DRAGONS BLOG: Hometown farewell for duo

I’m glad that I’d already accepted that the Dragons were not playing finals footy before Monday night’s loss.

It meant that, while I was unhappy that we lost, I wasn’t gutted because it signalled the end of our finals dream. I’d figured that already ended a week or two ago.

So I simply had to deal with the emotions arising from the game, not the entire season. And I was by and large happy with the effort. Sure they screwed up a few things but at least they looked like they knew what they were doing and were having a bit of a dig.

They should hopefully have even more of a dig tomorrow night, because it’s the final home game for retiring players Dean Young and Ben Hornby.

The former announced he was finishing up earlier this year while Hornby made his decision public earlier this week.

While there is no doubt Hornby is a great clubman – he’s a premiership-winning captain and has played the most games of any player for the Dragons – I’m glad he’s calling it quits at the end of this season. I’d been very concerned about the possibility of him going around for another season.

So emotions will no doubt be riding high – both on field and in the stands – when the Dragons play tomorrow night.

But the Dragons will need a bit more than emotion to beat the Warriors. Yes, the kiwi side is on a six-match losing streak – but they sacked their coach this week. When that happens, the team magically turns things around and win games (which must really irritate the sacked coach).

Also, there’s the fact that the Warriors are also out of the finals race, so they’ll be free from any pressure and likely to throw the ball around with abandon.

That’s a concern given that Warrior Feleti Mateo already leads the league in offloads with 53. With the result largely irrelevant, he could go offload-happy and cause some real problems for us.

The retirement of two club stalwarts in a match that otherwise has little meaning should give the Dragons the edge over the Warriors. But it actually won’t because we’ve had a few examples in recent weeks of what happens when the Dragons have something to play for (like a finals berth) – they lose.

It’s as though the pressure to win causes them to go into their shells and play conservatively. Instead, what they need to do tomorrow night is go out there and play as if the result doesn’t matter at all.

That way, the Dragons will win.

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