By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor admits he isn't sure where his team's 40-10 capitulation against Newcastle came from, but he plans to try and find out.
Following a two-point loss to the Broncos in Round 25 when only a win would have kept them in the finals race, the Dragons' backed it up a week later with nothing to play for but pride and were rocked by a free-spirited Knights outfit who had thrown off the shackles of consequence much earlier in 2014.
Speaking after the game, former NSW and Kangaroos representative McGregor said the performance was "a hard thing to watch".
"As an ex-footballer I can't understand it but as a coach I'll look deep into it," McGregor said.
"We have a very young side and Benny Creagh didn't play today either, who is our only senior forward so to speak, so that obviously hurts and that has to be changed.
"If I had the answer we wouldn't have gone out and done that.
"When you're playing your last game of the year you want to go out with the thought process that you're going to give it your all because you don't have next weekend to play for.
"It was disappointing. We knew what we were in for.
"I suppose last week took a fair bit out of us... the way we lost to Brissy and then coming into this weekend with nothing more to play for but something to give our fans.
"We had no real energy and no intent with the way we went about our business."
There are positives to come out of the year for McGregor and his Dragons outfit though.
With his inexperienced charges gaining another season under their belts, McGregor noted they had at least improved on last season's ranking.
"I had a chat with all the boys after the game and if you take this result out of it, 14 weeks ago we were a pretty broken group and we were one from seven and we needed to fix things quick, and we did," McGregor said.
"We started to improve and we started to compete and last weekend we were two points away from being in the finals series.
"If you look at last year, we came 14th and this year we have improved by three spots this year.
"We just need to keep improving."