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20 Jan 2018 18:02
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Dragons must beat flu first, then Panthers

    St George Illawarra are again battling to regain the health of their NRL squad ahead of Sunday's clash with Penrith.

    - article from

    St George Illawarra players are vowing not to let a widespread bout of influenza derail their NRL finals campaign.

    The Dragons are two points out of the top eight heading into Sunday's away clash with Penrith, and will likely have to rely on other results going in their favour if they lose.

    However they seemingly face a more immediate opponent in the illness which has spread through their camp in the past week.

    Nine players entered last Friday's loss to Brisbane under the weather, and a large majority of the rest of the squad have fallen sick on the return home to Sydney.

    Coaching staff opted against training the weary team on Monday, and forwards Joel Thompson and Will Matthews were amongst a group of players to leave Tuesday's session early.

    "About 80 per cent of the team has had it," halfback Kurt Mann said.

    "There are a couple of boys who aren't here today because of it.

    "But everyone is on the mend I think it should be right by the weekend."

    Tyson Frizell (ankle) and Nene MacDonald (knee) also missed training on Tuesday, but are expected to be named for the Pepper Stadium fixture after picking up injuries last week.

    Regardless, the early competition leaders are taking a "no excuses" approach into their final two games against Penrith and Canterbury.

    After falling by the wayside in the middle of the season, they showed signs of improvement in flogging the Gold Coast a fortnight ago before taking on the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

    "All the boys have come to the realisation that's what has to happen," prop Paul Vaughan said.

    "Sure, our backs are against the wall but that's why you play footy. You want to play footy at the end of the year.

    "The boys are committed to playing finals footy, no one has checked out yet. Everyone is ready to go."


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