Winning not enough for driven Dragons coach Paul McGregor

Tiger Blake Austin finds himself surrounded by the Dragons defence during a breakout run on Sunday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Tiger Blake Austin finds himself surrounded by the Dragons defence during a breakout run on Sunday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES


IT says a lot about the high standards set by Paul McGregor that the Dragons' 28-12 victory in a crunch match over top-eight rivals Tigers gets only a pass mark.

The Dragons produced one of their best halves of football this season in the first half at ANZ Stadium to run in four tries - two to star five-eighth Gareth Widdop - before they switched off after the break.

The lapse allowed the Tigers back into the match with tries to Blake Austin and Robbie Farah immediately after the interval, moving them to trail 22-12 before a Widdop penalty goal and a late try to Brett Morris sealed the win.

After similar lapses cost his side victory over competition leaders Manly last week McGregor said the Tigers match, despite the convincing victory, was not his side's best.

"It probably wasn't one of our better ones to be honest. We had a tough game on Monday night and I thought at stages we were preserving ourselves a little bit," McGregor said.

"It was a tough game Monday night against Manly and a six-day turnaround. We had a really good block there where we put 22 points on pretty quickly but that first 10-15 minutes of the second half we let ourselves down a touch and we need to push through that.

"We conserved a bit of energy and didn't really turn up the heat more than anything else.

"It's the first time this group's found themselves with a 22-point lead in a game and they need to know how to turn up the heat there.

"But if you said before the game 'you'll win 28-12' you'd be comfortable with that and in the end the boys were too strong."

Five-eighth Benji Marshall echoed the coach's assessment, marking his side highly despite the victory over his former club, saying the Dragons can't afford similar lapses this week against a Roosters side fuming from a disappointing loss to the Knights.

"We lost against the best team in the comp [Manly] last week and were filthy about it, so there's a lot of pride being shown in the jumper," Marshall said.

"I think if you look at our position eight weeks ago to where we are today the improvement in the attitude has been pretty big.

"I think we're criticising the way we won [against the Tigers]. We didn't do it in the best of fashions, our second half was pretty terrible to start, so we need to work on that."


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