St George Illawarra Dragons National Youth Competition team Head Coach Mat Head has backed his players ahead of the Qualifying Final fixture against the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Friday.
The Young Dragons enter the encounter having placed third on the competition ladder and face an opposition which Head describes as the best his team have faced this season.
The Young Dragons were comprehensively defeated 38-18 in their first encounter (Round 5) before managing a 30-all draw against their interstate opponents in a rematch (Round 12).
“The game against the Newcastle Knights probably showed where we have come from as a team and we played pretty poorly by our standards but still got the win,” said Head.
“We were doing the same thing earlier in the season and weren’t getting the wins so the boys totally deserve to be sitting third on the table after twenty-six long weeks.
“This performance though is not a reflection on us as much as the previous two games against the Sydney Roosters and the Parramatta Eels where we were outstanding.
“We have a really good forward-pack that work hard and do not mind if they don’t get the credit or recognition they deserve.
“We also have some very talented backs which combine to be well-balanced and exciting.
“They have worked hard in training and like I touched upon, they deserve to be where they are but now we are approaching a new competition which starts with facing the Cowboys.
“The Cowboys are a qualify team who I think have been the best we have faced this year.
“They touched us up quite easily up in Townville before we managed a high-scoring draw in the return match in Wollongong but we back ourselves to be able to match them.”