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NRL greats rip ‘bizarre’ coach answer

Former NRL greats Greg Alexander and Braith Anasta have been left flabbergasted after a pre-match interview with interim Dragons coach Dean Young.It came before his side’s 14-10 loss to the Gold Coast Titans, with the visitors scoring twice in the final five minutes to run over the top of the Dragons.A St George Illawarra win…

Former NRL greats Greg Alexander and Braith Anasta have been left flabbergasted after a pre-match interview with interim Dragons coach Dean Young.

It came before his side’s 14-10 loss to the Gold Coast Titans, with the visitors scoring twice in the final five minutes to run over the top of the Dragons.

A St George Illawarra win could have put the side just two points behind the Cronulla Sharks and well in contention for the finals.

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But ahead of his second week in charge of the club after Paul McGregor was told he was no longer required, Young called for his side to put in an 80-minute performance.

Post-match, Young said the side dropping off with the game on the line “pisses me off” as “you don’t get two points for trying in this game”.

However, before the game, Young admitted he had considered giving big money halfback-turned-hooker Ben Hunt a rest despite key injuries in the forward pack, the rookie coach revealed he’d been thinking about it for some time.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I spoke to Mary (McGregor) when Mary was coach, but I think it would be nice to give Hunty and Cam a rest at some stage,” he said.

“As you’ve just touched on, we have a lot of experience missing with Korbin Sims, Tariq Sims and Paul Vaughan but in saying that, I think Hunty’s playing some good footy and if I can find him a spell either side of halftime, we’ll even see some better creativity out of him. That’s the plan I’m going with.”

The coach was good to his word as well with Hunt going off for a break with eight minutes left in the first half. It didn’t last long with Billy Brittain taken off after a high fend went wrong and he failed a head injury assessment.

But Fox League’s Greg Alexander and Braith Anasta bristled at the suggestion.

“I think that’s bizarre,” Alexander said. “Why does Ben Hunt need a rest? I’ve got no idea, why does he need a rest? Just get him out there for 80 minutes. He spoke about players playing for 80 minutes – Ben Hunt does not need a rest.”

Anasta agreed.

“He’s been playing his best footy of late,” he said. “He’s even been coming off the bench so it’s not like he’s had a really tough season. He should be quite fresh, it’s a shorter season than normal. Just play him.”

Hunt started the season as a halfback but after a horrific start to the season, he was benched before reinventing himself as a hooker.

While Hunt has expressed his desire to return to halfback, it’s widely agreed he appears to be better suited to the no. 9 jersey, at least in the 2020 season.

At halftime, the Dragons led the Titans 2-0 but commentator Steve Roach was perplexed by the performance on display from St George Illawarra as the Gold Coast put in a stellar defensive effort.

With the finals on the line, Roach was baffled the Dragons didn’t seem more up for the fight.

“I thought they would have looked a little more hungry to tell you the truth,” Roach said. ”But the Titans have gone with them really well.”

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