Dragons need to play smarter not harder

SIMPLE FIX: Dragons hooker Cam McInnes says his side's recent wobbles come down to smarts not attitude. Picture: NRL Photos Gregg Porteous
SIMPLE FIX: Dragons hooker Cam McInnes says his side's recent wobbles come down to smarts not attitude. Picture: NRL Photos Gregg Porteous

ST GEORGE Illawarra hooker Cameron McInnes admits the Dragons have an issue between the ears, but he insists it has nothing to do with attitude.

The Dragons have gone 1-4 coming out of the representative period, prompting many to question their mindset as they battle to stay in the top four.

One of the Dragons most consistent performers this season, McInnes said he’s never had cause to question his side’s head space, saying their recent wobbles come down to smarts not commitment.

“Attitude is a pretty vague term,” McInnes said.

“I don’t read too much into the media but I know some people have said that our attitude, or bloke’s attitude out of Origin, has been questionable.

“Look at the stats of how many tackles players are making and their runs, they’re not different to the start of the year the result’s just different. Once the results become different, everybody starts to ask what’s wrong with this guy or that guy.

“In terms of desire I think, as a team, it’s as strong as ever. It’s just we’re not playing as clinically as we were at the start of the season.

“Looking at stats, we’ve been making almost a hundred more tackles than the other team and that comes down to completion rates and poor finishes to our sets and things like that.

“For me, that’s not attitude or desire, we’re just not being as smart with the footy and not being as ruthless.”

The 24-year-old had the same take when asked if their was any mental fatigue biting on his side with just four games remaining in the regular season.

“I wouldn’t say we’re mentally fatigued. For me, I’m working hard to turn it around and I’m excited to come in every day and I think all the boys are,” McInnes said.

“The club’s great in knowing when to rest us and when to drive us so there’s no excuses in that regard.

“When losses come everyone’s quick to look for reasons why, but it’s pretty clear on the field the reasons why. It’s not hard to fix. 

“Footy’s a momentum game and a momentum sport. Once that stops a little bit, you’ve got to really dig in and work hard to find it again and that’s what we’ve been doing.

“We’ve got talent across the board. You can’t have as much talent as we do, and as good a work ethic, and not find [form] again.” 

The Dragons run home, starting with Saturday’s clash with Parramatta, will see them play sides out of finals contention. It’s a scenario that’s tripped them up before, but McInnes said being out of the top eight race doesn’t make any side more less dangerous.

“I don’t think it matters at all,” he said. 

“Every game in the NRL’s a hard one so we’re not concerned about that. At the start of the year we were playing all top-eight teams and we were knocking most of them off so we’re not concerned with who we play.

“We know it’s in us and if we just keep working hard and working smarter with the footy we’ll be fine.” 

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