Raiders v Dragons: Five key points
Five things we learned from the Dragons' stunning comeback victory over the Raiders in Canberra on Saturday afternoon.
McGregor relates to Red V fans
The Dragons were an absolute shambles in the first half.
Whether it was their errors – at one point they had only managed to complete 43 per cent of sets – or poor decision making, the Dragons did their best to stink up the nation's capital in the early part of the game.
Their defence in the middle was average at best and the Raiders' three tries were undeniable gifts from the Red V.
Simply put, the 'SAVE OUR SAINTS' banner which resided at one end of GIO Stadium was justified in the first half.
However, so was the 'Hail Mary' sign which stood tall nearby, with Paul 'Mary' McGregor's side claiming the unlikeliest of victories by full time.
It's been a big week for everyone with any interest in the Dragons and McGregor said he could understand where fans were coming from to a degree.
"The fans want a side who wins but they shouldn't think for any minute in any day that we're not trying to please them and that's what we're trying to do – we're working around the clock to do that," McGregor said.
"It takes time though and I hope they understand that with patience. The group here is working very hard and we'll continue to do that until we get the results. I understand their frustrations too, I was a Dragons supporter as a kid and now I'm coaching them. We're working very, very hard to fix things."
Simplistic Raiders game plan failing to last the 80
The Raiders' simple game plan was on show for everyone to see against St George Illawarra in the first 40.
In the first half, the Raiders were on fire and halves Mitch Cornish and Blake Austin were looking like they had played together for the past five seasons. Their long and short pass selection with hole runners pinning their ear backs were all the rage in the first half for Canberra but it all went missing in the back end of the game.
As the Dragons fought their way back into the match, the Raiders halves' execution went out the window and the simplistic game plan that they had utilised earlier disappeared.
Whether it was complacency or the inexperience of young Cornish and Austin (who had nine missed tackles between them) there is still plenty to work on to keep Ricky Stuart's green machine rolling for the full 80 minutes.
Livid Stuart insists Raiders will regroup
Speaking of Stuart, a very angry Stuart at that, the Raiders coach slammed his team's performance.
"It wasn't of a first grade standard. We lost that game ourselves," Stuart said after the loss. "Some individual performances weren't of first grade standard."
But the coach refused to identify which areas his side needed to improve.
"I don't need to be discussing that publicly so you media blokes can then run off and criticise the facets in our game," Stuart said.
"We'll work it out in our inner sanctum and we'll regroup now. We have a very, very upset group of players in there who know and understand where we went wrong."
Last year the Dragons broke a 14-year hoodoo by finally beating the Raiders in Canberra. They hadn't beaten the Raiders anywhere since 2007, which makes the Dragons' current roll against the green machine somewhat remarkable.
Two wins from their past two games in Canberra though has NRL.com wondering if a reverse hoodoo is on the cards. At the very least former Raiders and current Dragons Joel Thompson and Josh Dugan are proving to be lucky charms considering they have never lost in a fixture between these sides.
Dragons' under-20s still in crisis
While their first-grade counterparts claimed their first win of the season, St George Illawarra's under-20s team has dropped three games straight. In the first three rounds, the young Dragons have conceded 144 points having only scored 44 themselves.
In the curtain raiser to first grade on Saturday afternoon, the Dragons had no answers for the Raiders – who were scoring at a rate of a point per minute for the majority of the first half. Try-scoring doubles to Raiders youngsters Lachlan Croker, Brenko Lee, Jack Williams and Tevita Pangai Jr saw the Dragons suffer a huge 60-10 flogging.