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St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has told his playmakers to lift their game in attack after a stock-standard performance in their round-one clash loss to the Cowboys.

North Queensland held the Dragons to just two tries in their season-opening 24-12 match-up in Townsville, where Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo tore them to shreds and the visitors offered up little in return at the attacking end.

McGregor said with the addition of Corey Norman in the halves he expects more opportunities to be created between him, Ben Hunt and Gareth Widdop.

"The type of talent we've got in the spine we need to be more excited at different stages,” McGregor said.

"I thought Corey's game was steady in the first round but I said to him that we need more excitement out of him when we've got the ball.

"He probably played a little bit conservative at times but fatigue can do that to a team as well - defensively though I thought Corey was very good and very solid.”

The Dragons will look to redeem themselves when they host South Sydney at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Thursday night.

McGregor said one of the side's main focuses will be to shut down the kicking game of halfback Adam Reynolds, who annihilated the Roosters in their 26-16 victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground.  

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"A big part of anyone's game when they play against South Sydney is containing Reynolds's kicking game," McGregor said.

"It comes off the back of their go-forward and their dominance around playing the ball quick.

"We need to do a good job in the front-line, so Gareth can do a good job in the back-line.

"He [Widdop] is a couple of hundred game players so he knows Reynolds's kicking game, but the biggest thing for us is that it's not just one person’s job it's everyone's job.

"They have a couple of options there with [Damien] Cook and [Cody] Walker - whether they throw that at us early and mix it up a little bit, our wingers will need to manage that as well.”

The Dragons continue to lose players with Tyson Frizell being ruled out after he suffered a lacerated testicle, which required surgery.

Although Frizell will be a huge loss, McGregor said it gave the likes of Josh Kerr his well-deserved shot at first grade.

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"He's a big body and he's our quickest forward over 20 metres," McGregor said.

"The most impressive thing about Josh was his pre-season. He made a good change to his lifestyle – a good change to how he goes about his training and diet.

"He is also very confident in what he can do now, where that wasn't there in the past."

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