Dragons caught in Ground-Dog Day, losing 30-18

The Dragons might as well start planning their end of season trip at this rate, putting in a another poor performance last night. This time going down to the Bulldogs 30-18 at ANZ Stadium.

In a very dour affair, it was a case of the Bulldogs making slightly less errors than the hapless Dragons to win ‘ugly’ – a comment pretty much backed up by Dogs coach Steve Folkes at the games end.

Supercoach Wayne Bennett, who will arrive next year appears the only ray of hope for Dragons fans despite current coach Nathan Brown insisting better days are just around the corner. Bennett will need to perform miracles at this rate and it will be interesting to see his effect on the stale club.

That corner is looking more like a roundabout at the moment; dropped balls, poor passes, missed tackles and ill-discipline killing any hopes of a Dragons win.

It was only when the Bulldogs put the cue in the rack that they hit back with two late tries, the 30-6 scoreline after 71 minutes more an indication of the home side’s dominance.

“We just can’t get any flow, we can’t get all 17 people heading in that one direction playing reasonable well at once,” Brown lamented.

“Any time we start to get some momentum, someone comes up with an error or someone comes up with a poor pass.

“Confidence is a wonderful thing, if you sold it by the schooner, you’d get them to all go out and buy it. It’s a great thing to have and when you don’t, it’s not good.”

What’s worse is they have to play the high-flying Sydney Roosters on Anzac Day, Brown claiming he had little choice but to keep faith in the incumbents.

“Making mass changes is not what’s going to fix our problem,” said Brown, who appeared quite composed given his side’s dire situation.

“I can sit here and rant and rave, it ain’t going to change anything, I’m not going to wake up tomorrow and we’re going to be 3-2 or 4-1, that won’t happen.

“Me ranting and raving and talking rubbish trying to make out I’m intelligent ain’t going to help the case neither.”

The Dragons actually started well enough, leading 6-4 before four errors led directly to four Bulldogs tries and a 26-6 lead three minutes after half-time.

While possession and position were handed to them, the Bulldogs deserve credit for turning that into points.

Doubles to Tim Winitana and Matt Utai and another try to Willie Tonga on the stroke of half-time, when a Rangi Chase chip kick fell right in the hands of the centre who raced 70 metres to score, eased some of the concerns over the blue and white strike power out wide.

After building up a 24-point lead, the Bulldogs seemingly decided they’d done enough as the Dragons scored long range late tries to Matt Cooper and Simon Woolford.

It was enough to leave coach Steve Folkes more than a little agitated.

“The last 20 minutes was pretty diabolical … to get to 30-6 we didn’t play too badly, it would have been nice to finish them off I guess,” Folkes said.

“You can’t do that … we need to learn to put sides away.

“We probably used to do that but with a few younger blokes in the team they need to learn you’ve got to put the foot down the whole time otherwise it will come back to bite you on the arse.”

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