St George Illawarra Dragons: The run home...

Wayne Bennett is a coaching messiah! He has transformed a club which for years has been regarded as ‘soft’ and ‘pretty’, turning them into a hardened football team. <br><br>A team who started the season at $16 with the bookies and are now red hot $3.50 favourites to win the premiership, such is the measure of how far they have come.<br><br>Sure, the Dragons bought well, Darius Boyd at fullback and hard nuts Mickey Paea, Neville Costigan, Luke Priddis, Jeremy Smith and Michael Weyman in the forward pack, but Bennett has been getting the best out of everyone else. <br><br>Matt Cooper and Wendell Sailor have wound back the clock, Beau Scott is tackling players as if he had the build of Shane Webcke. In his prime! Ben Hornby has stepped up, Brett Morris has sticky hands and is scoring tries on a weekly basis whilst Jamie Soward is finally the player everyone thought he could be and is Bennett’s greatest achievement this year. Well at least until they win the Premiership. It's been a long time coming... but the club and their fans can smell it.<br><br><b>The Run home: </b>Warriors (A), Storm (H), Panthers (A), Raiders (A), Broncos (H), Rabbitohs (A), Eels (H)<br><br>It’s a good run home for the Dragons and only the Storm should really trouble them. All the other teams will try, but the truth is none are in their class and as for Brisbane - the Dragons have beaten them eight straight.<br><br>The danger game is actually the trip to Canberra Stadium where the joint venture are 2-6 and frequently lose to Raiders’ teams who don’t have the cattle the Dragons do. If they get through this one, Dragons’ fans should breathe easy and know their team really are tougher than they have ever been.<br><br><b>Players to Watch:</b><br><b>Jeremy Smith</b> – In case anyone has forgotten, this man is as tough as a $2 steak and will be looking to once again prove it as he returns from injury. Runs hard, hits even harder and will give St George a huge boost when he returns to the fold. Smith will make the team even stronger, which is a scary though, given the way the Dragons are playing.<br><br><b>Jamie Soward </b>– Week-in-week-out Soward has run the show for the Dragons producing dominant kicking, running and passing performances. His turn of speed is phenomenal and he knows how to find the try line or lay one on for his teammates (Soward has scored 9 and given 14 try assists). He has also scored more points than anyone else in the NRL and his general kicking game is as good as Brett Kimmorley’s. <br><br>For the Dragons, Jamie Soward is the man and he doesn’t look like letting up anytime soon.<br><br><b>Predicted finish:</b> Minor Premiers and Premiers