8th. We finished in the 8th position, we made it to the finals, and it took a GOLDEN POINT KICK to finally defeat us. We showed you motherfuckers that we’re not a team of losers, but a team of champions who gave it their all. Motherfuckers ALL week were saying we were pretenders, that we were going to get smashed, that we were going to be destroyed, etc. WELL WE WENT OUT LIKE MOTHERFUCKING BOSSES & NO ONE CAN TAKE THAT AWAY FROM US. NO. FUCKING. ONE.
But, let’s get this show on the road.
Now before I continue, I feel as though I have to repeat something that I wrote in my other 2 Dragons blog posts.
– 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.
– 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.
Are we all on the same page now? Good. Let’s begin.
The Lead Up to the Finals
Oh my God, the Dragons know how to build up my blood pressure and nearly put me into cardiac arrest. Seriously, the massive roller-coaster ride leading up to the Finals was just… Oh my god… Now, if you’ve read my last Dragons blog (Click here to see the Mid Season Review), we left off after the Round 13 game against the Bulldogs. I don’t know WHAT the fuck happened to us after that game… Injuries started popping up out of nowhere and we ended up losing the next 6 games straight. I felt as though my heart was getting ripped out of my chest for those games, seeing us drop down the ladder at an alarming rate. Roosters, Eels, Cowboys, Bunnies, Sharks, Storm. They all ripped us apart, injuries occuring left, right, & centre, Merrin suspended from Origin, morale dropping within the team and the fanbase, it was getting pretty dark out there for the Dragons fans. A lot of talk was being thrown around that Mary was a pretender, that he had no idea what he was doing, all that rubbish that everyone usually says when a team doesn’t do well.
And then we played the Knights, at home, on the Marvel Superhero Round & we fucking owned them, 46-24.
We came back in the 2nd half of that game and just LAID THE FUCKING SMACK DOWN ON THOSE ARACHNIDS! Oh god, it was beautiful to watch. Especially since I fucking hate Spiderman as a Marvel character. The following game was even better. Playing the Warriors, in New Zealand, keeping them scoreless 36-0. It was just a beautiful thing. 2 games, 2 wins, 2 massive margins for our For/Against scores, it was feeling like it was a start of a new winning streak… Until the Broncos screwed us over and wrecked us on the field.
Although… To be fair, we had travelled to NZ, trained and played there, then travelled straight to Brisbane, trained and played there. Lads were probably a bit tired from the travelling at that point. But, regardless, we were in a bit of a bind from that point.
The next three games, Panthers, Titans, & Tigers, were all very scrappy games. I think the injuries were starting to take their toll as our boys barely scraped through the Panthers and Tigers games to get the win, and then… After 3 fucking long ass years…
We made it, motherfuckers. We fucking made it. For the first time since the dark Steve Price era, we made it into the finals. I’m not gonna lie, it was scrappy as hell and one HELL of a rollercoaster… But we made it. Of course, we had the usual “Dragons would choke” insults being thrown around by everyone, the media were saying that the Bulldogs were going absolutely smash us, etc. etc…
Well… Um… We kinda DID lose our match against the Bulldogs… BUT BEFORE YOU BEGIN THROWING SHADE, SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LET ME EXPLAIN SOME SHIT TO YOU!
Everyone said that we were going to get smashed. Everyone. The media, Doggies fans, even some Dragons fans, everyone said that we were going to get our pants pulled down during that game. And do you know what the final score of that game was?
THAT’S IT! ONE Point… You wanna know HOW it got to one point? GOLDEN POINT. We finished that 80 minutes with the score being 10-10. We fucking stuck through to the very end. We actually managed to hold an even score with the Bulldogs, who have a squad experienced with finals footy mind you, and were able to go down with honour. But, the game itself was not without problems.
Kasiano and Pritchard are 2 of the fucking grubbiest players I’ve ever seen and it’s a MIRACLE that Gareth Widdop is not injured. Kasiano tried to rip Widdop’s head off, Pritchard literally knee’ed Gaz in the back… And they were not punished for it… I mean… Really?
Yes I am, Joshua. These two dickheads literally got away with it… Although, having your previous CEO as the Head of Football would do that…
Alas, we put up a valiant effort, but were defeated nonetheless… And you know what? I’m OK with that. I really am. I have NO bad feelings about going down with a fight, when we literally gave it our all. Benji Marshall got sent off due to injury, Joel Thompson’s hammy fucked up again, our players were getting battered and bruised… And we managed to get to an even level in a low-scoring game. I’m perfectly OK with the effort my team put in.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how our season ended…
Oh man, where do I even begin… A LOT of our squad stepped up to the plate this year and delivered some quality talent. Actually quite surprised that we did so well for a team that was initially going to get the Wooden Spoon, according to the “experts”. But with that said, here are my Top 5 Players who stood out in 2015:
5: Trent Merrin
Yep. These guys are the ones who stood out for me the most in 2015. I think that we have a diamond in the rough with Leeson Ah Mau in particular, given how every week he’s just put in the effort and continually improves his game. Mary seems to have brought out the talent in Ah Mau and I can only see it getting better.
