About fucking time too, I’ve been having massive withdrawal symptoms ever since September last year and now the season is only a week away from starting! So, it’s time for me to give my annual prediction for how I think my beloved Dragons will go this season. So, before I start this piece, I’m gonna “recycle” the statements that I use whenever I make a footy-related post about my club:
– 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.
So, without further-ado, let’s dive right in!
2015: The Year That Was
Yeah, 2015 was a whole bunch of ups and downs. For a more in-depth analysis about it, check out the reviews that I did last year about our team’s season. But overall, it was a massive roller-coaster ride for sure.
We led the comp, we lost the lead and slumped, then we got it back again, it was a pretty intense ride. That and some of the off-field stuff that was going on. The Trent Merrin saga was one that got people riled up, the whole Save Our Saints thing, debates about whether Nightingale was going to renew with us, etc. etc. But ultimately we did make the finals and while we didn’t get past the first round, we put up one hell of a fight that earned us the respect among the fan-base, as well as the NRL world in general. The amount of injuries we had going was a sight to behold, as I’m told that the sheds were essentially a make-shift hospital after that game.
But we proved a point that the team that was originally penned by the NRL’s webste to come 15th, had beaten the odds and gone onto the finals. And we showed that you don’t need the most renowned players in the comp to make a good team.
The New Kids on the Block
New Players on the Team:
Kurt Mann (Melbourne Storm)
Siliva Havili (New Zealand Warriors)
Mose Masoe (St Helens RLFC)
Dunamis Lui (Manly Sea Eagles)
Tyrone McCarthy (Hull Kingston Rovers)
Sebastine Ikahihifo (New Zealand Warriors)
Kalifa Faifai Loa (Gold Coast Titans)
Josh McCrone (Canberra Raiders)
Taane Milne (Sydney Roosters)
Adam Quinlan (St Helens RLFC)
Tim Lafai (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Promoted from U20’s:
First and foremost, I think it’s a bit funny that Adam Quinlan was both released AND re-signed by the club in the same year.
But regardless, out of the new boys in the block, the ones who’ve stood so far from the trials have been Kurt Mann & Siliva Havili. Honestly, I feel so much more comfortable with Duges shifting to the centres, now that we have Mann as our Fullback. He knows how to play as a ball-playing fullback and judging from the perfomance he put on during the 9’s and Charity Shield, he’ll be a massive asset.
Siliva Havili… OK, I’ll admit that I initially hated this guy at first, since we lost Craig Garvey as our hooker and I wanted him to take over for Rein. Garvs was a player I loved in the Dragons, so I got a bit emotional when he left, obviously shown when I made a post about him leaving.
I’d like to apologize for giving doubt to Havili, because he fucking owned it. Mitch Rein should be pissing himself in anxiousness, now that Havili is here & he’s honestly putting Mitch on show. Good job, mate.
In terms of who’s let me down in the pre-season, it would definitely be Lafai and Hutchison.
Look, I liked Lafai at the Dogs. He was a great player for them and judging by the reactions of their fans when he was cut loose, it looked like we had signed someone with the X-Factor. I still think Lafai is a good player, but he honestly hasn’t shone as much as we would have expected him to. He wasn’t too much of a stand-out during the 9’s or in Charity Shield and, to be perfectly honest, didn’t look like Aitken should be losing his spot to him.
I know Lafs is coming off an injury, but if you’re fit enough to play, you should be playing to the level we expect you to be playing at. Time will hopefully reveal more.
And then Drew Hutchison…
Bruh… What the fuck? I seriously defended this kid before the pre-season, saying that he was the captain of the U20’s Origin/Australia side, that he had a bright future ahead of him… Only to be completely flabbergasted (Love that word) by his performance in the 9’s and Charity Shield. ESPECIALLY WHEN HE FUCKING DROPPED THE BALL IN THE DYING MINUTES OF CHARITY SHIELD! I actually swore so loudly that the Flames turned to me and gave me a dirty look… Sorry ladies, but that’s some emotion shit right there.
Look, Drew. As someone who actually made the claim that he’d leave if the Dragons renewed Benji Marshall, you’re not playing like someone who SHOULD be in First Grade. I personally feel you’re trying too hard and it’s resulting in you fucking up when you play. Honestly, spend the year in Reserve Grade, build up some experience, and then you try to prove your worth again. It’s called patience kid, learn it.
Now, for the upcoming players that I’m looking forward to is simply this gun.
I’m telling you now, this kid is our next B-Moz like player. He’s got the speed, agility, and acrobatics to pull off amazing tries and with a bit more time and development, he’ll eventually become an Origin/Australia legend that B-Moz was. Plus, anyone who hates the Bulldogs as much as this lad, DESERVES to be a Dragon for life.
The Prediction for 2016
Well after the BULLSHIT prediction that the NRL Website that we were given last year… That we completely blew out of the water, it’s now time for the prediction for 2016. So let’s just see what these smart-asses at the NRL ha…
… Really? I mean… Fucking really?
Duges, do your thing.
… Right… OK, so let me get this right… You think that a team that consists of:
And other talented players… THIS IS A TEAM WHO YOU THINK IS NOT WORTHY OF A TOP 8 SPOT?!
You know what… Nope. Not even going there. You assholes think whatever you want. You did the same thing last year, you got egg on your face for it. Look forward to it happening again this year.
My Prediction: Easy Top 6 Spot.
We have the depth to cover for representative times like Origin, as well as injuries. We’re completely covered for those events, therefore we have no excuses this year. Every year should be an improvement, therefore I feel that a Top 6 should be the BARE MINIMUM expectation.
My Ideal Team Line-Up:
1) Kurt Mann
2) Jason Nightingale
3) Tim Lafai
4) Josh Dugan
5) Euan Aitken
6) Gareth Widdop (c)
7) Benji Marshall
8) Leeson Ah Mau
9) Mitch Rein
10) Russell Packer
11) Mike Cooper
12) Joel Thompson
13) Jack DeBelin
14) Siliva Havili
15) Dunamis Lui
16) Will Matthews
17) Ben Creagh