Dragons v Titans Match Report
The St George Illawarra Dragons season is slipping away after a limp and listless 36-6 loss to the Titans on Friday night. In front of a sparse crowd at Kogarah, the Dragons spluttered and stumbled their way through the 80 minutes, in the process copping a second straight hiding. Much to the dismay of the faithful on hand the Dragons were blown away right from the jump from an energetic and controlled Titans side.
After a similar spanking away to Manly the Dragons, fresh off a bye were expected to come out breathing fire in a match which was crucial in the Top 8 dog fight. Whilst the late withdrawal of Josh Dugan was a hammer blow for the Saints, the way they were picked apart was symptomatic of a team well down on confidence and cohesion.
In contrast the Titans continue to impress making a clear stake for a Top 8 berth. The result was never in doubt as they raced out of the blocks running in two clinical set play tries within the first quarter of the game. Written off at the start of the season as wooden spoon favourites the Titans under Neil Henry have continued to surprise. The mid season signing of Nathan Peats has added further spark to a side that is now well balanced with rookie half Ash Taylor playing another strong game. Most pleasing for Neil Henry would have been the resolute defensive rearguard, even if it come against the anaemic Dragons.
For mine the Dragons have resembled a bottom four side for much of the season. They have managed to scratch and claw their way to 8 wins, without ever looking convincing with the football in hand. To be averaging just 13 points a game, shows the team has good character to not be on the bottom of the ladder. They also took advantage of a soft Origin draw, getting cheap home wins against the well understrength Storm and Cowboys. The Tigers will be licking their lips to get at the Dragons next Sunday at ANZ Stadium in another must win bout for both clubs. Meanwhile the Titans go home to face an Eels side facing a short turn around. Another win for the Titans and they will take a giant leap towards a most unexpected finals appearance in 2016
Verdict - I expected this to be a close, gritty affair. However it appeared a mis-match after just 10 minutes. The Titans are on the up, and I think favourites to claim 7th or 8th spot currently. As for the Dragons they can start booking their holidays for September, I see a pretty ugly end to the season for the Red V.