Dragons to paddle through NRL challenge

Matt Encarnacion

St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has revealed a plan to use coloured paddles as a possible avenue to challenge refereeing decisions this NRL season.

The Dragons became the first team to successfully use the captain's challenge after having two calls overturned in Saturday's pre-season loss to South Sydney.

Both challenges occurred either side of halftime in Mudgee, the first of which came after officials missed a knock-on from Latrell Mitchell.

The second came after Ben Hunt was ruled to have knocked a ball forward following an attempted offload from a Rabbitohs player.

"There was a couple of others there that probably could've challenged as well but I think for something so fresh and new, to get two right is good," McGregor said.

"That's a positive - that's two possessions that we wouldn't have had if we didn't have that captain's challenge."

McGregor went on to admit that he has considered waving green or red paddles from the coach's box or sideline to instruct his skipper to quickly argue a call.

Captains, who only have one successful challenge per game, only have ten seconds to get the attention of the referee.

"We didn't have it tonight but we're looking at different ways of being innovative and bringing in a quick decision," McGregor said.

"If we can get it from top down or the sideline, or the players see something and want to ask to back-up that support, we'll come up with little ways of making it clearer for the boys out there."

Their 100 per cent success rate was one of the few positives McGregor took out of their second-half fadeout against the Rabbitohs.

The Dragons showed plenty of ticker in defending their line on their way to claiming an eight-point halftime lead at Glen Willow Sports Complex.

But they were blown out in the second half before going down 26-12.

Having come close to winning the Nines tournament in Perth, as well as routing Newcastle in their other trial, McGregor refused to panic about the collapse.

"We obviously will work on that because it's not what you want to see in your final trial. But in saying that, there's a lot of things out there that we liked," he said.

"They had four repeat sets and they didn't come away with any points in that time. Souths are a pretty strong, physical side and score points.

"To defend that for long periods of time was a real positive."