SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 04: Dragons fans show their support during the round 20 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Parramatta Eels at WIN Jubilee Stadium on August 04, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Rugby League can be an emotional game, on and off the field.

On the field we have the fittest, the strongest and the most competitive, facing off against each other in the world’s most physical sport.

Off the field we have fans, some of whom pay huge amounts of money, all of which dedicate their time and passion, to supporting their teams.

As a Sharks fan, whenever the result does not go our way, the only positive is the inevitable social media meltdown that will take place over the next 48 hours.

I’m sure it’s like that for every team but some of the comments leave you scratching your head and wondering if the same game was even watched by certain members of the support base.

Just as inevitable as the meltdown itself is the fact that fans of differing opinions will label anyone who disagrees with them as a “bad fan”.

Every year a team under performs, under achieves and as a result leaves their expectant fanbase frustrated.

This year it is those fans wearing the famous Red V who have taken to social media and the like to vent their very reasonable frustration.

A side containing a host of Origin and international stars, combined with a coach who has been there for a long period of time, had all signs pointing at a top eight finish.

Having pushed the Bunnies all the way in the second week of the 2018 finals series, the expectation was a similar, or better result in 2019.

It was not meant to be as an often awful Dragons side has struggled and sputtered to a 15th placed finish.

Only the painfully average Gold Coast Titans, on the back of a horror injury toll and off-field turmoil, finished below a side containing the likes of Hunt, Norman, Widdop, Frizell and Vaughan.

To say that the Dragons fans have every right to be questioning their club is a huge understatement.

That side shouldn’t have missed finals footy, let alone be three points adrift of 14th position and a ridiculous 8 to 10 points outside of finals contention (depending on this weekend’s result).

Their game against the Titans this weekend feels more like a punishment than a contest. Yuk!

So to sum up, the fans have every right to be annoyed. Every right to call for change. Every right to throw up their hands in disgust at what has been an awful and unforgivable season.

A group of fans recently made headlines after their attempts to bring in negative signs was denied by staff and security at Jubilee Oval.

There have been conflicting stories as to why the banners and signs were denied, that’s an argument for another day.

The questions I pose are, should they have been able to bring the signs in at all? Are those fans who took aim at the detractors right or wrong in doing so?

I’ll admit, if I were a Dragons fan in this current situation I’d be asking questions. Why is Paul McGregor still at the helm of a side he’s had control of for years now, with a 15th place finish now a formality?

I’d not have been with those bringing banners into the stadium, but I don’t know that I would have acted negatively to them either?

Some fans have taken to social media to take aim at those speaking negatively of the club, saying that a “real fan” would support the team regardless of results and coaching appointments.

The obvious counter to that is that if everyone just accepted failure, it would become the norm and you’d never find a way to improve.

Right now the Dragons are a mess.

I’d challenge even the biggest and most positive member of the Red V army to argue with that statement … they’re a mess.

15th, with their best attacking player headed to England, and conflicting reports re the future of their coach.

I’d be frustrated. The Eels finished last in 2018 but signed one of the game’s best wingers. Who have the Dragons signed? Literally no one.

This despite knowing that Gareth Widdop was on his way home before the season even started.

It looks like they’ll lose supposed future star Matt Dufty too. Probably Euan Aitken as well. Most of the off contract, big name stars have either re-signed or signed elsewhere.

Unless Valentine Holmes indicates an eagerness to return home, without returning home, and the Dragons can snag something massive, well there’s no obvious easy fix.

Again, I’d be frustrated. Probably call for the coach’s job too, especially considering the lack of success enjoyed during his reign.

Would I be called a bad fan online by fans willing to sit on their hands while their side gets whacked by 28 points by the Tigers?

Why should Dragons fans be forced to sit there, smile on their face, waving a flag that reads “Yay for 15th”? Suppose it could be worse … but literally only just!

So again, the bad fan debate reignites.

Were the fans right to bring the anti-McGregor signs in?

I certainly wouldn’t be waving those flags but I don’t know that I’d be racing to label them “bad fans” either.

Let us know below. Is your role as a fan to sit and accept even when rubbish is dished up, or is showing a little negativity a good thing?

