Dragons have fire in bellies
"I feel like I'm a lot more mature than what I was last year" ... Steve Price. Photo: Greg Totman
Steve Price says he is anything but a man with the weight of the rugby league world on his shoulders, professing a more mature outlook heading into his second year in charge of the Dragons.
Having watched helplessly as St George Illawarra launched a fruitless pursuit of Craig Bellamy over the summer, the 35-year-old Price now has a chance to stake his claims for a contract extension.
Speaking on the eve of the Charity Shield showdown with Souths at ANZ Stadium on Friday night, Price said he was ''excited'' about what lay in store this year rather than feeling under pressure.
''I feel like I'm a lot more mature than what I was last year and really looking forward to playing [Souths] and getting down to Melbourne in round one,'' he said.
Pressed on what lessons he had heeded following the Dragons' failure to make the finals last season, Price said: ''I definitely feel like I've matured a lot more as a person and as a coach. It's definitely transferring out on the field.''
Bookmakers have installed only Gold Coast and Penrith behind the Dragons in premiership betting. ''Certainly a lot of people have written us off, and that's cool with me and that's cool with our playing group,'' Price said.