Ben Hornby desperate to play last home game

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He was a conspicuous absentee at training but retiring Dragons captain Ben Hornby is desperate to play in his farewell game at WIN Stadium tonight.

Hornby ruled himself out of the Dragons’ final session in Wollongong yesterday ahead of the round-25 stoush with the Warriors, and officials later said he had come down with the flu.

His bout with illness comes after the veteran halfback sat out most of Wednesday’s training run with an ankle sprain.

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Despite the injury alarm, Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward said the team was focusing on sending Hornby and Dean Young out on a winning note.

“It’s a big occasion, we all understand that,” Soward said.

“There’s been so much made of it, we just want to get out there and play now – and get them across as winners.”

Hornby and teammate Young will call time on their illustrious careers against Parramatta next week but both are determined to keep their emotions in check and aim for a triumphant finale.

“We just want to finish off the year the best way we can,” Young said.

“We’ve put a lot of hard work in since the pre-season and things haven’t gone to plan, but we want to finish off strong. To get a couple more wins on the board would be nice.

“It is going to be emotional just before we run out. I made my debut here in 2003 … we were raised in Wollongong, we played our junior footy through the Steelers, so playing on this ground for the final time, I suppose it will be a little bit emotional.

“For me and Benny, we’re heading in a new direction and a new chapter of our life.”

While the Dragons are reluctant to reflect on the legacies of Hornby and Young until season’s end, forward Dan Hunt said the pair had taught him plenty.

“I’ve definitely learnt that you have to do the hard work and do the extras,” Hunt said.

“You have to do more than what everybody else is doing.

“Just doing everything you can off the field to get 100 per cent out of your ability.”

The Dragons boast a formidable 8-2 record at home this year, while the Warriors are staring down the barrel of a seventh straight loss.

It’s hoped newly appointed caretaker coach and former Kiwi international Tony Iro can remedy the side’s recent collapse under sacked mentor Brian McClennan.

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