Dragon just wants a chance to fire up
IT APPEARS the struggling Dragons will have little going for them in their clash with the Roosters at WIN Jubilee Oval tonight.
The Dragons sit in second-last place and have been rated a $4.65 outsider to topple the second-placed team.
Despite having plenty of chances inside Penrith's 20m zone in the first half of last Saturday night's 25-10 loss, the red and whites rarely troubled the Panther defence, so you would think a defensively sound team like the Roosters would have little trouble handling them tonight.
Dragons forwards utility Will Matthews said his side needed to put the Roosters under pressure early in attack, the same way the Bondi outfit did in its 34-10 victory on Anzac Day.
"If we're off the pace, they'll go right through us," he said. "Our kick-chase needs to be spot-on and we need to start very well.
"Defensively the Roosters have been really good. They were really impressive defending their line against Manly (in Monday night's 18-12 win), whereas years previously they'd let in teams a lot more easily.
"And they're skilful across the park with the ball."
Matthews admitted he had been frustrated by his team's lack of wins this year, particularly as the club had been good enough to win the premiership in 2010.
"We haven't been performing to the high standards we set ourselves, but the confidence is still high," he said. "There are still plenty of games remaining and anything can happen - just look at how the Warriors turned their season around.
"We're still in a rebuilding phase after losing a lot of senior players in recent years."
Off contract at the end of this season, 25-year-old Matthews admitted he had expected more game time at the Dragons after joining them from the Titans in 2012.
He has played only two games this year, but may get his third tonight after being named on an extended bench.
"I've been happy with the way I've been playing, but disappointed I haven't received more of an opportunity," he said.
"That was the reason I left the Gold Coast - I thought I'd get a good opportunity to play first grade at a good club.
"But I've got 100% confidence in my ability and if I start getting more opportunities, I won't let anyone down."
Roosters hooker Nathan Friend said his team would not take the Dragons lightly, singling out lock Trent Merrin's footwork and offloads as hard to handle.
DRAGONS v ROOSTERS
At WIN Jubilee
Also: Titans v Panthers, 7pm