Dragons need to beat Panthers and bug
ST GEORGE Illawarra players face two battles this week in their hunt for an NRL finals berth.
The Dragons are two points out of the top eight and need to beat Penrith away on Sunday and other results going in their favour if they lose.
But the more pressing opponent is an outbreak of illness that has decimated their camp in the past week.
Nine players entered last Friday's loss to Brisbane under the weather, and most of the rest of the squad were stricken by the time they returned to Sydney.
Coaching staff cancelled training on Monday and several players had to leave Tuesday's session early.
"About 80% of the team has had it,” halfback Kurt Mann said.
"There are a couple of boys who aren't here today because of it.
"But everyone is on the mend I think it should be right by the weekend.”
Tyson Frizell (ankle) and Nene MacDonald (knee) also missed training on Tuesday, but are expected to be named for the Pepper Stadium fixture after picking up injuries last week.
Regardless, the early competition leaders are taking a "no excuses” approach into their final two games against Penrith and Canterbury.
"Sure, our backs are against the wall but that's why you play footy,” prop Paul Vaughan said.
"You want to play footy at the end of the year.
"The boys are committed to playing finals footy, no one has checked out yet. Everyone is ready to go.”