Saturday, June 18, 2011


ST GEORGE Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett is adamant his side can overcome a crippling State of Origin injury toll that threatens to derail the club's bid for successive NRL minor premierships.
The Dragons lost 21-14 to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, when the home side benefited from the brilliance of evergreen Darren Lockyer and the raw-boned enthusiasm of young centre Jack Reed.
Cracks are beginning to appear in the Dragons. The loss to the Broncos follows a loss to the Titans at home and a draw against Parramatta.
Dragons skipper Ben Hornby is the latest to join the casualty ward after suffering a knock early in his return game from an ankle injury. He sat with his foot in a bucket of ice for the entire second half.
Bennett is hopeful of getting the playmaker back for next week's blockbuster against Manly but concedes time - and luck - might not be on his side.
"There's nothing major with it but there's a fair bit of pain involved. Maybe a week, two weeks," Bennett said. "He's a pretty important bloke, but we lost him. We'll just have to get on with it."
Origin forwards Beau Scott (medial ligament, perforated eardrum) and Ben Creagh (ankle) are still at least two weeks away from returning.
Flying winger Brett Morris is still struggling to overcome a hamstring injury that has kept him out for three weeks, and the ongoing knee problems of veteran Dean Young are causing the club concern.
"It's a bit of everything. It's just running against us right now," Bennett said. "It'll turn, it'll turn."
Utility Nathan Fien, who deputised for Hornby as both halfback and captain, said there were no excuses.
"We've got great depth at the club," Fien said. "We're not the only ones with players backing up and we don't really have any excuses."

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