GREEN EXPECTS MAGIC MARSHALL TO COVER DUGAN
COWBOYS coach Paul Green expects St George- Illawarra’s “world- class” halves pairing of Benji Marshall and Gareth Widdop will be ready to muster a Dragons attack missing Blues fullback Josh Dugan.
Dugan has been one of the standouts in this year’s State of Origin series and has been averaging a commanding 171 running metres in his 13 games for the Wollongong-based club this year.
It’s plenty of attacking prowess to make up but Green said New Zealander Marshall and Englishman Widdop will offer plenty in attack.
It comes as the Cowboys will be without first choice halves Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan through Maroons commitments and have Ray Thompson and Robert Lui leading the North Queensland attack.
“You lose players of that calibre ( Dugan) and they will probably be down a little in those areas,” Green said.
“But they’ve still got world- class halves in Widdop and Marshall so we’ll have our hands full.
“It should be a tough game there in Wollongong.
“That’s their strength I think and with Dugan out of their team, he adds plenty of attack so probably those two guys will be the focal point of their attack and Mitch Rein out of dummy half.”
The Cowboys coach said his side was still smarting after their 24- 18 loss to the Cronulla Sharks on the weekend, especially after holding a commanding lead and was determined to make amends.
“We’re disappointed to squander an 18- point lead going into half- time,” he said.
“We haven’t been in that position too many times this year so we weren’t able to convert that into the result we wanted. We want to bounce back from the weekend and Saints are coming off the back of a couple of losses also. Both teams would be pretty keen to get a good game under their belts.”
Despite not having their first choice attacking options, Green said his team would look to build on last week’s first half where the Cowboys ran in some smart team tries.
“We played some nice footy there last week and there were a few areas where we were off,” he said.
“A few little areas that can sometimes get glossed over.
“For us as a team, it’s about tightening up in those areas and then playing their part in that.”
WORLD- CLASS: Dragons’ Benji Marshall in action during the round 16 NRL match between Parramatta and St George Illawarra in Sydney on Saturday.