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Dragons rookie Cody Ramsey.

In 12 of 20 rounds last season, St George Illawarra either led or were tied when the half-time whistle blew.

But they won just five of those matches, effectively costing themselves a finals berth as they fell six points short of the top eight.

Whether it was their mindset, not being able to execute under fatigue, the pressure of close games or any number of other reasons, the Dragons generally struggled in the second stanza of matches.

It could be argued that constant changes in key positions - star playmaker Ben Hunt spent more time at hooker than halfback, bumping Cam McInnes to lock and leaving rookie Adam Clune and Corey Norman in the halves - impacted their game-management.

Whatever the cause, St George Illawarra will have rued letting so many chances slip. They won five of nine games after leading at half-time and lost all three games when they headed into the sheds level.

The heat was on the Dragons from the get-go, but they weren't far away from a flying start having surrendered a 12-8 half-time lead against Wests Tigers in round one (lost 24-14) before doing the same versus Penrith the following week (led 16-12, lost 32-28).

The Red V also blew half-time advantages against the Titans in round 16 (led 2-0, lost 14-10) and Cowboys in round 17 (led 12-6, lost 23-22).

Under Paul McGregor's coaching, St George Illawarra kept pace with heavyweights Sydney Roosters (10-10 at half-time in rounds 7 and 13) and South Sydney Rabbitohs (16-16 in round 12) but failed to kick on.