Dragons won't dwell on error

Fullback Josh Dugan says the Dragons have put their controversial loss to the Storm behind them as Saturday's match against the Warriors looms. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI
Fullback Josh Dugan says the Dragons have put their controversial loss to the Storm behind them as Saturday's match against the Warriors looms. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI


The message from Jason Nightingale and Josh Dugan is simple: it's time to move on from the final siren furore before the Dragons' patchy form has them staring into an abyss.

A day after St George Illawarra boss Peter Doust implored the NRL to award a seething Dragons two competition points from the refereeing blunder against the Storm, his players gave every indication they were already well into the healing process.

Although disappointed the NRL had conceded the match officials had erred in letting the Storm launch a match-winning play after the siren, Nightingale and Dugan said their focus had switched.

"That's the easiest way to put it to bed - short turnarounds are the best thing after gut-wrenching losses," Nightingale said, as the Dragons prepare to take on the Warriors on Saturday night.

"Five days is not much time to think about it and you pretty much have to move on.

"The evidence was there and obviously it's disappointing, but it's rugby league.

"We've just got to focus on what we did well in that game - which was a lot of things - and go into a short turnaround [confident]."

Dugan was at the centre of his own bit of controversy on Monday night, seemingly offside from a Michael Witt kick in the lead-up to a Trent Merrin try.

But it was quickly forgotten as the Dragons' bid to end a 15-year hoodoo in Melbourne was extended in a dramatic finish.

And Dugan warned that his teammates must be positive to prevent the Red V from slumping to a fourth straight loss.

"Everyone is confident the best is still yet to come, and to go down and play one of the better sides like Melbourne in Melbourne and be there at the end was definitely exciting for the boys," he said.

"A short turnaround playing the Warriors here on Saturday at Kogarah [helps]."

While Matt Cecchin's failure to prevent Young Tonumaipea playing the ball after the full-time siren has dominated headlines, the Dragons haven't ignored the concussion debate.

They were forced to haul Dan Hunt from the field in the final minute and defend with just 12 men after Joel Thompson wasn't deemed fit to return to the field, with lingering effects from an earlier head knock.

Coach Steve Price had already used his allotted interchanges, caught off guard when stoppages in the final 15 minutes meant Thompson's assessment period lasted longer than the time left.

"We did it by the book and were punished because of it," Nightingale said. "As far as having 12 people on the field goes, it's a shame that happened and we could have easily gone around the rules and sent someone back on or said Joel Thompson was all right.

"It's a shame to be penalised by that sort of thing, but we did the right thing by Joel and that's the main thing."

NRL head of football Todd Greenberg rejected Dragons chief executive Peter Doust's request for the club to get points, saying mistakes were part of the game.

"This is rugby league and we will not get everything right. We're doing our best but it's not easy," Greenberg said.

"Decision of referees and match officials are in real time. Them asking for two points is not going to happen. It was never considered."


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