What Turned The Dragons Around

St George Illawarra - Matt PriorBy STEVE MASCORD

PROP Matt Prior has revealed the secret behind St George Illawarra’s dramatic form reversal – and it’s a variation on throwing out the playbook.

After a winless opening three weeks to the season, the joint venture is off and running after victories against Sydney neighbours Cronulla and Steel City rivals Newcastle.

Commentators point to a more carefree approach and while coach Steve Price is saying little, Prior tells RLW: “We weren’t playing the play, we were waiting for the next play too often.

“We’re now all on the same page and playing what’s in front of us. Everyone’s jumping on board and just playing that.

“I don’t think there’s been too much of a change at training. We’ve pretty much been doing the same things. Maybe we’re all just buying into our attacking strategies a bit more.

“We’re all buying into what Pricey’s (coach Steve Price) drilling into us.

“Generally, we’re all just playing the play instead of waiting for the next play. We’re supporting each other on that play, rather than worrying about what’s going to happen on the next.

“That’s the main thing.”

Halfback Josh Drinkwater, who made his debut in Sunday’s 19-16 win over the Knights, has relived the day he thought he had stuffed up his chance of an NRL breakthrough.

Drinkwater was heavily tipped for a promotion when he took the field for Illawarra in a NSW Cup game against Canterbury on March 16 but after a quiet showing, suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him until the weekend just passed.

“There was (some pressure) and I’ve got to be honest, it did get to me,” he tells League Week. “The boys were on the bus and they were telling me.

“It was definitely in the back of my head, the fact that Pricey said in the media he was coming to watch me. A few people in the media were saying a few things. I try not to read that stuff.

“I wanted to play the week after, the staff wouldn’t let me. I don’t like missing games. I’m happy to play through injury but they said not to play.

“It’s a dream come true. All I ever wanted was to play NRL. Now I’ve ticked that box, I want to stay up.

“I was training all week (last week) as if I was going to make my debut. There were plenty of nerves. I didn’t get much sleep last night.”


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