Tough NRL finals choices for hurting Dragons fans

Look to the future: Is Ben Hunt's impending arrival in Wollongong enough to cheer on the Broncos? Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

Look to the future: Is Ben Hunt's impending arrival in Wollongong enough to cheer on the Broncos? Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

Is there another NRL club able to do poetic heartbreak better than St George Illawarra?

Parramatta perhaps, given their fans’ willingness to have blind faith in their premiership cause, or maybe Souths, but they had their drought-breaking fairytale in 2014. 

But the Dragons, blimey, they do it well.

So if supporters can drag themselves to the television to watch the NRL playoffs, who should they cheers for?

Game On breaks it down.

Melbourne Storm? Well, they do have former Dragons prop Jason Ryles on the coaching staff.

But in his playing days, he, like Trent Barrett was made into something of a pantomime villain, whenever St George Illawarra lost a big game. And then there’s the 1999 grand final, so no, not the Storm. Next.

The Roosters? Dapto’s favourite son Craig Fitzgibbon has served a long coaching apprenticeship in the eastern suburbs and could even be the next NSW coach. 

But, with the Anzac Day rivalry, is there much reason for Dragons fans to get on the bandwagon? Maybe only when they play the Storm in a grand final.

Brisbane – who played the Roosters on Friday night –rival the Storm in terms of likability outside their own supporter base, but Ben Hunt’s impending arrival might be cause enough to want him to succeed this year, at a pinch at least.

Parramatta? Certainly front-runners in the finals feel-good stakes and have common ground with Dragons fans about dislike of the Bulldogs and Manly.

And there’s always plenty of room on the Eels bandwagon, just as there was in 2009 when the Hayne Plane carved the Dragons.

St George Illawarra fans are still filthy they can no longer tease their neighbours Cronulla about having an empty trophy cabinet. 

Two in a row? Nope. Next.

Manly. It’s always hard to like Manly, but those who loved Barrett might find a soft spot for them.

Penrith? They’ll have to be perfect in September, but Trent Merrin is one of the nicest blokes in the game and Dragons fans would be pretty happy to have him hold the trophy, as much as they’d rather him be wearing the Red V at the time. And the Cowboys? For so long everyone’s second favourite team, a North Queensland the would be an extraordinary feat, given the injury toll. 

It would also be a huge achievement for Windang and Port Kembla’s own Kane Linnett to win a second title. This will be a tough finals campaign to take for Dragons fans missed out, after their last-round loss to the Dogs. But there’s only really two forms of therapy for the next four weeks, find a temporary team, or find another hobby. 

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