McGregor: Business As Usual
St George Illawarra Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor admits it will come down to the performance on the night against the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Friday.
The Red-and-Whites enter the encounter against their upcoming opposition in search of a third successive win in as many rounds as well as potentially capturing a rare double over their rivals following the 12-10 win at Jubilee Oval Kogarah in Round 7.
McGregor notes though that he is not reading too much into this, instead indicating that things have changed since the last time both teams met.
“I don’t take too much interest in who we are playing except the respect factor there with where the Broncos are at,” said McGregor.
“They are leading the competition for not any one particular reason, they have a quality coach and quality players and whilst we did get a victory, it was tight one in Sydney and the return game here has nothing to do with that.
“It is a completely different week and completely different set of circumstances.
“For me it is just about getting ready and putting our best performance forward that we can on the night.
“I know a dangerous Brisbane side is a side that has been beaten because it doesn’t happen too often which is why they are leading the competition.”
The Dragons enter the fixture having trained in the sunshine state for the entire week following their 36-0 win over the New Zealand Warriors at Westpac Stadium, Wellington last Saturday.
McGregor indicated that he has been pleased with the team’s performances over the past two weeks and the way they have responded to training, noting he is happy to be overseeing a complete first-grade team following previous disruptions caused by State of Origin, injuries and suspensions.
“We had a lot of players out for a period of time with suspensions, injuries and Origin and when these guys do come back they take a little bit of time to get going,” said McGregor.
“They have now been back for three weeks and the last two weeks have been promising.
“I was never too concerned because this playing group that we had had won eight out of nine games so they knew that their ability was there.”
“I thought the most pleasing thing in our game against the Warriors was that we kept them to zero which is the second time that we have done that this year.
“Unfortunately, we lost our back-rower turned centre in Will Matthews (shoulder) while Dylan Farrell (back) went down in the warm-up so we lost our winger before the game kicked-off.
“We then list Benji Marshall (hamstring) roughly 15 minutes into the game so there was a lot of changes in that but the boys showed a lot of resolve and the Warriors had their season on the line as well.”
The nine-day tour is also something that McGregor sees as being a positive for the group at this time of the season.
“Logistically we don’t spend too much time together outside of training, because we have guys that travel up to two hours to train with the Sydney and Wollongong based players, so being away for nine days is good for everyone,” said McGregor.
“We have had a really tough season thus far and a lot of changes during this year and a lot of the guys haven’t been regular first-graders for a long period of time so to get them away to spend some quality time together and get some quality work in training and video has been good”.