One decision can make or break a National Rugby League coach. The decision for St George Illawarra Dragons mentor Steve Price is simple. Play Josh Drinkwater or run the risk of being the next coach in the unemployment line.
Price’s decision may have become a whole lot easier with the news talented youngster Kyle Stanley has broken down again. Tipped to get first crack in the halves alongside Jamie Soward, there are fears in Wollongong Stanley may miss the major portion of the 2013 season.
“If he has done his ACL it’s not great news, especially for Kyle, he’s had a number of knee reconstructions now,” Price told The Daily Telegraph.
“But these things happen in rugby league and as cruel as it can be it’s an opportunity for somebody else. We’ve signed young Josh Drinkwater from Manly’s NYC team and he’s showing great signs and we’ve also got Nathan Fien and Jamie Soward in the halves so we’re still in good shape there.”
If the young coach goes with Fien, all hell could break loose with Dragons fans if the team flounders in the early stages of the season.
Playing Drinkwater is a risk. But only the brave survive.
Recent history suggests it’s a gamble the Dragons must take moving into a new era.
Des Hasler played rookie Trent Hodkinson at the Manly Sea Eagles in 2010 with the Cabramatta junior playing City Origin in his debut season.
The following year Hasler did the same with Daly Cherry-Evans. Fast forward eight months and Evans had delivered the Eagles a premiership.
Michael Maguire seemingly had no other choice at the beginning of 2012 and selected Adam Reynolds. The dynamic playmaker is now the key for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2013.
The Saints have accepted this is a new era with the retirement of premiership-winning captain Ben Hornby and inspirational utility Dean Young.
Jamie Soward is off-contract at the end of 2013 and rumours continue to circulate that the former State of Origin five-eight is on the way out.
With Matt Cooper turning 34 next season, the exodus is sure to continue at the Dragons.
Admittedly, Price adopted a side developed by the legendary Wayne Bennett. A team based around steel curtain defensive patterns and a one dimensional offence.
This is Price’s chance to start something new for himself.
If Price is smart, he will play Drinkwater. For his own sake and the teams.
Published @ theroar.com.au