Dogs drubbing changed Dragons' season: Frizell
St George Illawarra enforcer Tyson Frizell believes the embarrassment and abuse they copped from their 38-0 drubbing at the hands of Canterbury may be the trigger that reignites their premiership dreams.
Frizell described the loss at Kogarah three weeks ago as one of the lowest points in his career, conceding the anger and vitriol from the fans after the siren would act as motivation as they head into a do-or-die showdown against South Sydney on Saturday night.
"That was a real downer. To allow people to question our integrity asking did we really want to go out there and play," Frizell said.
"We had so much to play for. We had a top-four position on the line, and to not put in a performance that respected Lance Thompson and also give Jason Nightingale a send-off he deserved was the most disappointing part.
"I didn't really notice the abuse too much during the game, but after the game I saw it. If we would have lost you can cop that on the chin, but not playing to our potential to be any sort of shot in that game was the most disappointing part. It could be the turning point. I hope it is our turning point. It's do-or-die now, so it has to be our turning point."
The Dragons have had some memorable wins at Kogarah in recent years. It's a venue that has largely been kind to them.
But on that afternoon against the Bulldogs in round 24, the fans turned on them.
"There's a cage that you walk under when you walk into the sheds," Frizell said.
"Usually it's rattled because they are cheering you on. But it was getting smashed for all the wrong reasons. The abuse was crazy. As much as you want to block it out, you can't. it's everywhere. In the media, in the papers and on social media. We were embarrassed. It was really hard to cop that day. We were very disappointed in ourselves. It took a couple of days to get over.
"You wear a lot of it. People on the outside are quick to criticise when you're not doing too well but are quick to give you a pat on the back when you're winning. That's where your mental state comes into it, not trying to ride the emotion of it each week too hard. You have to enjoy the wins and cop the losses but you have to move on really quickly. There's a game each week and if you hold on to it too much that's when your mental state can really rattle you."
Very little was said amongst the players in the sheds after the game. There was no spray. There was no one pointing the finger.
Each of those 17 players knew within themselves that they didn't do right by the club or their fans and have vowed never to feel that way again.
"It was silence," Frizell said.
"Sometimes talking too much can mask what really needs to be done. More action needs to take place. You can talk about what we did wrong or what we can do, but sometimes just holding on to it and realising that feeling and keeping it inside knowing you never want to feel like that again. That's the best thing for your preparation to make sure it never happens again."