Coach's Corner: Round 26
St George Illawarra Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor is confident the Red V squad can finish the 2014 season on a high note, despite not being in contention to play finals footy.
The Coach was forced to make some mid-week changes to the Dragons line-up with several players out due to injury.
“We set a goal to win 8 of the final 14 games when I took over, and this week I think it’s really important that we achieve that goal," McGregor said.
“We worked really hard over the last 14 weeks to get ourselves in a position to make a run for finals, so it was disappointing that our season came to an end last week against the Broncos.
“In that 72nd minute we fell down and in a period of the second 20 of the first half, and although we fought back hard, it came down to a try late in the game that pushed us out.
"I've put a fair bit more responsibility on the young blokes this week, but I'm sure they will handle it.
"Frizell will start up front and Cooper has a lot of experience and will start in the front row too and I want to see how De Belin goes on the right edge.
"I've also put Leeson to the middle, he’s a big bloke, he's got 113 kilos behind him and I need big blokes through that middle patch.
"I know we’ve improved as a team, but we’re missing out on the finals because we lack concentration in small windows of our game and other teams are taking advantage of that lapse and scoring against us.
"That’s definitely something we will be working on over the pre-season when we’re together as a full squad and we’ve got time to focus on all the things we need to fix in our game.
"It will be a good test for us this week, they’re playing a different brand of football, Newcastle than they were 10 weeks ago and they’ve won 7 of their last ten purely on a carefree style of footy.
"They move the ball around a lot, a lot of late offloads, so its important for us to control the ruck and speed of the line."