Coach Corner: Round 2
St George Illawarra Dragons Head Coach Steve Price is please to come away with another win following the 31-12 victory over the New Zealand Warriors 31-12 at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday.
Price paid particular attention to the Red-and-Whites’ improved defense, which he believes was the deciding factor in the victory in New Zealand.
The third year coach has high hopes for the Red V and is certain that new recruit and five-eighth Gareth Widdop’s inclusion in the side is a positive.
“It’s very pleasing; when we in at halftime 12-6 when the Warriors had a lot of good field position I was quite happy with that,” said Price.
“I knew the tide would turn and it did, like we saw in the second half where we scored 25 points.
“I’m very happy with the guys, especially the middle goal line defense in that second half
“We were under the pump there and the boys stood tall; it was a great display.
“I’m very pleased with the effort and how we started today; the conditions out there were difficult and they had their backs to the wall after their performance last week.
“We were under no assumptions of what we were coming to at Eden Park; we hung tough and got the job done.
“I wouldn’t say the Warriors were an easy team to read; they are a very potent attacking side, especially with Sam Tomkins in the back but I was really pleased with our defensive display across the forwards.
“Gareth Widdop’s field goal was a cracker; it was supposed to come off his right foot but he didn’t quite get there and it came off his left, it just shows the kind of quality football player he is.
“We’re focused on what we can control; we went out there and played the style I expected from the club.
“Coming out of the halftime break at 12-6 and to put 25 points on the board in the second half with our completion rate at 90% was getting the job done; this is what we came here for.
Dragons captain Ben Creagh is adamant there are no such things as hoodoos but results prove otherwise with the Red-and-Whites winning against the Warriors nine times consecutively.
“Fitness helps with a win like this; we got a lot of confidence out of last week’s win, especially in our attack.
“It’s nice to be able to back up a home performance with a great away performance too.
“Our attack was good today and it was tough during the first half, running into the wind, we were under the pump for a while.
“We gained a lot of confidence coming off at halftime 12-6 and it was nice to score a few more points in the second half.
“Mt Smart and Eden Park are both good grounds; it’s always a tough road trip coming over to New Zealand to play against the Warriors, they have a very vocal crowd.
“I don’t believe in hoodoos; apparently we have one against Canberra and I don’t believe in that one either.
“It’s been nine wins against the Warriors in a row, but it doesn’t matter whether we’re playing them at home or away, we seem to perform well against them.”