The damning truth about the boring St George Illawarra Dragons

·Contributor
·3-min read
Dragons player Ben Hunt looks despondent during the team's NRL loss to the Cowboys.
The Dragons capitulated at home against the Cowboys last weekend, leaving them with only a slim chance of making the NRL finals. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

You can tell more about a football club in defeat than victory.

St George Illawarra's meek surrender to North Queensland at a half-full Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Sunday smacked of a team counting the days until the season ends.

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Heading into the game the Dragons sat 11th behind a cluster of teams vying for the last spot or two in the top eight.

There was everything to play for.

Win and they go ahead of Manly and stay in the fight, lose and it's just about all over.

For 55 minutes the Dragons were in the contest…until it all got too hard.

Trailing 10-8, the Red V conceded 24 unanswered points in 25 minutes on the back of some diabolical defence and an inability to ask any questions in attack.

If there was a game plan, it was well concealed.

It seemed to stop and start at Ben Hunt.

The Red V will now need to win four of their last five games - or probably all five given their poor for and against - to have any chance of making the eight.

That won’t happen, making it fourth straight years without finals football.

Saints have only made the top eight once in six years. It's a dreadful record for such a big club.

Coach Anthony Griffin has overseen two of those campaigns and will be back in 2023 with yet another fresh coaching structure.

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Assistants Peter Gentle and Mathew Head were told days out from the Cowboys game their services would not be required, the timing of the decision bizarre to say the least.

Others will follow them out the door, either of their own volition or hooked by Hook.

The biggest knock on Griffin is his disconnect with young players and a preference for players closing in on their use-by date.

There is some talent there but Griffin is not a risk taker. He looks both ways before crossing a one-way street.

Dragons coach Anthony Griffin is facing an uphill battle to get St George Illawarra into the finals. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Dragons coach Anthony Griffin is facing an uphill battle to get St George Illawarra into the finals. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Exhibit A is his decision to throw young gun Tyrell Sloan into Sunday's game when it was all over.

What was the kid supposed to do at that point?

Outside of the Knights, the Dragons are the most boring side in the comp.

They're only just ahead of the Bulldogs, Warriors and Titans for points scored this season and have by far the worst for and against of any of the top 12 sides.

So, after all this, if Griffin's still the answer, what's the question?

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