ST GEORGE Illawarra coach Steve Price says the side is struggling to combine what has worked for them in the past while looking to explore new attack options.
The Dragons, at times, have looked crisp and sharp and have created plenty of opportunities, but have failed to turn those chances into points.
They are the worst attacking side in the competition, averaging less than 15 points per game, and if they are to salvage any part of this season their attack needs to click — and soon.
‘‘It can get frustrating,’’ Price said.
‘‘We are certainly there at times throughout the game but we just can’t get the rub of the green.
‘‘We’re not getting any luck at the moment where the good teams do because they’ve got momentum.’’
In a bid to freshen up the side’s attack, Price has switched Jason Nightingale to fullback in recent weeks while he has relied on big men such as Trent Merrin, Jack de Belin and Dan Hunt to act as a first receiver and promote the ball from the middle of the field.
‘‘[Our attack] has been positive over the past couple of weeks,’’ Price said.
‘‘But we’ve got to find a balance where we’ve got to tuck it under our wing and grind it out too instead of going a little too sideways at times.
‘‘We need to play straighter and direct.’’
‘‘That’s something that the playing and coaching group are working on.
‘‘We certainly agree that we need to find that balance.’’
The side have won just two of their past four matches but sit just two points outside the top eight.
With a terrible for and against (minus 58) the Dragons will have to rely on wins, not differential, if they are to avoid missing the finals for the first time since 2007.
‘‘We are still in there with a fight,’’ Price said.
‘‘We certainly won’t be throwing the cue into the rack.
‘‘[Against Souths] it wasn’t one of our better performances, especially in the second half.
‘‘We created opportunities but we just couldn’t put it into points.
‘‘I’m not even looking at [how many games we have to win to make the finals].
‘‘We’re just looking at putting together a good performance.’’
The Dragons face a tough task, against a Melbourne side who have lost their past four games and are losing their grip on a consecutive minor premiership.
St George Illawarra have won just two of their past 13 clashes against Melbourne but have had success in their past two games against the Storm outside Victoria.
Following three consecutive appearances at fullback Jason Nightingale said he was now settled into the position.
‘‘I’m getting better and better each week,’’ Nightingale said.
‘‘It’s just about knowing the job and finding ways to conserve energy and finding the right times to chime in,’’ Nightingale said.
‘‘It’s about playing smart.’’
Veteran centre Matt Cooper (hamstring) is out for at least three weeks while Dean Young (concussion) is unlikely to play.
Beau Scott will line up in Cooper’s spot and Gold Coast recruit Will Matthews makes his Dragons debut from the bench.
The teams are playing for the Emergency Services Cup.
The match kicks off at 7.35pm, tomorrow, WIN Stadium, Wollongong.