PREVIEW | Rick Edgerton looks ahead to tomorrow night's #Origin series opener at ANZ Stadium
64 mins ago
Their fans may be delirious at the prospect, but it's tough to gauge just how St George Illawarra players feel about the impending arrival of Brisbane super coach Wayne Bennett.
Bennett was on Tuesday unveiled as the man to take over from Nathan Brown at the helm of the Dragons on a three-year deal that begins in 2009.
With a resume that includes six NRL premierships, successful stints as both Queensland and Australian Test coach and a reputation for turning talented youngsters into superstars, you would think the struggling Dragons squad would be in raptures with the news.
But if that was the case, they were doing a good job of hiding it, the players refusing to discuss Bennett's arrival for fear of taking their focus off the job at hand.
"It's good for the guys that are coming off contract or guys wanting to come to the club to know the coaching situation at the club for 09 and beyond," Dragons skipper Mark Gasnier said.
"Other than that I don't think it changes our campaign for 2008.
"We know exactly where we stand in 08 and all the goals we set in pre-season and all the hard work we did in the off-season isn't going to go to waste because there's been a change of coach next year.
"It's unfair to talk about 09 and Wayne when 2008 is so important."
No doubt the players will want to send Brown out on a high with a strong finish to the year.
Hornby, who reached the heights of Test football under Brown, admitted the players owed it to Brown to concentrate on the season ahead.
"Obviously we're excited that there's going to be change but we've had a lot to do with Browny and he's had a lot of influence on our careers," Hornby said.
"It's sad in a way ... mixed feelings.
"We've got to focus on this year and trying to do well this year and wining this week more importantly."