Euan Aitken is another player who I think is a diamond in the rough. At the age 19 on debut (now 20), he’s shown a prodigious talent for Rugby League, with many Red V fans saying that he’s essentially going to turn into our next Matt Cooper. And, given how well he’s been performing for us over the year, that’s a fair assessment to make.
Gareth’s been awesome during this season. He’s really becoming one of our key play-makers and it’s clear that he’s someone who’s going to be a great asset to our team. I just wish he had a bit more control of the ball, because I’ve noticed that he tends to put on a much better performance when he’s not sharing control with Benji.
Trent Merrin’s played well for someone who’s leaving us next year to go to Penrith. Getting his debut Australian Rep Jersey this year, getting picked for Origin, he’s shown that he’s going to be missed next year in the Red V. Sure, he’s had a few blunders during certain games, but the stats don’t lie. He’s done a lot for our team whenever he touches the ball, and as I said before, he’ll be sorely missed by us.
But, my number 1 player of the year has to be Josh Dugan.
This has arguably been Dugan’s best season in the Red V and it’s pretty easy to see why. He’s been consistently performing well, he’s been picked for Origin as well as getting his debut Australian Rep Jersey, Duges has been nothing but class this year. One of our key play-makers, Dugan’s shown that when he touches the ball, he can make magic happen. Only criticism I have of Duges, is that he’s gotta pass the ball, but that’s about it. But it’s clear to see that Duges has come a long way from that young rascal who was drinking Crusiers on a rooftop.
Which, let’s face it, is probably the most exciting thing to do in Canberra anyway. Seriously, I went there for our Round 3 game against the Raiders & after 20 minutes of being in Canberra, I was already fucking bored out of my mind. (Note to self, rant about Canberra being boring later).
Farewells & Off Contract
So, we are letting go of some of our players, as all clubs tend to do, so it’s time to list the players who won’t be in the Red V next year:
Nathan Green (Manly Sea Eagles)
Dan Hunt (retired)
Justin Hunt (Wests Tigers)
Trent Merrin (Penrith Panthers)
Eto Nabuli (rugby union)
Rory O’Brien (Parramatta Eels)
Charly Runciman (Widnes Vikings)
Trent obviously is the biggest loss out the guys who are leaving us, given that he’s been one of our stand out players this year. Charly Runciman was a player who I think should’ve been promoted to wear the #2 this year. He’s played in that position before, he’s done well at it, so I don’t understand why he wasn’t selected. Regardless, good luck to him. I really hope we get him back in the Red V one day.
Nathan Green and Dan Hunt… Meh. Sorry, Dan’s done shit-all since last year, Nathan Green makes me cringe whenever he touches the ball. I’m honestly not going to miss either of them. They’re nice guys, I’ve met them and had a nice chat with them, but seriously, they should’ve been gone last year.
But, in terms of who’s Off-Contract with this for this year, there are only 1 players who I REALLY want to retain:
Yep. Craig Garvey. This kid has a LOT of potential as a hooker and, in my opinion, has already shown skills on par with Mitch Rein. Garvs was suspended for most of last year, following his assault charges for decking a dickhead in the face (Seriously, I’ve heard how that went down. If I were Garvs, I would’ve decked the fuckwit too). He’s been put down as off-contract for 2016, which I find strange, seeing how at the Coaches Forum earlier in the year, I had a chat with Peter Mulholland who said that Garvs is actually extended out to 2016, since he had that year off. But nonetheless, this is someone who will KILL it in the Red V and if the Dragons are smart, they’d hang onto him.
With the addition of big players, like Mose Masoe, Russell Packer, Tyrone McCarthy, & Dunamis Lui, as well as some utility players like Siliva Havili, the Red V are looking to have a fantastic 2016 season where a top 4 position is well within sights. I feel that once we sign some quality backs to cover the #2, as well as add some depth, then we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
Paul McGregor has done WONDERS with a team that was penned at the beginning of the year to be Wooden Spooners, & it’s only going to get better from here.
My Prediciton for 2016:
2nd – 5th
Ideal 2016 Team List:
- Josh Dugan
- Peter Mata’Utia
- Kurt Mann
- Euan Aitken
- Jason Nightingale (Captain if Gaz is injured)
- Gareth Widdop (C) (Drew Hutchinson if injured)
- Benji Marshall (Drew Hutchinson if injured)
- Leeson Ah Mau
- Mitch Rein
- Mike Cooper
- Tyson Frizell
- Joel Thompson
- Mose Masoe
- Jack DeBelin (Edited because people are whinging about him not being there)
- Russell Packer
- Tyrone McCarthy
- Craig Garvey