For each membership that was mentioned stay on Fox League’s 2021 showcase by our workforce of consultants, just one was the topic of unanimous concern heading into the brand new season.
Instances have been robust on the St George Illawarra Dragons.
And Fox League’s workforce of consultants suppose they’re about to get more durable, starting with the appointment of “delicate” new captain Ben Hunt.
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HUNT THE SKIPPER
Michael Ennis is struggling to see a smoothe management transition from Cameron McInnes to Ben Hunt in 2021.
Hunt has been given the duty with McInnes sidelined by an ACL rupture and off to the Sharks in 2022.
New coach Anthony Griffin is hoping to reignite Hunt’s finest kind from his youthful years within the Broncos system, the place Griffin frolicked with the mercurial halfback.
However Ennis isn’t so certain.
He mentioned that when the Queensland Origin star was given the duty to information the workforce round as a halfback he had failed to fireside.
“You go and make a man, who regarded like he struggled with the stress, captain when he appears to have struggled,” Ennis mentioned. “[He] performed his finest footy when he got here off the bench, out of the limelight and having the ability to simply play footy. Or [his best footy is] at dummy half the place he doesn’t have to regulate the sport plan, he can simply play response footy and that’s what Ben Hunt is nice at.”
‘I’ve received them within the backside 4’
Matty Johns additionally mentioned that he didn’t consider Hunt was pure captain materials.
He was given the function within the wake of McInnes’ season-ending ACL harm, however Johns mentioned his “delicate” fashion didn’t naturally lead itself to main an NRL membership.
“Everybody’s expectations are fairly low, even the diehard Dragons followers,” Johns mentioned.
“McInnes is an actual loss, Ben Hunt as captain I don’t know if he’s that kind of bloke, I don’t know if he’s an actual chief, is he the kind of No. 7 they should get them house? I feel the transfer might could be doing good to get them out of the underside 4.”
“It’s whether or not he can do it. Whenever you meet him he’s a stunning bloke, he’s a delicate bloke and generally the stress of captaincy doesn’t actually agree with that character.
“We’ve been speaking about Ben Hunt however Corey Norman has received to goal up.”
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THE MOVE FOR McCULLOUGH
The power subject for the Dragons over latest years has been their halves.
Whether or not it’s their fault or not, Hunt and Corey Norman haven’t lived as much as their price ticket.
Ennis believes their transfer for Andrew McCullough is just going to ramp up the stress on the membership’s highly-paid No. 6 and No. 7.
“They wanted a dummy half that took stress off halves that aren’t comfy working a soccer workforce,” Ennis mentioned.
“They circulate out and in of the sport at will, Ben Hunt and Corey Norman, and so they wanted somebody there at No. 9 like an Api Koroisau or Harry Grant. Somebody that has that common nous of how you can management and likewise be that spark out of there.
“I don’t know what McCullough brings that Cameron McInnes didn’t. He’s on youthful legs McInnes, he’s received nice velocity out of dummy half. Certainly one of my flaws with him is that I don’t suppose he’s assured sufficient to assault.
“So when you’re searching for a bloke that bled for the membership it was Cameron McInnes. What message does this ship to the gamers to let him go and so they signal a 31-year-old man who’s coming off an ACL for 3 years.”
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THE COACHING SET UP
Cooper Cronk prompt that the Dragons’ teaching workforce didn’t strike him as one of many recreation’s fashionable greats.
And that for him was one other space for concern given how rapidly the sport had advanced in latest instances.
“You discuss concerning the fashion of recreation and the way it’s modified during the last two years, Griffin hasn’t coached for some time,” Cronk mentioned. “Matt Elliott is the assistant and Peter Light from the Broncos so there’s a little bit of disconnect with the brand new age footy.
“However Corey Norman must [step up]. When you’re going to place your whole funding into Corey Norman, Ben Hunt and Andrew McCullough, properly these three guys should be the very best gamers for the Dragons over the following 30 weeks.”