JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Doust backs Dragons to compete despite lack of recruits

Date

Sam Hall

Pressure on ... Steve Price needs a good start.

Pressure on ... Steve Price needs a good start.

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA chief Peter Doust has addressed concerns over a lack of recruitment for next season and confirmed the club's head-coaching role would be ''back on the agenda'' next year.

In a wide-ranging interview, Doust urged fans not to underestimate the playing squad, and said coach Steve Price would be given every opportunity to show his worth in the NRL.

The Dragons have added five faces to their roster, which includes Kiwi internationals Gerard Beale and Bronson Harrison, young Manly half Josh Drinkwater, Tyson Frizell and Michael Henderson.

After missing the play-offs for the first time since 2007, it remains to be seen whether the side can better its ninth-place finish from last season. However, Doust is confident that a top-eight berth is not out of reach.

''I'm positive about our roster and I don't think people should underrate what we've achieved from a recruitment point of view when we've re-signed a lot of our existing stars,'' Doust said. ''I think our roster comes together quite well. Surely it's about scoring points and I think we've added our capacity to [improve] on our efforts of last year.

''My argument is that when you've signed people like Trent Merrin, Dan Hunt, Jason Nightingale, Brett Morris, Cameron King and Mitch Rein - those sort of guys - my view is that if you put any of them on the market, they'd be viewed as marquee players.

''I think people underestimate the value of that to our club and our brand, those signings.''

As a result of the NRL's new lucrative TV rights deal and the unforseen departures of several big-name players, Doust said the Dragons would ''certainly be in a good place'' to spend big under revised salary cap arrangements in 2014. Mark Gasnier, Darius Boyd, Ben Hornby, Dean Young and Beau Scott are among those to have left the club with time still remaining on their contracts. However, Doust rejected talk the club was sacrificing next year's result to lure big names such as Cowboys playmaker Johnathan Thurston or Storm coach Craig Bellamy the following year.

''People have been critical of what we haven't done at the marquee end,'' Doust said. ''It's a very dynamic process, the management of this cap, especially when we know that it's likely to change under the considerations of the commission.

''It's very regulated and so you need to be on your game to make sure you can get the most out of it … We do know that we've got opportunities in 2013 of a scale we probably haven't had for a while. There's opportunity for 2013, because we have to do a lot in the formative months of the year.''

Included in that is deciding on a coach for 2014 and beyond. Price is off contract at the end of next season and will be under pressure from the opening rounds to get results. He endured a tough start in his opening year as coach, having previously served as an understudy to Wayne Bennett.

According to Doust, speculation over Price's status once his two-year contract elapses, was unnecessary.

''We'll give Steven an opportunity to get into what he's got, which is the pre-season and the players that go with that,'' Doust said. ''We've got a few new faces and we're looking to see what that produces. It's a very results-driven business from a coaching perspective and we all know that. I think that it is clear that in 2013, coaching is on the agenda, but I'm not putting timelines on it.''

Four Nations 2014

Round 1
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
ENG 32 vs SAM 26 Stats
AUS 12 vs NEWZ 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ vs SAM 14:00Toll Stadium
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
AUS vs ENG 16:00AAMI Park, Melbourne
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ vs ENG 17:30Forsyth Barr Stadium
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
AUS vs SAM 16:00WIN
View All Fixtures
Four Nations 2014
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 1 1 0 0 18 2
England 1 1 0 0 6 2
Samoa 1 0 1 0 -6 0
Australia 1 0 1 0 -18 0
View all
 
Win an iPad mini by entering our Sport survey
Featured advertisers