Continuity the Backbone of Dragons' Finals Charge

While five teams frantically fought tooth and nail to fill the remaining two top eight positions last weekend, the St George Illawarra Dragons secured their place in the top two.

Six competition points separate them and Penrith - the minor premiers – yet the Dragons remain a heavy favourite in the Intrust Super Premiership with a roster predominantly made up of young guns that make them a pleasure to watch.

Jai Field, Pat Herbert, Zac Lomax, Reuben Garrick, Hame Sele and Blake Lawrie are just a handful of boom youngsters with NRL written all over them, and this group has the opportunity to prove their worth under pressure with the finals just around the corner.

Another one of these players is Reece Robson, who hopes the three-game winning streak that the Dragons are on will give them enough momentum to topple the in-form Newtown Jets in their Qualifying Final this Saturday.

"We've given ourselves a red-hot shot and a bit of confidence going into the finals series," Robson says to NSWRL.com.au.

 

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"In the last few weeks we've been trying to prepare like it's the finals.

"It's those one per cent plays that win you games in the finals, so if we can keep on top of that we will go all right."

Part of the success of the Dragons at Intrust Super Premiership level has been the success of the NRL team, despite their recent struggles.

While State of Origin has allowed players like Robson, Field, Darren Nicholls, Lawrie and Lomax to play in the top grade at various stages this year, the team has stayed injury-free and have managed to keep a consistent weekly roster.

In the last few weeks we've been trying to prepare like it's the finals.

Reece Robson

Consequently, the Intrust Super Premiership team have managed to stay together for a majority of the year too, heavily equating to their position on the ladder.

"With first grade going well and them being pretty lucky with injuries, it keeps out side pretty strong," Robson says.

"It's been tough all year, there's no weeks off really, and you don't get an easy team one week and a hard team the next.

"It's been a consistent competition all year, hopefully we can do something."

While it would be special for the Dragons to go all the way at this level, no doubt the ultimate goal is to play NRL for these players.

A boom hooker that has ticked all junior representative boxes, Robson ticked off making his NRL debut earlier in the year against the Melbourne Storm.

It's just one piece of the puzzle as he transitions into a full-time first grader, and it's not been an easy task with both of his NRL matches being against the current competition leaders.

Those short yet imperative experiences have allowed Robson to bring back some knowledge and lessons at Intrust Super Premiership level, benefiting the Dragons come finals time.

"I was honoured to get a start, it's certainly helped with my confidence," Robson says.

"The speed of the game, to always keep moving, continually tying in and making sure you're not leaving any gaps in the line pretty much.

"I've been up there trying to bring back what I can with the boys down here."

Robson and the Dragons play their Qualifying Final at Penrith Stadium this Sunday at 1.45pm.