Welcome to The Debate, where the Mercury sport team discuss the big issues in Illawarra, national and international sport.
This week, Mercury sports editor TIM BARROW and league writer CAMERON MEE discuss whether Ben Hunt should return to the halfback role with Adam Clune out after failing concussion protocols.
Or should Tristan Sailor be handed his starting shot at the big time, as the Dragons try to keep their season alive against Souths on Thursday night?
Barrow: Well Cameron, this could be the biggest selection decision of the Dragons season - and one of the most contentious of Paul McGregor's time as coach.
I know they've found some form since shifting Hunt to hooker and probably saved Mary's career in the process, but it's time for Hunt to take ownership of this team. The Dragons need an experienced head alongside the enigmatic Corey Norman. They paid top dollar to lure him from the Broncos to be their general and now is the time for Hunt to repay the faith.
Sailor is going to be a wonderful player and deserves a shot in the NRL soon, but the Dragons must win to keep their finals hopes alive and they need their senior players to stand up. You think Sailor could be a game-changer as a late starter against Souths though?
Mee: Picking Hunt at halfback is certainly the easy option, but it comes with a number of problems. He may be earning top dollar, but he was struggling at seven earlier in the season and Hunt has finally looked comfortable since his shift to dummy half.
Given this is likely only a one-week change, moving Hunt to halfback, then Cameron McInnes back to hooker could be a big disruption ahead of a must-win game.
We saw in the brief opportunity Sailor received last season that he possesses that unique spark and unpredictability that every team desires.
If Norman is able to take control of the side's attack, it would free Sailor to play some off-the-cuff footy and threaten the Rabbitohs defence. It's a risk throwing a rookie into the fray for such a crucial match, but it could also be the magic rabbit the Dragons need to start a run to the finals.
Do you see it as too big a risk to pick the youngster for Thursday night's game?
Barrow: If the Dragons were in the Bulldogs position and completely out of the finals equation, or if it was next week's game against the Roosters - or if Clune is still out - then I'd absolutely be advocating for Sailor to play.
We know the Roosters are a phenomenal force in the competition and we've seen the struggles the Dragons have had this year with Hunt at halfback, so what would they have to lose with Sailor throwing something different at them?
But look at the ladder, St George Illawarra are two games out of the eight and would need a minor miracle to make the finals if they lose to Souths.
The Dragons just have to worry about winning one game, against Souths on Thursday night. It's win or bust. The future can wait. Hunt has maintained he sees himself as a halfback, so now is the time to shine when it's all on the line.
The video referee bunker howler where they handed the Sharks a try, despite Matt Dufty grounding the ball first at Kogarah, could have huge consequences if the Dragons are to just miss out on finals action, what did you make of it?
Mee: With each replay, it became clearer and clearer that Dufty grounded the ball first. The bunker was way too quick to make a decision and got it wrong.
Unfortunately, mistakes will happen and St George Illawarra were on the wrong end of this one. They ended up losing by four and the decision certainly affected the outcome, but it did not cost the Dragons the game.
St George Illawarra were the side that conceded 22-straight points and they were the side that was unable to make the most of their opportunities in the final 20 minutes.
Had Dufty himself grounded the ball when he had the chance to score the match-winning try with three minutes remaining, we wouldn't be spending so much time discussing this bunker error.
For me, the Sharks game is simply reflective of this Dragons season. So many opportunities to win games, but when push came to shove, they just weren't good enough. It was a very long time ago, but those first two losses to the Tigers and Penrith will likely prove particularly important at the business end of the season.
St George Illawarra had a chance to win both matches, they should have won both matches, yet they were unable to come away with the two points.
When it's all said and done, will this be a season of missed opportunities for the Dragons?
Barrow: They've been so wildly inconsistent and unable to sustain pressure, particularly on the top teams. The Bulldogs gifted them two tries at WIN Stadium to allow the Dragons a great escape, when they lost to Canterbury earlier in the season it appeared to be a write-off.
But then against Manly they played some stunning footy. And they've still got the Roosters, Parramatta, Canberra, Newcastle and Melbourne to come, so you'd think they'd have to produce an upset or two to make the eight anyway.
Which brings me back to my original concern about Sailor and Norman as a halves combination, the only way I can see it being successful would be to have Hunt and McInnes carrying plenty of the load from dummy-half.
Still, we know Sailor is a talent, do we think he can reach some of the heights of the great dual international Wendell? And should the Dragons make it a priority to keep him long-term?
Mee: The one thing I think we can all agree on is that Wendell and Tristan are two very different players. In saying that, I think Sailor junior can enjoy the same representative success that his father did.
I do worry, however, St George Illawarra are not the team to take him there. The main problem is he's just not getting an opportunity with the Dragons and that looks unlikely to change in the short-term.
Adam Clune has done a good job solidifying his hold on the halfback role, while Corey Norman has another year to run on his contract.
Maybe Clune and Sailor is the halves combination of the future, but that requires off-contract Sailor waiting around for another year in the hope he eventually gets his chance. In the right environment, say the Storm, the Knights, or even the Gold Coast under Mal Meninga and Justin Holbrook, I can see Tristan enjoying a successful NRL career.