ST GEORGE Illawarra coach Paul McGregor admits his team is taking a different mental approach to this year’s season as they look to stay atop the NRL ladder.
The Dragons are shock leaders after the opening six rounds of the season, despite expectations they would have to fight off the wooden spoon in 2017.
However they have a difficult run ahead, which begins with North Queensland on tonight in Wollongong followed by battles with the Sydney Roosters, Melbourne and Cronulla.
McGregor says that while last year he encouraged his players to approach the season in different blocks, he wouldn’t allow it to happen this year.
“It’s definitely (different),” McGregor said. “There are no blocks talked about, there’s no half season talked about, no byes being talked about. There’s nothing except the game coming up that’s being talked about at this round.”
The Dragons led the competition after 12 rounds in McGregor’s first season in charge in 2015, but fell away drastically in the second half of the year.
In 2017, they are averaging an extra 20.5 per points on the opening six matches from last year, as well an additional 130 running metres and 10 more tackle busts.
McGregor said the idea of avoiding complacency setting in had not even been discussed with the players, despite their 5-1 start to the year.
“I forgot about 2015 and 2016,” McGregor said. “There is nothing about complacency spoken about this week. It’s all about what we need to do to improve our game and the standards that we set.”
NSW forward Tyson Frizell is expected to overcome a rib injury to play North Queensland, while fullback Josh Dugan is on track to return from a hamstring problem against the Roosters on Anzac Day.
But as far as McGregor is concerned, his team made a statement against an in-form Manly side at Lottoland last week, whom they beat 35-10.
“We wanted that opportunity last week to show that our character and certainly our attitude was real and we done that,” McGregor said.
“For us now every week is a week. Whoever we play for that week we are ramping up in our progress to play to our full potential.”
Originally published as No blocks, just one game for Dragons
SOURCE: newsnow sport