… Um… Thanks Duges?
But yes, I’m back… Hopefully 2/3 people still following this blog are happy about that while the other is probably just thinking “… This guy…”. As to why I’ve been gone, work + life = No time for Blogs.
… What? Game of Thrones is a VERY important thing and I’m anxiously waiting for Dragonball Xenoverse….
But regardless, I’ve got some spare time on my hands, so I figured I might as well spend it on writing about my personal thoughts for the upcoming season for my Rugby League team, The St. George Illawarra Dragons. I’ve already made a post about my beloved Dragons in the past, more or less pissing off some of the fan-base with this little piece here (True Supporters, I’m looking at you assholes).
But… Before I start, I feel there should be some kind of disclaimer, so let me get that out there now:
– The following are my own thoughts and not influenced by anyone else.
– I don’t have any informants/spies/sources/double agents in the club feeding me information that a multitude of fans seem to have.
– I don’t know any of the players personally… But I do have Joel Thompson, and former Dragon Brett Morris, following me on Twitter, not that it means anything.
– I don’t usually take note of rumours spread by fans and the media… ESPECIALLY the media. (Ever heard of the phrase “Never let the Truth get in the way of a Good Story”?) BUT, for the sake of making this post, I will be addressing them throughout.
– I will be honest, and honesty usually equals harsh words. If you’re not happy with what I’m about to say, then too bad. If you’re a veteran reader of my blog, you know how my honesty goes.
Now then… Let’s begin!
2014: The Year That Was
After an excellent start to the season, the telltale symptoms of Steve Price’s coaching ability sunk our Dragons to a whole new low. We were on the verge of getting our first wooden spoons, there were talks of players leaving because they didn’t like where the coach was taking them, so on so forth. Half-way through the year, the Dragons Admin decided to make a smart decision of axing Steve Price, after 2 EMBARRASSING losses to the Parramatta Eels and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Seriously, I actually left the Bulldogs game before half-time, because I couldn’t bear to see my team getting destroyed out there. Steve Price did the impossible. He made me walk out on my team during a game.
ARE YOU HAPPY, STEVE? YOU ACTUALLY MADE ONE OF THE MOST DEDICATED FANS (aka Me) WALK OUT ON A GAME.
I don’t think you all understand exactly how significant that actually is. I’ve NEVER walked out on a game, no matter how bad, before that one… And to think, I blew off Mothers Day for that game.. Mum, I am SO sorry…
But once Price was axed, Paul “Mary” McGregor came in to take over and there was a big shift in how our players operated on the field. Attack was slightly better, Defense was slightly better, and we were nearly within reach of a Top 8 spot! But, bad luck dictated that 2014 was NOT going to be the Year of the Dragon, thus we missed out. And this where the fans started getting pissed off in the droves.
Brett Morris’ defection to the Bulldogs with one year to go on his current contract with us pissed off the fan-base to a whole new level. Seriously, you’ll understand why we’re Dragons supporters because the fires were raging hard at that time. Talks had been going on for months and then it was finally confirmed. I’ve already covered how I feel about the matter in this piece here, so I’m not going to repeat myself.
After that, more shit hit the fan with signing players such as Kris Keating, George Rose (who is fucking awesome and I love him as a player), Justin Hunt, and then renewing players like Nathan Green, and then losing players such as B-Moz, Jack Bird, and Adam Quinlan.
To top it all off, Trent Merrin’s come out and admit that he won’t be with us next year, and now there are talks that Jason Nightingale and Ben Creagh will be renewed with us. Fucking A…
One thing you have to know about us Dragons fans is that we DEMAND perfection. I’m not going to lie, I’m somewhat guilty of this. We know that we are one of the proudest clubs in the game with a history that’s almost legendary. I mean, how many other teams fucking won 11 years in a row. 11. Fucking. Years. In. A. Row. If THAT is not an achievement to be proud of, I don’t know what is. BUT, as in my post about Dragons Fans and their Passion… We often look to the past as a precursor for how our future should be. Which isn’t a good idea, considering the game has changed so much that NO team will ever be able to pull a feat like that again. Ever.
