As a modern-day Dragons fan, imagine me, I’ve skilled some ups and downs.
There’s one thing about following the Purple 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. Surprisingly sufficient, I don’t really feel overly assured in regards to the membership’s prospects in 2019.
You possibly 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 inside the borders of the sphere. Our defence was unbreakable, with Jack de Belin and Tariq Sims breaking individuals 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 foul 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 skill to do freakish issues on the sphere, he additionally possesses an enormous ego and with it a poor angle.
I query how Norman will slot in with our tightly certain tradition, which is one thing that has set us aside from different golf equipment, particularly contemplating the scale of Norman’s function, 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 numerous phases of this season, Nene’s largest asset is his dimension and energy and the flexibility he possesses to get a crew on the entrance foot from deep.
The Dragons had the most effective go-forwards within the competitors all through 2018 and lots 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 sphere 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 resulting from both Origin or harm this yr. Responsible of his convictions or not, there’s a superb risk De Belin will miss a significant a part of subsequent season, and that must be a serious reason for concern for Purple V followers.
Then again, nevertheless, this might present a participant like Blake Lawrie with an enormous alternative to point out what he’s fabricated from – and going off his late-season efforts this yr, it’s pure concrete.
The ultimate query lies inside 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 mentioned of how the teaching employees will handle this specific problem, which has impacted the membership for the previous three seasons underneath Paul McGregor. I imagine I communicate for your complete Dragons group in saying that one other post-Origin drift won’t be dealt with properly.
Don’t get me mistaken – the Dragons are most actually in a premiership window with their present 17, and this yr demonstrated that they will beat any crew on their day or not. However the occasions of current weeks and sure recruitment choices made by the membership shall be examined very early in 2019.
Time will inform if the Purple V have learnt from a few of its errors from this season.