By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
A defiant Ben Creagh believes his club is not in crisis despite murmurs of salary cap problems and the departure of superstar winger Brett Morris.
Kiwi international Bronson Harrison and promising young-gun Jack Bird also joined Morris out the exit door but the Dragons skipper believes it is just newly appointed coach Paul McGregor's way of getting the team he wants as he approaches his first full season in charge.
"I don't think there is any crisis. Things are going fine," Creagh said on Wednesday.
"A new coach has come in and taken over, and you see with many other clubs for a long, long time, [new coaches] they come in, they want to make changes and they want to have the team they desire.
"It is what has happened in this case."
The Dragons kicked off their summer pre-season this week and the 29-year-old says their greatest advantage was the retention of several key players, including the team's spine.
"I think the biggest advantage we have heading into next season... yeah there's been a lot of changes with players, but the core of the side that finished off this past season is still here including our halves, fullback and a lot of our forward pack," he said.
"I think it's important especially with Gareth [Widdop] and Benji [Marshall] as well, which gives us confidence heading into 2015."
The club announced the signings of George Rose and former Eels and Storm NYC prop Rulon Nutira on Tuesday, but it came at the cost of forwards Harrison, Willie Mataka, Shane Pumipi and Josh Ailaomai.
While the presence of recruits Rose, Beau Henry, Eto Nabuli and Heath L'Estrange will give the squad an injection of youth and experience, Creagh believes there is enough depth to cover Morris' star quality.
"I think when you talk about a player like Brett Morris I don't think you can replace a guy like that because he is one of the best wingers in the world," he said.
"On the other hand there's an opportunity for the younger guys to play for St George and everyone needs an opportunity.
"There are some great players in our 20s and the club has made some great purchases heading into next year."
Creagh's optimism didn't end there either with the Dragons' Wollongong training base receiving a much needed upgrade, something which clearly excited the 11-year veteran.
With a brand new gym, altitude chamber and padded room purpose-built for wrestling into their base below WIN Stadium, Creagh couldn't help but point out how refreshing it was to have the new additions.
"[The facilities] have been the same here for a very long time in Wollongong and it's nice to see there has been a bit of change around the place," Creagh said.
"It has definitely [freshened the place up] especially with players like myself who have been here a very long time.
"It is nice to see a new gym, some new equipment and facilities and the new boys are excited – they probably appreciate the fresh start here as well."