fire for first win
ADAM HAWSE www.news.com.au
BESIEGED St George-Illawarra coach
Nathan Brown revealed a team meeting held seven days ago
gave him confidence his side had turned the corner, even
before last night's resounding win over previously
After the Dragons notched their first win of the season,
delighting a bumper home crowd at WIN Stadium, Brown said
the catalyst was a frank discussion held the morning
after last weekend's hammering by Canberra.
"I thought we took a big step forward last Sunday
when we had a meeting and Trent (Barrett) and Luke Bailey
spoke and said it's about time each player took
responsibility and ownership," Brown said.
"You saw in this performance of our senior players.
It's no secret that if your senior players play well you
"That's been going on since Dally Messenger was a
"Those blokes led the way and everyone followed.
We've got to do it again next week.
"But last week I took a lot of confidence in what
was said. It wasn't a lot, but it was very constructive.
That's when I thought things would get better."
Captain Trent Barrett said today would be the first time
in a month he would wake up with a smile on his face.
Barrett capped the win with a classy try late in the
"I can't tell you how hard the last month has
been," Barrett said.
"Tonight we got rewarded for sticking together and
training hard. We could have capitulated, but we're back
now and this has given us something to start with.
"It will be nice to wake up and play with the family
knowing we've got two points. Life is good again.
"It's good to see the boys smiling again and
Brownie, who has been under a lot of pressure."
The Dragons' 26-point win against a previously unbeaten
team continues the bizarre series of results this season.
The news was almost all good for the Dragons, with a
successful comeback from star centre Mark Gasnier after
nine months out of the game with injury and powerful
games up front from props Bailey and Jason Ryles.
The Dragons also improved their defence, conceding just
one try after averaging an average of 38 points against
them in the first four games of the season.
The only possible lowlight looms in the shape of a fine
for Brown failing to inform ground officials of his
decision to elevate Dean Young into the starting team at
hooker ahead of Michael Ennis.
The incident is in the ground manager's report, but Brown
claimed he totally forgot after a week of focusing on how
to get the Dragons off the bottom of the table.
"I made the decision so early in the week I forgot
all about it," Brown said.
Manly coach Des Hasler refused to blame referee Sean
Hampstead after a flood of penalties against his side for
holding down in the ruck.
He also refused to use having last week off with the bye
as an excuse for his team's worst performance of the
"We just didn't play well," he said. "We
had a good week of training and prepared well. It just
didn't go according to plan.
"We've got to bounce back against the Raiders at
home, which we will."
Hasler gave a flat "no" when asked if he
thought people would start to ask if Manly's bubble had
In a game that was ill tempered at times, Manly
five-eighth Michael Witt was sin-binned late in the game
for running in when a scuffle broke out between other
(B Hornby D Young C Best M Ennis T Barrett tries; M Head
(B Kite try; M Witt goal).