It was the year that many thought would be the slide of the Dragons. The year that many believed that it was the Dragons turn to crumble.

Despite those thoughts and beliefs however, the Dragons came out on top against a Knights side that will look for improvement, courtesy of a Jamie Soward field goal in extra time, to given the Dragons a 15-14 win over the Knights, at Hunter Stadium.

With the departure of supercoach Wayne Bennett, the belief was that the Dragons would struggle under new coach Steven Price, but for the most part, they looked the sharper of the two sides, with the game going down to the wire.

For winger Jason Nightingale, he believes that the side’s close win alleviates some of the added stress and concerns the side had, heading into the rest of the season.

“To win in such a close game instils a bit of belief, but it is only one game and it’s a long season,” Nightingale said.

“The game went error for error towards the end when the pressure was on and the ball got a bit wet.

“I thought we would have another opportunity at the end.”

With the defensive aspect following on from what Bennett implemented, the attacking style became rather adlib, but according to Nightingale, that was not the plan, nor was it premeditated.

“It wasn’t our intention to go out and throw it around early, especially in those conditions,” Nightingale said.

“We didn’t go out with that sort of plan.

“It was a very tough game for round one. Playing a bit of overtime too was definitely not what the body wanted.

“It was a good grind and tough competition, which gets us ready for the rest of the season.”

The only sour note for the Dragons, was a potential ankle injury to centre Matt Cooper, who will know the results of scans a bit later on.

When it comes to the Knights game, it was a few crucial errors that cost them, and ultimately, they led to the side’s loss.

“Silly mistakes at crucial times were costly,” Mullen said.

“That was the story of our season last year and we need to get it right soon.

“We’ll take confidence from the way we hung in there, but things don’t get any easier.

“The Sharks down there will be tough then it’s Brisbane so we’d better improve fast.”

Knights stalwart Danny Buderus also re-iterated the sentiments of five-eighth Jarrod Mullen, pointing out that the side’s ball control needs improvement, ahead of next week’s game.

“We learned a harsh lesson last night,” Buderus said.

“It’s no secret you need to control the ball at crucial times and we didn’t do that,” Buderus said.

“The best thing is that it’s on again next week and we can dissect this game on the video and work on it.”

NRL News Dally M Awards

Jason Nightingale – 3
Trent Merrin – 2
James McManus – 1

By ricky

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