Griffin refuses to blame BBQ breach for loss

Dragons coach Anthony Griffin has refused to blame St George Illawarra’s recent drama in Shellharbour for the club’s latest loss, revealing he was confident his undermanned side was good enough to win against Manly despite going down 32-18.

Despite having six players out due to NRL punishments stemming from the infamous house party, St George Illawarra was solid in the first half and even led by two points at the main break, before a horror opening 10 minutes in the second 40 minutes saw Manly cross over for back-to-back tries to take control.

Following the Shellharbour house party hosted by former Dragon Paul Vaughan, who has since been sacked by the club, Griffin opted for Matt Dufty, Tyrell Fuimaono and Kaide Ellis to use their one-game suspensions on tonight’s match against Manly.

With Vaughan no longer a part of the team, and Zac Lomax and Daniel Alvaro also out after their refusal to sign a sworn statement about the party, the Dragons were well and truly undermanned.

Griffin said he hoped the players missing today would feel the pain of today’s loss, but said on-field mistakes hurt the Dragons more than the absent players against Manly.

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“[The suspended players] will be disappointed like all of us,” Griffin told reporters after the match.

“We put ourselves in a position to win that game and the first 10 minutes of the second half was disastrous for us defensively

“I thought we were on top at half-time, then all of a sudden you’re down … we were patchy.

“We looked like a team coming off the by round, that hadn’t played a lot of footy in the last month.”

Seven players – Corey Norman, Jack Bird, Josh McGuire, Blake Lawrie, Jack de Belin, Josh Kerr and Gerard Beale – were all part of the squad today despite having one-game suspensions that must be served over the next three weeks.

Griffin said since the club was forced to move to Queensland amid the NRL’s temporary relocation, the playing group has moved past the Shellharbour drama.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of tackling it anymore,” Griffin said.

“They’ve paid a price. As a club, we’ve come together.

“Since we got up here on Wednesday, we had a really good week here at training.

“That first 40 minutes, even though it didn’t go our way at times, we found a way to get in front in the game and play some reasonable footy at times.

“The thing that happened at Shellharbour is over and it’s been dealt with.”

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