14 COMMENTS

  1. Hold on.. This can’t be true?
    According to some Saints fans, they never complain about their coach or players?
    I understand St.George fans. Social Media is the place to voice frustrations about your team or players.

  2. There is no such thing as a bad fan!

    By definition, a fan is fanatical about his/her club. A fan is someone who pays their membership, goes to games, wear’s the team colours and cheers for their stars. A fan shows loyalty to a club, adore’s its players and wants only what is best for the club. They spend money on membership, going to games, buying over priced often poor quality food and merchandice. A fan gives and gives again to his/her club and for all that, they have a right to expect performance. Performance as a club and performance on the field. If they are not getting that performance then they have every right to complain.

    If a fan complains about the club, its management, its coach or any of its players, that is not borne out of malice or wanting to do the club harm but it because he/she is dissatisfied with that performance and seeks change for the good of the club. Maybe banners are not the way to go but often fans have very little say in how a club is run and so they resort to the only means left available. Protest is healthy, Protest seeks to improve things and one thing you can be sure of is that protest from a fan only seeks to improve.

  3. St George fans are right to be negative. In the case of that team, they have underperformed. It’s hard to believe how badly they have gone – I kept expecting them to find form this year, but it just has not happened.

    You can’t say that type of thing about many teams, most teams are about where they should be. Knights, perhaps – but I feel like they were punching above their weight to begin with.

  4. Coach kept making excuses that he didn’t have the team he needed, then he got the team he needed and he still failed with terrible second half-of-season capitulations. He’s run out of excuses. A lot of talk players are unhappy with coach’s boring play book, Hunt is frustrated and it shows. Rather than get rid of players like Aitken it behooves dragons to sack the coach after 6 years of misery. Guys like Aitken and Lafai would be killing it at the Storm. Coach has no idea about defense or attack. As rev13 pointed out just watch their sets, 4 one out hit ups, one spread of the ball then a poor kick straight to the fullback, rinse repeat over and over. coach should have been punted after the terrible 2016 season, easily the worst performance by a St George team since it’s inception and this year is possibly even worse. No other club would tolerate such results for so long.

    The real worry is coach gets sacked and they bring back the other former player Brown for a second go at proving he can’t coach too and we’ll be seeing the same results for another 3-4 years. I’d be looking at coaches like Toovey, Henry, even Jim Dymock and Jason Demetriou who should have taken over when he coached the cutters to the GF win and then beat the Walker brothers gun team. What about the Walker brothers?

  5. How’s this for incompetence, Zero Credibility blocked my post 30 times and it was I because I used the word “blew”. What sort of pathetic censorship is that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Well, whats worse now days. a bloke bringing a flag or banner to a sparsely attended game where a few thousand ‘might’ see it.
    or
    A massive social media campaign across several platforms, and eventually news and media outlets?

  7. I have been a Dragons fan since 1970, and I can’t remember a season that compares with 2019. They had a few lean seasons in the late 1980’s but the problems were more to do with their playing roster. I was disappointed for a while but I could see the players were trying their guts out. They could hold a team for a while and eventually the lack of class & finesse would be their undoing. Brian Smith was appointed as coach eventually, and a few shrewd player purchases got them back on track. Guys like Mark Coyne, Noel Goldthorpe and Gorden Tallis were amongst a very good crop of young players and Brian Smith was a very popular coach at the time.

    I can handle seeing the Dragons lose games, especially if they have had a real dig. What I can’t handle is players who aren’t committed to their team and the club. The coach has to be accountable as well, and as I have mentioned in previous posts Mary hasn’t been able to get the team to play to it’s full potential. As much as I like Mary as a person, I believe he has exhausted his options as the coach. The team is predictable and fundamentally inept, and the only way to change this situation is to let him go and thank him for his untiring commitment & devotion to his team and the club. There are players who have to be shown the door also. The Dragons have to be very strong about this. If players only want to go there for easy money the should go as well.
    .
    There are some good players available and I believe Aidan Sezer would be a great buy. He is steady, reliable, a good goal kicker and can play half or 5/8. He has had a very good season with the Raiders as well, so I wouldn’t be wasting anytime if I was involved in the club’s recruitment.

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