WITH the Dragons’ finals hopes all but over, St George Illawarra players have turned their attention to farewelling club favourite Dean Young on a positive note.
St George Illawarra need to win their remaining three games and a near miracle to avoid missing the finals for the first time since 2007.
Now their attention has turned to Young with the premiership winner to play his penultimate home game at WIN Stadium against North Queensland on Monday night.
Teammate Trent Merrin conceded the club’s finals hopes were slim but emphasised the need to end Young’s 200-plus first grade career on a high.
‘‘I want to give him 100 per cent every game,’’ Merrin said.
‘‘He is that sort of player.
‘‘Everyone knows what he means to the club.
‘‘Every game this year it’s been in the back of my head that it’s Deano’s last season.’’
With a career crippled by injuries, Young announced his retirement in April.
The 28-year-old is likely to farewell the game against lowly-placed Parramatta alongside Eels veterans Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt, who will play their last NRL games in round 26.
‘‘He wears his heart on his sleeve and I think everyone buys into that,’’ Merrin said.
‘‘That’s something I’d like to take out of his game.’’
Veteran centre Matt Cooper will make his return from injury on Monday night while Jamie Soward will start his first NRL match since round 20 with Nathan Fien (neck) out.
Fien could miss the rest of the season after MRI scans revealed he will be sidelined for up to four weeks.
Josh Miller has been recalled to the bench to play a Cowboys side who have not won at WIN Stadium since 2008.