Back-to-back Premiers

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Updated: January 18, 2011

Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images AsiaPac

Reigning 2010 premiers St George Illawarra face the enormous task of winning the premiership two years in a row. Do they have what it takes to go all the way again in 2011?

Prior to the Super League, the premiers have not successfully defended their premiership since the Brisbane Broncos won the  title in 1992 and then went on to win the competition again in 1993. Prior to this occasion, the last club to win consecutive premierships was the Canberra Raiders in 1989 and 1990.

The Dragons face a task which was last achieved 18 years ago and the pressure is certainly on for them to achieve the same success they tasted last season. Over recent years the defending premiers have not had an easy run. The Brisbane Broncos who won the grand final in 2006, scraped in at eighth spot in 2007 only to be be turned away in the first week of the finals. The Manly Sea Eagles who won the competition in 2008, also had an early exit the following year in 2009. Manly reached the first week of the finals however, due to results that were unfavourable they also went crashing out in the first week.

Dragons fans certainly believe that they are capable of going back-to-back – with their star-studded backline, the unwavering influence Wayne Bennett exhibits over the club and his uncanny ability to get the best out of his players time and time again, the Dragons are certainly in an excellent position to be the first club in 18 years to secure consecutive premierships.

Though there are still some doubts over their depth, after losing some quality players in the off-season, mainly Jeremy Smith (Cronulla Sharks) and Neville Costigan. However, the Dragons still field a solid forward pack including premiership winners Dean Young, Ben Creagh and Michael Weyman.

The Dragons chances again, hinge on their coach Wayne Bennett. If he is able to re-gather the same attitudes of hunger and determination – as many sides found out last season – the Dragons will be hard to beat. This is why undoubtedly, the Dragons are the most likely team to be able to win back-to-back titles, and if you were to back one team to do it – it would have to be them.





14 Comments

  1. Steve

    January 19, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I don’t rate them at all.

    Let’s face it, they were very consistant last year but won a tarnished premiership by virtue of Melbourne being excluded coupled with an extraordinary refereeing performance in the grand final.

    The teams to beat will be Souths, Wests Tigers, Easts and Penrith.

    • Phil

      January 19, 2011 at 11:57 am

      Hey Steve – well its such a shame that you don’t “rate” them – massive fluke being back to back minor premiers and premiers. Thats just easy stuff isn’t it? West tigers have a chance…but none of either easts, penrith or souths will hold a candle to saints when it comes to teh crunch.

      The dragons are a massive chance again – the young talent that has been popping its head through (merrin, prior, stanley) will go to the next level this year. Never has a back to back been more likely.

    • Steve

      January 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      Sorry to upset you Phil but I call it as many see it.

      The luck that St George Illawarra had in achieving their first ever premiership in their 12 year existence was unprecedented and will never be repeated.

    • Phil

      January 20, 2011 at 11:44 am

      So Steve…did luck account for the 24 point differential in the GF? Thats a lot of luck.

      Also – it’s sweet 16th premiership baby…St George and Illawarra’s historys are merged and formerly recognised by the NRL.

    • Steve

      January 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      The luck in the grand final was but one factor Phil, take your red and white glasses off mate, the Roosters were crucified but that’s history now.

      Speaking of history, you need to brush up on yours, St George died in 1998, the merger has produced one premiership and the NRL record books confirm this.

  2. Phil

    January 19, 2011 at 11:59 am

    oh and btw James… Broncos won back to back in 92/93 and 97/98 if you count super league. Both coached by bennett.

    • James Raptis

      January 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm

      Good point Phil, I didn’t want to include the era of Super League as Brisbane were not the only competition winners in that year.

      Maybe the last coach to do it in 92/93 will be the same coach in 10/11? I think it is quite possible.

  3. Benny

    January 20, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Steve,

    Throwing everything out there – tarnished Premiership, 1st Premiership, referee decisions…give me a break. St.George over a 2 year period were the best and most consistent team in the competition (hence the 2 Minor Premierships).
    In 2010 they were again the best team in the competition as proved by where they finished on the table, the for and against and partciularly second half performances in the final series, not conceding 1 point (including the 2 in form and best attacking teams in the competition in the Tigers and then Roosters).
    What referee decisions are you refering to in the Grand Final. Yes Morris went into touch before Gasnier try…but Leilua also knocked the ball on for the Anasta try (what made that worse was that it was a video ref decision and very clear cut). Not sure what other calls you are refering to as Dean Young try was 50/50 and game was wrapped up at that point anyway.
    St.George Illawarra Dragons have 16 Premiership to their name – 15 as St.George and 1 as St.George Illawarra for a total of 16. Widely recognised by the NRL, media and general public.

    You don’t rate Saints because they aren’t as flashy as Souths, Easts, Penrith or West Tigers. Defence wins matches my friends and St.George have shown that over 2 seasons and have a Premiership to prove it. Plus our attack will improve out of sight this year.

    Wests Tigers are a gueniune threat but the other teams you mentioned will be propping up the bottom of the 8 as a best case scenario.

    • Willow

      January 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      Hey Benny, i agree with you

      The funny thing the roosters arent that flashy at all they been scoring against poor defensive teams .

      The roosters only were 41 points in attack better then the dragons

      I laugh at people who claim the roosters have attack

  4. Garry

    January 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Can we get one thing staright you stmerge fans, St George Illawarra have won ONE premiership.

    St George 15 and Illawarra Nil.

    To suggest othersie is deceitful and misleading, let alone delusional.

    Every other clubs supporters agree with this stance and that is also the stance of the NRL.

  5. Benny

    January 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    St.George has 16 Premierships – 1941, 1949, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1977, 1979 AND 2010 – sweet 16 baby!

    St.George Illawarra Dragons have overall records and then list in brackets the achievements of each individual club. Example:

    Premierships: 16 (St.George – 15, Illawarra – 0 and St.George Illawarra – 1)

    Garry that is the way it is my friend – recognized by NRL.

    Don’t like it, St.George fans don’t care…we’re still celebrating – unlike whatever rabble of a team you follow – sound like a Souths supporter. Whatever I am sure you and your mate Steve are just upset you can’t throw around the Chokers Tag anymore

  6. Chief101

    January 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Wow, another online blog hijacked by stmerge delusionals.

    The NRL say 1 and that is all that matters and to end the rubbish about 16, why was Peter Doust apparently trying to get the NRL to change the records?

    Oh that’s right, because the NRL have said 1 on more than one occasion.

    Funny how we never saw Wests Tigers fans carrying on this way, perhaps it’s because they never had the choking culture that permeated the club formerly known as St George before they died.

    As for back to back, Teh Dragons are not the team they were last year so the answer is no chance.

    I expect Melbourne to bounce back with New Zealand, Souths, and Wests Tigers to issue the strongest challenges to them.

    Can’t wait – bring on the World Club Challenge and the Charity shield – you know the season is just around the corner when they’re on!!!!

  7. Willow

    January 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Steve you joking right

    Whoever rates the roosters are kidding themselves , the roosters do not have the attack against defence.
    Roosters and tigers will struggle in 2011, they rely too much on one player

    the days of one man teams, aka knights with johns finish in 2001

  8. Poisso

    February 11, 2011 at 6:19 am

    I love reading your posts! Keep on making new content. ^.^ I will check back soon. =]

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