Mann: Need To Find Form
By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
St George Illawarra Dragons duo Jack de Belin and Kurt Mann have both addressed the importance of the game against Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Sunday.
While the Tigers have had issues of their own in recent days with Robbie Farah dropped from the first-grade side, de Belin believes the Dragons' season has reached a crossroads.
As the Dragons look to keep the top eight in sight – being one of four teams log-jammed on 20 competition points – de Belin said the team had to find some consistency fast.
"Week-to-week, we're varying so much. We need to find ourselves and start chalking up wins with whatever means possible," de Belin told NRL.com.
"We're at a crossroad with our season now and it can only go one way so we need to start getting our season back on track.
"Considering where we are sitting, to be honest, we haven't been playing that good a brand of football. The team we are fielding every week, I feel like we have so much potential but we just haven't been playing for that.
"Everyone is accountable for that so we're at a point now where we're in a bit of a funk. The season could go either way so if we stick tight we'll be sweet as we look towards playing to our potential."
While the Dragons have had their well-documented struggles of late, winger Kurt Mann has been a shining light for the club recently.
Mann has turned his season around over the past fortnight following an ordinary start to the year, with a particularly poor performance at fullback in the Dragons' Dragons' 30-2 loss to the Sharks in the Round 2.
Subsequent knee and ankle injuries over the next two months left Mann to languish in the Intrust Super Premiership until his recall to the NRL side throughout the State of Origin period.
"Round 2 was a time where I was trying to build a few combinations and build some confidence in the boys that I could do a job back there but it was easily one of the worst games I've played in my life," Mann told NRL.com.
"Everyone at the Dragons have been really good to me. They helped me get back on the horse and were always checking to see how I was."
Mann echoed de Belin's sentiment that the Dragons had to start winning the crucial games against fellow top-eight contenders.
"The last two weeks were big games for us, especially against teams like the Titans – who are floating in and out of the top eight like us – and the Sea Eagles, who can make a run for the finals as well," Mann said.
"Those games there that we lost were crucial so we'll need to reform really quickly."