As a modern-day Dragons fan, imagine me, I’ve skilled some ups and downs.
There’s one thing about following the Pink V. Some years the membership guarantees a lot and fails to ship, and others you enter a brand new season not anticipating something and nearly with a way of numbness. Unusually sufficient, I don’t really feel overly assured in regards to the membership’s prospects in 2019.
You can name me loopy. For a big portion of this season we had been unstoppable. Our assault was menacing and we had been scoring tries from nearly each blade of grass throughout the borders of the sector. Our defence was unbreakable, with Jack de Belin and Tariq Sims breaking folks in half. And regardless of our regular late-season fade, the indicators recommended a fair higher Dragons for 2019.
However the happenings over current weeks have left me ending 2018 with a nasty style in my mouth concerning the membership’s prospects subsequent season.
Firstly, our recruitment. The signature of Corey Norman comes with many, many dangers. Clearly the addition of Norman was opportunistic and roughly an try to melt the blow from Gareth Widdop’s rumoured departure following subsequent season. However regardless of Corey’s undoubted expertise and talent to do freakish issues on the sector, he additionally possesses an enormous ego and with it a poor angle.
I query how Norman will slot in with our tightly sure tradition, which is one thing that has set us aside from different golf equipment, particularly contemplating the scale of Norman’s position, be it participant five-eight or fullback.
Past the Norman signing is the lack of Nene MacDonald and the failure to have him changed. A freak finisher who was unstoppable at varied phases of this season, Nene’s largest asset is his measurement and power and the power he possesses to get a workforce on the entrance foot from deep.
The Dragons had probably the greatest go-forwards within the competitors all through 2018 and plenty of this needed to do with Nene. With the lack of the sizey Papua New Guinean to the Cowboys, we might actually wrestle with our yardage subsequent season.
Shifting on, the considered not having Jack De Belin on the sector for any stage of subsequent season scares me. De Belin is the glue that holds our defence collectively, and it was notable when Jack was lacking because of both Origin or damage this yr. Responsible of his convictions or not, there’s risk De Belin will miss a significant a part of subsequent season, and that ought to be a significant reason behind concern for Pink V followers.
However, nevertheless, this might present a participant like Blake Lawrie with an enormous alternative to point out what he’s manufactured from – and going off his late-season efforts this yr, it’s pure concrete.
The ultimate query lies throughout the aspect’s stamina. What measures are in place to make sure one other late-season fade-out doesn’t occur subsequent season? Whereas the expertise gained by the youthful gamers like Blake Lawrie, Luciano Leuilua, Reece Robson and Zac Lomax within the late phases this yr will definitely assist with fatigue among the many consultant taking part in group, nothing has been stated of how the teaching workers will deal with this explicit problem, which has impacted the membership for the previous three seasons underneath Paul McGregor. I imagine I converse for all the Dragons neighborhood in saying that one other post-Origin drift is not going to be dealt with properly.
Don’t get me fallacious – the Dragons are most definitely in a premiership window with their present 17, and this yr demonstrated that they’ll beat any workforce on their day or not. However the occasions of current weeks and sure recruitment selections made by the membership might be examined very early in 2019.
Time will inform if the Pink V have learnt from a few of its errors from this season.