Dragons props Russell Packer and Mike Cooper.

McGregor disappointed with premature end

Dragons coach Paul McGregor was left to rue what could have been as his side's 2016 campaign came to a shattering halt at the hands of the Roosters on Sunday afternoon. 

Victory at Allianz Stadium would have kept their slender hopes of playing in September alive, but it wasn't to be. 

 

With everything to play for, the Dragons were trounced 42-6 by the 15th-placed Tricolours to definitively bring an end to their finals hopes.

"I'm disappointed with the end result because obviously it finishes our season," McGregor said post-game.  

"Last year we were finalists, and with two weeks to go in this competition this year, we're not in the fight anymore, so that's disappointing."

Despite a lopsided possession count, the Dragons remained in the contest at half-time but were blown off the park after that with the Roosters running in five tries to nil in the second stanza. 

The Red V were forced to make 63 more tackles than their opponents and finished the match with 47 per cent of possession. 

McGregor conceded his team had a chance early in the second half to get back into the contest, but centre Taane Milne couldn't gather a grubber that would have seen him score.

Instead, the Roosters marched downfield and piled on four tries in the space of 11 minutes to record their equal-biggest win over the joint-venture club. 

"I thought our effort in that first half and early in that second half was outstanding," he said. 

"The amount of possession the Roosters had was 17 sets to nine, 60-40 possession and 5-1 penalty count. To come in half-time 14-6 down I thought was a fair scoreline considering the amount of possession one team had. 

"We started the second half well… the kick in behind where we didn't manage to get the ball down and then they went down the other end and scored and went back-to-back really zapped our energy. 

"If you watch most teams, the teams that build pressure early in their game really come home better, and today the Roosters did a really good job on us there. Most of our sets we were starting 10 metres from our try line."

Sunday's performance was a far cry from the attacking onslaught the Dragons produced against the Sharks a week ago, and McGregor said it all came back to the taxing first half. 

"I don't think it's anything more than field position early, so when you do get the ball you're not as fresh as we were last week," he said. 

'We were coming out of a gun off the back fence because we had possession and more intent because of that."

Dragons skipper Gareth Widdop shared his coach's view.  

"There were a number of things in that game that hurt us," he said. "That first half we did a lot of defending and we struggled at the backend of the game."