Dragons seek lift for Hook and Hunt in Cowboys clash

·2-min read

St George Illawarra coach Anthony "Hook" Griffin says it's the brutality of the business as questions over his future loom ahead of what is a must-win clash against North Queensland away.

Griffin's Dragons have lost five straight games by six points or less and are languishing second from the bottom after a Magic Round defeat to cellar-dwellers Wests Tigers.

Speculation over Griffin's future has bubbled since the club informed him pre-season he would need to reapply for his position next year, with the board actively searching for an alternative.

Sydney Roosters assistant coach Jason Ryles, Ben Hornby and Dean Young have all been touted as potential successors at the Red V.

Griffin says the pressure of losses mounts up and a win against another desperate side in the Cowboys will do their players, fans and club wonders.

"Whenever you don't win you're open to criticism," the Dragons mentor said at captain's run in Townsville.

"But the effort from our guys has been enormous over the last five weeks. It's been frustrating, but the only way to change it is to get the score board right and that's what we need to do tomorrow.

"Sometimes you go through a patch and you think you're going better than what you owe and you win a few games that you probably don't deserve to win.

"But that's I suppose the brutality of the business."

Griffin said there is no "magic turnaround" but his side won't lack any motivation in skipper Ben Hunt's 300th career NRL appearance.

"It's a special game for Ben but obviously for the team. It's not every day you get to play with someone celebrating 300 games and he's our captain and our leader. I'm sure they'll all play for him tomorrow night," Griffin said.

"I've known him since he was 17. He's a fantastic person first and foremost before you get on the field and he's very honest. He works very hard and when it comes to football, he's always got a team mentality."

Hunt will become the 47th player to appear in 300 NRL games in Saturday's fixture but history favours the hosts in Townsville.

The Cowboys have won their past three games against the Dragons by a combined scoreline of 103-46 and are chasing consecutive wins for the first time this season.