The Mistakes Made
Just going to cover the basic ones, not write a whole essay on all the problems, because let’s face it… There were a few.
1) Dan Hunt being played constantly at First Grade
You just had to watch the Nine’s Tournament to see that Dan Hunt just isn’t cut for First Grade anymore. Killed it back in 2010, but since then, he’s just been on the decline. Nice guy, loved chatting with him at Meet & Greets, but speaking as a fan of my team, he’s just not right for us anymoe. 2016 is when he’s off-contract and unless he REALLY picks his game up, I don’t see him being renewed. Hell, I’d rather get rid of him now so that we can use our cap for someone who actually can play Rugby League.
2) Joel Thompson vs Steve Price
I’m under the DISTINCT impression that Thommo and Price did not get along. The guy signs with us and in the first year, there are talks that he wants to go back to Canberra? And then when Price is axed, McGregor comes in, who he performed well under, and now he wants to stay all of a sudden? Considering how Price was playing Thommo from the bench and constantly shifting him around in positions… Fuck me, I’d probably get the shits too and want out. Thank god that mistake was taken care of, because then my Thompson the Tank Engine banner would be useless.
3) The Lack of Discipline
Oh this is the BIGGEST mistake. I’m sorry (Not really), but Steve Price did NOT come across as an authoritative figure. I consider myself somewhat OK at reading people’s body language. I’m not going to say that I’m Charles Xavier and can read minds, but I’m more like that guy from Lie To Me. You know… The one who can tell if you’re lying from body language… Anyways, Steve Price didn’t seem like the sort who would bring the axe down on someone if they made silly errors constantly. And it showed on the field when the boys were playing.
4) Nathan Green
… Why the fuck is he still playing for us? Seriously, why? Him and Dan Hunt both.
5) Lack of Home Grounds
Oh this is probably one of the biggest mistakes we’re making as a club. ANZ is a good stadium for events like State of Origin. That’s it. Regular games being held at ANZ? No thanks. I seriously don’t like how heritage home grounds like Kogarah are being ignored and we’re being forced by Doust to endure games at ANZ and Alliance. I love the Hill and being able to cheer my team from it… Not sit on plastic seats with gum underneath them.
6) The Lack of Love for the Fans
Oh. Yes. This is one that EVERY Dragons fan is probably feeling at the moment. As a club, the Dragons should keep members informed about the inner-workings of the club as we’re the ones who fork out our hard-earned cash every year for memberships. But, this is not the case. One example was the Brett Morris situation. There were rumours flying left, right, and centre, and the fans were left completely in the dark about the whole thing until the very end. I know I wrote the club a couple of times, asking for an update on the situation. What was I told? Basically the same crap that was being posted on social media at that time.
And then there’s the member packs, which in all honesty, have gotten worse each year. This year is by far one of the worst. I actually renewed my membership all the way back in November 2014. STILL NO MEMBERSHIP PACK GUYS! Come on guys… Seriously. We contribute to your paycheck. Give us the respect we deserve.
The New Kids on the Block
So with the departure of B-Moz…
Fuck… Excuse me for a moment, I need to just take a breather… Saw him in a Bulldogs jersey for one of their trials and it’s making me emotional… Ok, I’m good…
So, after… That event… The Dragons have gone into Recruitment Overdrive by announcing a fuckton of new signings, most of which are one year contracts. One Year contracts are totally OK in my books.
New faces on the team:
Fraser Alcock (2015)
Beau Henry (Gold Coast Titans, 2015)
Justin Hunt (Parramatta Eels, 2015)
Kris Keating (Hull Kingston Rovers, 2015)
Heath L’Estrange (Sydney Roosters, 2015)
Eto Nabuli (Penrith Panthers, 2015)
Dane Nielsen (New Zealand Warriors, 2016)
Rulon Nutira (2015)
George Rose (Melbourne Storm, 2015)
Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard (New Zealand Warriors, 2016)
Promoted from u20’s:
Now you’re probably wondering why I’ve put certain names in bold. Why? Because those are the names that I’m hoping to see get more first grade experience. Now we’ve already had some trials, with the 9’s tournament, Charity Shield, and the World Club Challenge, and let me tell you… Geninuely surprised by some of these new guys on the field.
