Dragons turning defence into attack
St George Illawarra are banking on their impressive defensive resurgence helping to kick-start their sluggish attack.
Since halftime against the Raiders in round three, the Dragons have conceded just one try in 200 minutes of football, recording three successive wins after two disappointing losses to start the NRL season.
Their defensive efforts in wins over Canberra, Manly and Newcastle have made the rest of the competition sit up and take notice.
But their attack remains a worry.
After opening 2015 with losses to Melbourne and Wests Tigers and scoring just two tries, they recorded the worst attacking start to an NRL season since Canterbury could manage just a solitary penalty goal in their first two games of 2000.
Things have improved since then, but not by much.
The joint venture sat on eighth leading into round six, but have scored by far the least points in the competition.
Their attacking spearheads Gareth Widdop, Benji Marshall and Josh Dugan have shown sparks of attacking initiative but are yet to ignite.
Dugan says the trio are almost there.
"We are only a pass or two off scoring a few more tries each week and that is slowly getting better," he said.
"We are creating those opportunities and we are not far off.
"This is the first pre-season I have done with both of them, so it was good to get that and get into the footy.
"The first two games were iffy we have found a different attitude in defence now we just have to keep working more on our attack."
The Dragons face a Canterbury hit by injury and suspension at ANZ Stadium on Sunday in the wake of the controversial Good Friday loss to South Sydney.
Captain James Graham, and fellow forwards David Klemmer and Sam Kasiano are all missing through suspension.
Brett Morris (hamstring) and Tim Lafai (leg) are out due to injury.
- The Dragons have a poor record against the Bulldogs, winning just 10 of 27 matches overall and excluding the Wayne Bennett era (2009-2011) their recent record is horrible with just two wins in 16 matches without Bennett as coach since 2002.
- The Dragons are the first team in over 60 years to have both scored and conceded the least points in the competition after 5 or more rounds.
- The Bulldogs have made the equal most linebreaks this season (6 per game). Along with the Dragons they have conceded the fewest (3.2 per game). * Gareth Widdop will play his 100th career match after starting his career with Melbourne where he played 70 matches over four seasons before joining the Dragons at the beginning of last season. * Curtis Rona has scored 12 tries in his 12 NRL matches, including six in his five matches for the Bulldogs.