By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
Dragons co-captain Ben Creagh is hoping for more minutes this weekend in their local derby with the Sharks as the Red V's coaching staff fine-tunes their eight interchange strategy.
St George Illawarra's 18-16 loss to the Storm on Monday night was the first time the Dragons had played under the new rules having used unlimited interchanges in all of their trials.
Creagh managed just 15 minutes against Melbourne, but still produced 69 metres and eight tackles in his reduced stint.
"It's going to be an interesting season for a lot of bench players when it comes to eight interchanges now because coaches can't unfortunately use three or four in the first half in case of injury," Creagh told NRL.com.
"I would have loved to have played more minutes but that's just the way it worked [against Melbourne]. I'm sure the coaches will keep tinkering with it as the season goes on so I can hopefully get more game time.
"The coaches will keep trialling different things to see what works for us. I think we had six [interchanges] available in the second half, it seems like a lot, but in saying that if you get injuries you could be in trouble.
"It's going to be interesting as the season goes how teams finish games off if they suffer injuries."
Despite the Red V's season-opening defeat Creagh took plenty of positives from the first quarter of proceedings, namely with his side coming up with an early 10-0 lead.
"The first 20, 25 minutes was where we played some really good footy. I thought we had Melbourne on the back foot there for a while. There was only two points in it at half-time and it pretty much stayed that way for the rest of the game," Creagh said.
"It was a bit of a grind, a bit of an arm wrestle in second half and it was a shame not to get the win. A lot of positives came from it.
"The effort was there. The intensity and enthusiasm came in our attack and defence. I think just a lack of attention to detail when it came to our game plan hurt us in the end.
"A fair few errors throughout the game too which hurt us but the best thing about it is we can fix all those things and get it right for this week."