St George Illawarra winger Jason Nightingale has urged his teammates to put the injustice of Melbourne’s try after the siren behind them and get their NRL season back on track.
Following a strong start to the campaign that yielded three successive wins, the Dragons are now 3-3 after Storm winger Young Tonumaipea dived over in the corner to seal a dramatic come-from-behind 28-24 victory at AAMI Park on Monday.
The incident infuriated the Dragons with veteran chief executive Peter Doust demanding the NRL award his club two points after referees boss Tony Archer admitted the on-field officials should have blown for fulltime before the try was scored.
The Dragons will host the Warriors on Saturday and Nightingale said dwelling on what could have been against Melbourne could work against them at Kogarah Oval.
“The evidence is there and it was pretty disappointing, but that’s rugby league,” Nightingale said.
“We really have to focus on the good things we did in the game, which were quite a lot. If we keep thinking about it, then it’s not going to help.
“The short turnaround is the best thing after a gut-wrenching loss. You don’t really have time to think about it as you have to move on and prepare for the next game.
“To be sitting three and three is not the end of the world, but to go down to four straight losses … you are drifting to the bottom half of the table.”
The Dragons have already beaten the Warriors in round two at Eden Park but the vagaries of the fixture computer mean they’re facing them again just over a month later.
Nightingale said it was odd playing the same opponents so soon but the 31-12 win across the Tasman stands the Dragons in good stead to face a side working under new coach Andrew McFadden, who has only been guaranteed the job until the end of the season following Matt Elliott’s axing.
“It was a funny old game. We were trailing at halftime, there was a heavy wind that day but we ran away with it in the second half,” he said.
“It was good springboard for us and gave us a lot of confidence and we know we played well down in Melbourne and should have won the game.
“But the Warriors will be up for it. They showed last week in the Bulldogs game that even though they lost they’ve improved under a new coach and had a bit more spring in their step.”