Captain Ben Creagh has implored his St George Illawarra team to quickly rediscover their defensive mettle or risk crashing out of the NRL finals race.
The NRL’s premier defence unit for much of the season, the Dragons have leaked points badly in their last two losses and have slipped out of the top eight as a result.
The Red V conceded a season-high 28 points in the defeat to Cronulla two weeks ago and 24 points to South Sydney last weekend as their losing streak extended to six games.
The early season surprise packets based their impressive start to the year, which included six straight wins, on their miserly defence.
Creagh said the Dragons need to focus on their defence again ahead of Saturday’s virtual must-win round 20 match with Melbourne in Napier.
“We really pride ourselves on our defence,” said Creagh.
“We have done so much work on it going back to October last year in the pre-season, and we don’t want to throw all that away.
“It has been a tough few weeks for us, with the losses we have had and the injuries too, the Origin period came at a bad time for us, but that is no excuse.”
Creagh said his side had revisited video of their better performances this year in a big to re-find their winning form.
“We have highlighted some of our better performances especially the work in defence we have done,” Creagh said.
“It’s important to forget about the disappointment of the week before, it is going to be in the back of your mind a bit I suppose but you have to let it go and be as positive as you can in the run in to the finals.
“We were playing some really good footy, that’s the best thing about it. We are not searching for the combinations or formula how to playing winning football we know how to do it – we just have to get back to it.”