Do or die fortnight for St George Illawarra Dragons starting with Penrith Panthers clash

In their hands: Dragons captain Gareth Widdop catches a high kick against Brisbane on Friday night. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP Image
In their hands: Dragons captain Gareth Widdop catches a high kick against Brisbane on Friday night. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP Image

If there is a silver lining to come out of last weekend it is that St George Illawarra now have their finals destiny in their own hands.

Despite going down to Brisbane on Friday night and losing Country Origin centre Euan Aitken to a season-ending shoulder injury, St George Illawarra now find themselves with a simple equation – win their final two matches against Penrith and Canterbury and they will be playing finals football. 

The Dragons were able to put it to the Broncos in a 24-12 loss despite injuries and a flu bug that swept through the squad, leaving more than a dozen players sick for the clash.

And with other results going their way on the weekend, including North Queensland’s loss to Cronulla and Manly’s dismal performance against the Bulldogs, the Dragons will reach the top eight if they can lift again over the next fortnight starting with Penrith at Pepper Stadium on Sunday.

Dragons coach Paul McGregor said he saw enough in that defeat to Brisbane to suggest St George Illawarra have what it takes.

“There’s a few blokes there that were pretty ill. We lost Nene [Macdonald on Thursday] at training. [Tyson Frizell] limped off but played. Certainly the nine-day turnaround is going to help that,” he said.

“And we know what we’ve got to do, we’ve just got to go out and do it. Penrith are a quality team. Canterbury have obviously had a disappointing year but it’s the last game of the year so they’re going to get up.

“It’s still up to us. If we finish on 30 points our for and against is good. We’ve just got to win, that’s the truth of it.

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