Dragons’ Nightingale laughs with critics

The points may have dried up but Jason Nightingale’s sense of humour didn’t.

The St George Illawarra winger was only too happy to laugh with the rest of the NRL community over the Dragons’ recent scoreless fortnight in Queensland.

Even if the competition during the road trip were title favourites North Queensland and Brisbane, the naysayers found plenty of ways to poke fun at a points drought that lasted 160-plus minutes.

One punter on Twitter suggested that like any bloke in the midst of a major drought, the Dragons needed to get themselves to the Gold Coast in order to score.

“Some of (the jokes) were pretty funny. You’ve got to laugh at them,” Nightingale said on Friday.

“You’ve got to appreciate the competition we played. We played the two best teams in the comp.

“A lot of them were good. As long as they’re good natured, it’s all a bit of banter and I had a little chuckle at a few of them.”

The drought finally broke – lo and behold – against the Titans last week, at least making it easier for coach Paul McGregor to give his team a three-day break at the end of what was a brutal Sunshine State swing.

The Dragons spent three weeks on the road, including two entire weeks in Townsville and Brisbane.

Nightingale said the win instilled the squad with some sorely-needed belief again.

“Good that the monkey’s off the back and we can move forward. I’m sure there’s plenty of points left in us,” he said.

McGregor has ruled out any late push for star halfback Benji Marshall to play in Monday’s Anzac Day fixture against the Sydney Roosters, with Josh McCrone now taking his place.

Marshall has now been shelved long-term to focus on recovering from his hamstring injury.

“As a club we tried to push Benji out on the field a couple of times and unfortunately he just wasn’t right. We’re now going to give him all the time that’s needed,” McGregor said.

The win over the Titans was a welcome relief for the Dragons, however McGregor said the team still needed to make major strides on their discipline.

“We were the most disciplined side last year and that dropped off during our losses and we’ve got to get that back, which we did last week,” he said.

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