Dragons coach upbeat despite big loss

Despite a heavy defeat that could cost them their NRL top-eight spot, St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor is staying positive.

The Dragons were flogged 32-6 by Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

The heavy defeat came despite the visitors having 47 tackles inside their opposition’s 20 to Brisbane’s 15.

McGregor said the Broncos deserved praise for their goalline defence, which blunted the Dragons on several occasions.

The loss reduced the Dragons’ percentage to 20, with ninth-placed Manly and eighth-placed Canberra possibly able to leapfrog McGregor’s men, depending on their results this weekend.

McGregor wasn’t overly concerned about that, saying his team is dealing with a tough stretch of games that will wrap up with a Thursday night clash against Penrith next week.

“There’re a lot of good things to come out,” he said.

“We’re down a few troops at the moment. We’ve had a six-day turnaround. We’ve played in Auckland, now we’re playing in Brisbane, we’ve got another game on Thursday night.

“It’s about taking the positives and working on a few things that weren’t good for us tonight.

“We got kick-chase going well and our field position, we just couldn’t get across the stripe.”

Star halfback Benji Marshall is expected to be fit for the Panthers’ clash after missing the Broncos game with a hamstring strain.

Marshall’s return should at least bring an end to the ill-fated decision to play towering forward Jack Di Belin at halfback after he was given the nod to start alongside five-eighth Gareth Widdop against the Broncos.

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