DRAGONS BLOG: Red V veterans retire on a high

I used to think the 7pm kick-off for Monday night football was a pain in the butt for those of us with small children.

It still is - coming as it does smack in the middle of the bath-books-bed routine.

Well, I can now say that a 6.30pm kick-off is even worse, because it adds dinner to the front of the routine.

Luckily I have MyStar so I can hit the pause button just before the scheduled kick-off time. Then I just have a nervous wait until the kid’s bedtime and I can hit play and watch the whole game, albeit at least a half-hour behind real time.

That’s a plan that usually works - except for last night. For some reason the magic black box decided to switch off the pause function after about 20 minutes. So when I turned on the TV, it was half-time. And I can tell you, it takes a bit of the enjoyment out of a game when you miss half of it.

And this was a game I really wanted to enjoy, because it was Dean Young and Ben Hornby’s last game. Anyway, maybe I’ll be lucky and catch a replay during the week and I can see what happened in that first half.

At least I got to see Hornby’s try - for a guy who is retiring he still seemed light on his feet to step past four Eels defenders. Sadly for Young, he didn’t get over the stripe. He’d been talking in the lead-up to this game about how retirement means not ever having to run again.

Well it’s not quite over for Young. I believe he failed to score a try this year, so he’s got the nudie run to look forward to some time this week.

The second half also boasted something I’ve been waiting all season to see - Jamie Soward grab an intercept and beat everyone to the tryline at the other end. He used to do it a few times a year and I always found it exhilarating.

When he picked up that loose ball on our 10m line and scooted away I was up off the lounge and urging him on like I had money riding on him.

The retiring Dragons went out winners, to the tune of 29-8. Combine that with last week’s 38-6 effort against the Warriors and that’s 67 points we scored in our last two matches.

That news has made some wonder where this form has been hiding itself for most of the year.

But not me, because those 67 points were scored against two of the worst teams in the comp. Teams that made our lacklustre attack look good. Not to mention the fact that, this season, the Dragons seem to play better when the game is meaningless. Talk about being a chance to make the finals and we’d go into our shell.

If I take my fan’s hat off for a moment and become rational, I’d say a ninth place finish seems about right for 2012. We had a new coach, an ageing roster, a number of key players leave (Mark Gasnier and Darius Boyd) and a few others spend a fair whack of time on the bench (Michael Weyman and Beau Scott).

With all those things going against us, making the top eight would have been an amazing achievement. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from stoked with a ninth place finish - I’m just not sure that, rationally, I could have expected any better.

Now that the Dragons season is over for this year, I have to work out what I’m going to do until March 2013.


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