Ugly Winners: The Dragons have now managed to win ugly two weeks in a row. Their attack is still not functioning to the level required to compete with the top teams however their defence is rock solid. If they can find a way to spark their attack there is a chance this team could make a run for the Top 8. Given they will lose their top attacking threat over origin (Dugan) and they play last year’s Grand Finalist over the next two weeks – the likelihood of this is still some way off. However keep winning the close games and Dragons fans will have to postpone their end of season trips by a week or two.
Packed for the future: The Panthers young forward pack is not messing about, sure their younger members need some more time on the park to develop the football nous of the more experienced members of the team but there is the potential for this to become one of the more formidable forward packs in the NRL within the next two to three years. The ferocity at which they were hitting on Sunday will give couch Griffiths some hope for the year ahead, provided they can stay healthy this is an exciting bunch of forwards.
Blow that whistle ref: Something needs to be done about the mounting penalty counts in this year’s competition. The referees are blowing a plethora of penalties (mainly in the first half of matches) and there is now a question to be asked as to whether teams are using it as a tactic to stop opposition momentum when they are on the attack. In the first half of Sunday’s match there were 16 penalties blown! 16! That is one every two and a half minutes. This does not make for great footy.
Panic Stations: The Panthers have now only won 1 of their first 4 matches, although their first four games have seen them play the Raiders, Bulldogs and Broncos – all some of the stronger teams in this year NRL. The next two matches sees them travelling to a red hot Parramatta before hosting the defending premiers. The Panthers will need to find a way of winning at least one of those next two matches otherwise a 1 win from 6 matches start to the year could spell an early end to their 2016 campaign.
From The Shed: Bryce Cartwright suffered a dislocated thumb which sidelines him for the match. Euan Aitken suffered a corked thigh whilst the Panthers Will Smith suffered a concussion.
Dragons 14 (E. Aitken, J. Dugan Tries: G.Widdop 3 goals) Panthers 12 (P. Hiku, J. Mansour tries; J. Soward 2 goals)
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