NRL ladders leaders St George Illawarra are being given short shrift by punters and bookies and the Dragons say that’s understandable.
Heading into the regular season halfway point this weekend, the Dragons remain outsiders to convert their strong form into a premiership despite sitting on top.
While the Sydney Roosters ($4) and North Queensland ($5) remain the bookies’ choices, the Dragons ($11) are only sixth favourites, behind also South Sydney ($8) and Melbourne ($8).
However rather than claim they are not being given due respect, Dragons captain Ben Creagh says those odds are a reminder they haven’t achieved anything yet.
“The last three years have been pretty tough on the club and we haven’t had much success and in a lot of people’s eyes,” said Creagh, who has just agreed a new one-year deal for 2016.
“I think that’s the reason we’re not meant to achieve much this year. And we still haven’t.
“We haven’t achieved anything. You don’t win premierships, you don’t get rings or any accolades for being top of the table at round 13.
“You’ve got to be there at the end and that’s what we plan to do.”
Coach Paul McGregor said he was unworried about the chances given to his side after their flying start to the season.
He said a lot of hard work had gone in the off-season in but he admitted it had raised his eyebrows how rapidly his squad had improved.
McGregor last week celebrated his one-year anniversary as Dragons head coach and said pre-season changes in the football department were a key reason for their recent results.
McGregor made seven changes to his medical and high performance unit after last season.
“Pre-season was a massive opportunity for change and that’s where it’s started,” McGregor said.
“It just hasn’t come along in the last six weeks. It’s been a work in progress for seven or eight months.
“It had a lot to do with my staff and I’ve got some very good staff this year in Dean Young and Benny Hornby and Ian Millward … You’ve got to be fit to defend like we are and we’re fit.
“It’s not any one thing, I think it’s a combination of a lot and the most important was that period we had to work on for five months before we had to go out there and do battle.”