawarra will, on Saturday, face a Canberra side desperate to avoid the first wooden spoon in their 32-year history and keen to prolong the agony that's seen the Dragons return penniless from all of their 11 trips to the national capital.

"It's come down to do or die - if we lose we're not playing finals footy and that's what we want to be doing. We see ourselves as a finals football team so we've got to win," de Belin said.

"We've just got to play our best footy now, there's no more weeks where we can be lapsing, and we've got to come home strong.

The 14th-placed Raiders have had a poor year but position has never mattered when the teams meet.

De Belin said the Dragons were kidding themselves if they couldn't find the motivation to break the hoodoo.

"They haven't been playing the best as of late Canberra but they always turn up for the occasion and this weekend's going to be no different."

De Belin has had an up-and-down season, with injury and suspension hindering his year.

"I was really enjoying lock there but the way Mary's got us playing, front-row and lock are exactly the same - it's just about getting Mez [Trent Merrin] back to playing his best football."

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