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The Dragons have crashed to a record fifth consecutive loss at Oki Jubilee Stadium against Canberra today(14/3/2004). The Raiders were triumphant by 21-12 in front of an 'official' crowd of 12,635 that realistically looked between 14,000 and 14,500.
Today's loss at Kogarah means that Nathan Brown has obtained an unenviable record on his coaching resume. The developing coach has overseen five successive losses at the Dragons' spiritual home, including the second biggest defeat in the history of the Dragons at the famous venue.
In a lacklustre, ill-disciplined and mistake ridden performance, the Dragons were their own worst enemy. Despite some rather questionable decisions from Paul Simpkins, the Dragons can only blame themselves for 20 missed tackles and rudimentary errors from the likes of Ben Hornby, Reece Simmonds and Trent Barrett. Hornby had a particularly ordinary match and should consider himself very fortunate if selected in the NRL side for Saturday's clash against the Warriors.
Despite a bumbling first-half performance which saw the Dragons behind by 15-2, the home side looked set to snatch an unlikely victory until Captain Trent Barrett dropped the ball over the try line in an incident that can be well described as bizarre, gut wrenching and calamitous. The Dragons were behind by 15-12 with 18 minutes remaining when the awkward Barrett lunged for the line and botched a certain lead.
Following Barrett's faux pas, the Raiders rallied to run away with the match. Canberra's halfback McLinden, scored a clever individual try that sealed the Dragons' fate and created the undesirable record for Brown and his team.
On four occasions since 1950, the Dragons have lost 4 consecutive matches at Kogarah:
1978 - lost to Cronulla, Norths, Canterbury and Balmain.
1981/82 - lost to Parramatta(81), Roosters(81), Newtown(81) and Parramatta(82).
1982- lost to Manly, Illawarra, Balmain and Penrith.
1994/95 - lost to Roosters(94), Brisbane(94), Parramatta(94) and Cronulla(95).
Unfortunately, due to today's dire performance, the Dragons have broken this record. Some records are there to be broken, but clearly, this wasn't one of them.
The Dragons must win their remaining three matches at Kogarah against the Sharks, Tigers and Manly if they are to do Kogarah and their St.George based supporters justice. Nathan Brown must ensure that he turns the Dragons' fortunes around immediately and should be accountable to all stakeholders if the desired results aren`t forthcoming. While the words expressed in the pre-match video were impressive, it is time for the Dragons to prove it by the things they do!
Although it is difficult to find anything positive about the match, the form of Dean Young was pleasing. Lance Thompson and Nathan Long tried hard in a pack that was soundly beaten.
R2K Points - Saints vs Raiders: 3 - Dean Young 2 - Nathan Long 1 - Lance Thompson
CANBERRA RAIDERS 21 (M Robertson, A Mogg, M McLinden tries; C Schifcofske 4 goals; C Schifcofske field goal) d. ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 12 (D Young, R Simmonds tries; M Riddell, B Firman goals) at Oki Jubilee Stadium. Crowd: 12,635 ???