Nightingale: It's Crunch Time
By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
Dragons winger Jason Nightingale insists his side can still make the finals but knows Thursday night's clash with the Broncos is crucial to their chances.
The Dragons have lost their past four games and have fallen to 12th on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder as a result.
While he wouldn't concede the Dragons' finals hopes were on the line when they face the equally-struggling Broncos on Thursday night, Nightingale said a win was required for his side's confidence.
"We have one in the bag but we need to start getting wins now. Sooner rather than later. If it's not on the line this week and it doesn't go our way then we have to win every game from now on to make the finals," Nightingale told NRL.com.
"The improvement we have shown the past two weeks has put us in a position to win this game and we really have to for the sake of our confidence considering the uphill task we have given ourselves.
"I've been following [the Broncos] a little bit. They're obviously a quality club and I'm expecting more of themselves than what they're currently giving as we are as well.
"They're out of form and we're hopefully coming into form so it should prove to be a great battle."
Nightingale was optimistic ability the Dragons' prospects following last week's narrow 13-10 loss to the Bulldogs.
On the night it was the Bulldogs' defence rather the Dragons' lack of execution that proved the difference.
St George Illawarra's attacking woes have been well-documented of late. As a team they have scored just 33 points more than Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker this season.
Yet last Friday night the Dragons created countless opportunities but couldn't breach the Bulldogs' amazing defence.
"Our attack has been really positive but it was the Bulldogs' couple of last-ditch plays that kept denying us. They add up in the end and we only need one of them to make up the difference between winning and losing," Nightingale said.
"It was disappointing to not get the win but there was so much good in that game for us to go off. The scramble of the Bulldogs just kept denying us.
"A bit of luck would've been nice but it wasn't to be on the night. We're creating enough opportunities but it's up to us now to execute."