WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Zac Lomax of the Dragons watches on during the NRL trail match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Newcastle Knights at WIN Stadium on February 23, 2019 in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Following a rough start to the season both on and off the field and the forced re-shuffle of their much-maligned spine, the Dragons have begun to look like the premiership contenders they were tipped to be after winning four on the trot. However, if they are to remain in the top half of the competition there is another issue they must address, their leaky right edge defence.

While Euan Aitken and Mikaele Ravalawa have proved to be quite the handful in attack, with seven-try involvements between them in the opening six rounds, their defensive frailties far outweigh their attacking prowess.

The numbers do not paint a pretty picture for the Dragons’ right edge combination, with Aitken and Ravalawa ranking third and last respectively amongst all Dragons for tackle efficiency, as well as Ravalawa ranking first for try causes with seven, and Aitken ranking third in the same metric contributing three.

The Dragons have conceded a reasonable but not outstanding 20 tries over the opening six rounds of the competition, ranking seventh in the competition. However, unfortunately for the Red V, 11 of those tries have come through their right edge, with the middle conceding six and the left edge a slender three, clearly displaying a weakness to opposition teams.

Luckily for the Dragons’ faithful, coach Paul McGregor is thinking the same thing. Opting to start the man anointed by Brad Fittler as “the gifted one”, Zac Lomax, on the right wing for their ANZAC Day clash with arch-rivals the Roosters. While the Dragons did concede one try down their right on Thursday, a dropped bomb leading to a Latrell Mitchell try, Lomax and Aitken looked like a much more defensively solid combination. The pair communicated well and defended in unison, rather than one shooting up and one staying back like Ravalawa and Aitken did regularly across the first six rounds.

Another advantage to Lomax starting is he would provide St George Illawarra with a genuine goal-kicking option, following the injury to skipper and goal kicker Gareth Widdop as well as the less than impressive performances of centre Tim Lafai off the kicking tee. Culminating in a less than impressive 2/5 shots against Manly in round six, in which two of these missed kicks Lafai could have thrown over with his eyes shut. Lomax displayed over the back end of 2018 that he is more than capable off the tee, nailing 85% of his attempts.

While the Dragons are slowly gathering momentum on the field following a chequered off-season, if they are to be the premiership contender many pundits have tipped them to be, coach McGregor is going to have to find a solution to his leaky right edge. Here’s hoping for Dragons fans that solution has come in the form of the 19-year-old Lomax.

13 COMMENTS

  1. It’s not hard really. Ravalawa needs to go back to CC and learn how to play league properly. He has a rugby background and at times this season he’s been quite good but mostly pretty poor.

    His hands aren’t great, catching a bomb is a lottery, defensively gets found out, is slow to turn and chase a kick and to be honest is not very quick when in open space.

    Grow some balls Mary and drop him now b4 he gets grilled over and over and he looses all confidence.

    Although Lomax isnt a winger I think with a few games there he will be fine and if need be can play centres ( his natural position ) or fullback with nil issues. Can goal kick too this boy and defensively is quite strong. Over to you Mary…..

  2. Alas, we need a specialist big boppa winger, Lomax is built like a whippet. Ravlawa whilst improving is still not first grade material. If he was blindingly fast like Martin (Chariots) O’Ffiah used to be, and scored 2-3 tries a game you’d forgive his handling and defense. Lomax needs to be in the team but at centre.

  3. Lomax can’t go there looks just as poor under the high ball as Ravalawa and would shatter his confidence going forward in his career. Lomax needs to fit in that team at centre and move on either Lafai or Aitken to free up some cash for a decent winger because that’s the position the dragons are desperately lacking.

    If I was the Dragons a possibility would be Sione Mata’utia, convert the guy back into a winger (which was always his best position) and will give you the early go forward and finishing the Dragons need. He would probably come cheap aswell because of that massive fail from the knights to convert him to a second row.

  4. Dragons need to borrow some of the rorters unlimited cap and throw $3 million to get Semi Radradra back from RU.

  5. Lomax needs to play in the centres and not on the wing. One player that does need catching practice is Dufty, although great at running he needs to improve on his catching, to me he goes mia instead of concentrating for the full 80 minutes.

    What’s the latest with De Belin? Guilty with cheating but that’s about it in my opinion.

    Would like to give Blake Lawrie a wrap also, great work rate and tough.
    Cheers

  6. You blokes had a big bopper winger and you let him walk North To Cowboy land .🍌🍌🤠🤠👉——–😂🤣😆😮😂🤣😂🤣😂

  7. If we had unlimited salary cap then Nene Macdonald would still be at the Roosters. When we signed the young giant he played for the Roosters’ NYC team in 2012 and 2013. In 2013 and 2014, he played for the Queensland Under-20s team. In 2013, he played for Papua New Guinea against the Prime Minister’s XIII team, scoring a try.

    In 2013, Macdonald was selected in the Papua New Guinea squad for the 2013 World Cup. He played in 3 matches and scored a try in Papua New Guinea’s 9-8 loss to France.

    On 11 February 2014, Macdonald was selected in the Roosters’ inaugural 2014 NRL Auckland Nines squad. In Round 11 of the 2014 NRL season, he made his NRL debut for the Roosters against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on the wing and scored a try in the Roosters’ 32-12 win at ANZ Stadium. He finished his debut year in the NRL having played 7 games and scoring 3 tries for the Roosters. On 2 September 2014, he was named on the wing in the 2014 NYC Team of the Year

    Halfway through 2015 the Roosters could not match an offer fron the Gold Coast and let him go. He played his first 11 NRL games at the Roosters.

    If we had an unlimited salary cap then don’t you think we would still have him. DaffyDuck I would suggest you have a bad case of souffffff Sydneyitus which appears to be spreading through the fans at St Illawarra with stupid statements like that. 💪🐔👍 Just a small reminder of the Roosters young player development programme this professional club has.🎱✔🎱✔🎱✔

  8. Idiot, we let him go because he’s from NQ and all his family were up there. It was for compassionate reasons, we wanted to keep him.

  9. De Belin court case isn’t until next year, so if he loses to the NRL this week he’s effectively finished in league. If he’s found guilty next year he’ll more than likely go to jail for several years at least as the charge is aggravated sexual assault.

  10. Funny you how you instinctively knew who the rorter are. Must be fire where’s there’s smoke. I could have meant the Broncos or the Storm.

  11. Think with Widdop going down injured and so many talented youngsters they should really start trying to use them
    1. Dufty
    2. Perierra
    3. Aiken
    4. Lomax
    5. Feild/Sailor/Ravalawa

    Would look to get rid of Tim Lafai. He’s a poor goal kicker and he’s just not worth what your paying him. Lomax is a better goal kicker and really young and deserving of a shot now. The Dragons could also really do with 1 or 2 young forwards to play off the bench because 1 they have been lacking abit of impactand 2 to eventually replace Graham and co who are getting older. Obviously getting rid of Lafais big contract would make this achievable. Someone like Luke Bateman and Tepai Moeroa would be good and young but still older enough and experienced to have an immediate impact.

  12. “Funny you how you instinctively knew who the rorter are.”

    Its not like you’re the first person call the roosters “rorters”. That’s what all the jealous Souths fans on here say.

    Worry about your own loser team.

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