Halfback role still up for grabs: McGregor

Dragons coach Paul McGregor says he'll use the next 10 days to decide who should partner skipper Gareth Widdop in the halves for the club's season opener against Penrith. 

Veteran Josh McCrone played the first half of St George Illawarra's 32-14 Charity Shield loss to South Sydney before he was replaced at half-time by boom rookie Jai Field. 

Neither player grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, and McGregor now has less than two weeks to work out whether to go with the tried and tested McCrone or take a punt on excitement machine Field. 

"I've got two weeks to do that – or a week anyway. I'll have a good look at video and talk to some leaders and look at what different players bring to the team and what the team needs for Round 1," McGregor said. 

"They're two totally different players, aren't they? Josh is a real tradesman, a seasoned player with good experience, and then you've got Jai who's an emerging, exciting young talent when he gets the ball in his hands. He's quite special. 

"We've got to look over these next week or 10 days which one – or both – will be in the 17."

 


The Dragons struggled for continuity in attack on Sunday afternoon with neither player doing enough to cement their spot alongside Widdop in the halves.

"I think it's always good when you've got people fighting for competition. It's healthy competition and they both had a crack tonight," Widdop said. 

"As Mary said, he's got another week or two weeks to decide what's best for the team. Whichever way he goes, I'm sure they'll do a great job."

The English five-eighth wasn't overly worried with his side's performance, telling media missed opportunities simply came down to a lack of execution rather than game management.   

But after finishing with the second worst attacking record in the league in 2016, Dragons fans will want to see a marked improvement when their season gets underway on March 4. 

"I thought there were some good things [in attack]. We certainly created some opportunities. We just need to be better at finishing them," Widdop said. 

"That's why we have these games; we can go back and review and see where we need to be better.

"Obviously a few passes didn't stick and there was a bit of dropped ball, but if we keep sticking with what we've done all pre-season, things will come on the back of that."