Dragons won’t decide captain until next season

Dragons captain Ben Hornby announces his retirement from rugby league last week. Picture: DAVE TEASESt George Illawarra will reserve judgment on who captains the club next year until veterans Ben Hornby and Dean Young are given their final farewells on Sunday.
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Second-rower Ben Creagh, who is poised to take on more seniority in Hornby and Young’s absence, believes it would be inappropriate if players bought into growing speculation on the issue.

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‘‘It’s not something I’ve really thought about or discussed out of respect for Benny Hornby,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve still got one game to go. He’s the captain and he still will be until we go back to training in October for pre-season.

‘‘The senior players will have a chat to Pricey and we’ll decide how we go forward from there. Otherwise, Benny Hornby’s the captain now and that’s how we’re going to keep it.’’

The Dragons hope to send out two of their most loyal servants with a win against 16th-placed Parramatta.

The same can be said for the Eels, with club stalwarts Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt also calling time on their decorated stints in the top grade.

The Dragons teetered on finals contention throughout the back half of the season but ultimately relinquished their bid during a round-24 scrap with North Queensland, which they lost.

The side bounced back from a severe bout of gastroenteritis to beat the Warriors comprehensively last weekend, and centre Matt Cooper hoped he could play a part in helping them finish on a strong note against Parramatta.

‘‘I haven’t had the best year and have had some bad luck with injuries,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘It’s been a bit frustrating. I want to get involved as much as I can and send them off as winners.

‘‘I’m feeling fit and hopefully we can put in a good performance this week and go into pre-season a bit earlier and work on things we struggled with this year.’’

Five-eighth Jamie Soward said the side was more determined than ever to bounce back, urging Dragons fans to support them.

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