10 Reasons Why The Dragons Will Win

Sunday's NRL Grand Final is shaping as an absolute blockbuster... but just which team will come out on top?<br><br>The experts are torn, the odds are tight and both sets of form lines look ominous. It's certainly a tough one to predict, so to make it a little eaiser for you, we've come up with 10 reasons why theSt George Illawarra Dragons will win the 2010 Telstra Premiership.<br><br>Don't worry Roosters fans! <a href="http://www.nrl.com/news/news/newsarticle/tabid/10874/newsid/60484/10-reasons-why-the-roosters-will-win/default.aspx"><b>Click here to read our 10 reasons why the Sydney Roosters will claim the title!</b></a><br><br>So here they are...<br><b><br>1. Big Moment Men</b><br>The NRL grand final is rugby league’s biggest game. And it’s the Dragons who boast the big names for the occasion – in fact, the only members of their starting line-up who haven’t yet played Origin or Test football are Dean Young and Jamie Soward. And last week it was Young who nullified the Wests Tigers’ attack around the ruck, whilst Soward provided the match-winning play in the dying stages.<br><br><b>2. Continuity Kings</b><br>Experience with one another could also prove decisive; a whopping 14 players remain in the Dragons’ line-up from the opening NRL match of 2010 – and a further 12 from the first round of last year. <br><br><b>3. More To Boot</b><br>Jamie Soward’s kicking game could prove pivotal if the grand final develops into the close contest most believe it will. The head-geared left-footer has gained 29 per cent more kick metres than the next best in the league. He’s good under pressure, too – in 392 kicks he has erred and kicked out on the full just once. (Remember the Benji Marshall turning point last week?)<br><br><b>4. Hanging Tough</b><br>The old saying that defence wins the big games will go a long way to ensuring a Red V victory. All year Wayne Bennett’s boys have conceded the fewest points (11 per game). The Roosters might need to find something extra inside the Dragons’ 20-metre zone –&nbsp; they’ve allowed in only 42 tries in that range, compared to the Roosters’ 61.<br><b><br>5. Darius Buoyed</b><br>Todd Carney may have jagged himself a Dally M medal – but right beside him was Darius Boyd. The Dragons’ fullback has been outstanding this season and not only leads the club in line-break and try assists (17 apiece) but he also possesses the NRL’s best ‘defusal rating’ of opponents’ attacking kicks (a mammoth 84 per cent).<br><br><b>6. A Fien Example</b><br>Most fans might consider labelling Nathan Fien the Dragons’ X-Factor a case of drawing a long bow, but there’s no denying his recent contributions have been awesome. Since returning from a broken ankle against the Roosters at the SCG in Round 22, a whopping 66 per cent of the Dragons’ tries have come when the Kiwi international has been on the field. If not the X-Factor, maybe their lucky charm? <br><b><br>7. It’s In Their Blood</b><br>Bloodlines run deep at the Dragons, as both fathers of Dean Young and Brett Morris were heroes of the last ever premiership won by a team fielding the Red V. (However, breaking with our theme for the briefest of moments, history suggests that when either Morris has scored it hasn’t been a good thing; Brett has won only once on the four occasions he’s scored in finals. Meanwhile dad Steve grabbed the sole try in the 1985 grand final defeat to the Bulldogs.)<br><br><b>8. The Gaz Factor</b><br>Arguably no name carries more currency in grand finals than that of Gasnier; Mark’s uncle Reg was part of six victories for St George (1960-65). The only time he scored in a decider was when he crossed for two tries against, wait for it, the Roosters – which was also his maiden appearance. History about to repeat?<br><br><b>9. Cooper Coup</b><br>There’s no better time for Gasnier’s centre partner Matt Cooper to achieve another personal milestone. Having debuted at the same venue (ANZ Stadium) in the very next match after the joint-venture Dragons’ lone grand final appearance in 1999, Cooper finds himself on 99 career wins after 198 career matches.<br><br><b>10. Centres Of Attention</b><br>Finally, the one constant throughout super coach Wayne Bennett’s grand final successes at the Broncos has been big plays by classy outside backs – 17 of the 23 tries the Broncos’ scored in deciders under him can be attributed to either Origin or Test players, the biggest contribution coming from the centres (seven). Mark (and Matt) our words. <br>