Two Dragons fire right till the end

Retiring St George Illawarra Dragons legends Ben Hornby and Dean Young did a slow farewell lap of WIN stadium after beating the Warriors 38-6 on Saturday. Pictures: DAVE TEASE Veteran Young (above) cradles daughters Sienna and Elle while retiring captain Hornby (below) and son Axl greet the crowd.
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Dean Young’s distinguished first-grade career will go full circle on Sunday when he shares the field with the club he first debuted against.

Young will run out for his 209th and final game against Parramatta in an emotion-charged finale at ANZ Stadium.

Ironically, it was against the Eels that a fresh-faced Young broke into the NRL ranks in 2003.

“I still remember it – it was against Parramatta in round two in 2003,” the 28-year-old recalled.

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“I had a heap of friends and family turn up. I came off the bench and gave Piggy Riddell a bit of a spell. He needed a bit of a breather back in those days.

“It was a great memory because you grow up always wanting to play for this club. It’s all I ever wanted to do. It meant a lot that day.”

Young and retiring Dragons captain Ben Hornby will have 482 first-grade games between them after the Eels send-off.

The game will also see off two of Parramatta’s greats – Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt.

On Saturday night, the outgoing Dragons pairing bid farewell to Wollongong supporters in a comprehensive 38-6 win over the Warriors.

The victory made for emotional scenes as Hornby and Young completed a slow farewell lap after the game.

“They’re two very good mates of mine and it’s very sad to see them both retiring,” Dragons second-rower Ben Creagh said.

“We’ve got one game left together. It’s sad to think those two guys are going to play their last game of rugby league ever next week because they’re awesome blokes.

“They’ve been captain and vice-captain of our club for a very long time now and they’re going to leave a great legacy behind them.

“There’s going to be big shoes to fill whoever takes their places because they’ve done such a wonderful job.”

Creagh lauded the decision last week to move the Dragons-Eels game from Parramatta Stadium to ANZ Stadium.

Eels powerbrokers opted for the Homebush venue after the original site was overwhelmed by ticket sales. More than 40,000 people are expected to turn out for the game.

“Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt have been wonderful servants for their club. Dean Young and Ben Hornby have been exactly the same,” Creagh said.

“I think Nathan Hindmarsh and Ben Hornby are the most capped players for their clubs and that’s the way they should go out – at ANZ in front of 40 or 50,000.

“I’m tipping there’s going to be just as many Dragons fans as Eels fans wanting to see the four club legends go out on a high.

“It’s going to be a pretty passionate game,” Creagh said.

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