The one who’s honestly surprised me the most, was Eto Nabuli.
This is the guy we got to replace B-Moz and when I first heard about him… Fuck me, I was so pessimistic about this guy. I ranted about how B-Moz is superior, that this nobody from Fiji is just going to suck, etc… Oh man… How wrong was I. From the 5 times I’ve seen him play, I’ve seen 5 outstanding performances. A hat trick of tries during the 9’s, fantastic defensive try-savers, and then that flying tackle in the World Club Challenge.
Don’t get me wrong, Brett Morris is easily the best in the world on the wing, and he’ll always be my number 1 choice for a winger… But this guy is showing a lot of promise and the best part is, we got him for peanuts. I’m all for discounted talent, so this guy is a definite tick in my books.
Then there’s Heath L’Estrange. Now, I’ve always wanted Craig Garvey to take the role as back-up hooker and I still stand by that. But L’Estrange has also surprised me during the 9’s and Charity Shield. I thought that we were going to struggle with this guy, but it turns out that he’s actually a skilled player who can exercise a decent level of control on the field. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how he plays during the season.
Euan Aitken is showing a HELL of a lot of promise for a 19 year old kid. It’s amazing, I can definitely see him being on the same level as Matt Cooper in the future. Great defense, tackles hard, definitely looking forward to seeing this kid develop throughout the year.
And then there’s George Rose… Fuck, I love big Georgie…
George motherfucking Rose. I fucking love big Georgie, and that’s certainly in a non homo way. A lot of people weren’t happy about George getting signed, but I fucking loved it. We needed size in our forward pack, and George is packing nothing but size. Now, I have to admit, I was certainly worried that George would be busy eating kebabs instead of training, but after seeing him in action… I have to say that I’m happy that we got him. He’s an impact player for sure, meaning we’ll only use him in short bursts, but I’m totally OK with that. And with news that Merrin is leaving us for good now, I think George will be a good replacement for his bench spot.
The Prediction for 2015
So, here it is. What I think for 2015. Well, other people have beat me to this already, like the NRL Website’s Prediction and th… Uh… What? 15th?! … What the fuck are these dickheads smoking, fucking 15th? Really? I mean… Really?
Yeah, I’m with Duges on this one, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, NRL? Fucking 15th… OK.. OK, let me break this down in a way that you morons at NRL HQ can understand this…
I know we’re not a premiership winning side as of yet. I’m aware of this. But to say that we’re basically second to last is a fucking joke in itself. You’re telling me, that a team with:
Josh Dugan, the future NSW Fullback
Euan Aitken, one of the best newcomers to be stepping up this year
Eto Nabuli, someone who’s actually doing an excellent job at replacing the irreplaceable BRETT. MOTHERFUCKING. MORRIS.
Gareth Widdop, one of the best halves in the game
Benji Marshall, who’s arguably getting his groove back
Joel Thompson, the motherfucking Tank Engine who’s been KILLING it lately
Trent Merrin, the $800K player that the Panthers and Broncos are fighting over
And then there’s GEORGE. MOTHERFUCKING. ROSE.
You are telling me that a team comprised of THOSE bad-asses… Are coming 15th.
… Yeah, no.
Easily 7th to 10th.
My Preferred Team Line Up for the Year:
1) Josh Dugan
2) Eto Nabuli
3) Euan Aitken
4) Peter Mata’Utai
5) Jason Nightingale
6) Gareth Widdop
7) Benji Marshall
8) Rory O’Brien
9) Mitch Rein
10) Mike Cooper
11) Tyson Frizell
12) Joel Thompson
13) Ben Creagh
14) George Rose
15) Trent Merrin
16) Leeson Ah Mau
17) Heath L’Estrange/Craig Garvey (I like the #GarveyModeEngage, so he has to be there somewhere.)