JOSH Dugan has been cleared of serious injury from Monday night's loss to Melbourne and will be named to play in round two against the Tigers.
The NSW representative was helped from the field 12 minutes from fulltime in the 12-4 season-opening loss to the Storm at Kogarah after sustaining an ankle injury.
However, in a massive boost to the Dragons' misfiring attack, club officials confirmed Dugan had cleared him of a major injury.
Coach Paul McGregor might not reaching for the panic button just yet but he admits his side have plenty have work to do after a poor attacking display against the Storm.
The Dragons completed at 84 per cent for the game - to Melbourne’s 72 - and forced the Storm to make 218 tackles in the first half. But despite the glut of possession they never really looked like breaching the purple wall with their only points coming to Eto Nabuli from a Benji Marshall grubber early in the second half. McGregor admitted his side was off the pace with the football.
‘‘I was disappointed with our attack,’’ McGregor said.
‘‘If you hold Melbourne to 12 or less you usually win the game. One try was scored off a kick and the other was a barge over so we held the D-line together quite well but it’s disappointing when you have that much possession and you don’t score points. It’s not a major concern because I know how good the boys have been going out on the practice field but come game time under a bit of fatigue people missed their roles. It’s the first game of the year so your timing’s going to be a bit out with certain things. It’s nothing we can’t fix.’’
Much of the preseason talk surrounding the Dragons centred on star halves pairing Benji Marshall and Gareth Widdop but the pair struggled for cohesion in their first outing for the year. Marshall produced a 40-20 early in the first half and also laid on Nabuli’s try with a deft grubber but neither could get their side’s attack in gear. Marshall said his side didn’t show enough patience with the ball.
‘‘We were probably guilty in the first half of trying to score too much,’’ he said.
‘‘We had good field position but we didn’t get ourselves in good enough attacking positions which is disappointing. We practiced a structure all week and we had a lot of ball but I think everything we threw at them in the first half they were ready for. Their line-speed was pretty outstanding and they way they defended probably ut us off a bit. Later in the game because we were chasing points late we started shifting which we haven’t really practiced. That’s a reflection of having to chase points and we should’ve put ourselves in a better position from the start.’’
Asked he was concerned by the performance Marshall said: ‘‘No not at all, it’s round one.
‘‘You don’t win the comp in round one but it does give us a a few things to work on and a few things we need to change.’’
Marshall welcomed the six-day turnaround ahead of their second Monday night match against the Tigers at Campbelltown on Monday.
‘‘I think we need it,’’ he said.
‘‘We looked a bit flat to be honest and I don’t know what that’s from but it’s something we need to work on.’’