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Sport NRL 2020: Paul McGregor welcomes disruption-free season with end-of-year Origin series

04:26  23 may  2020
04:26  23 may  2020 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Dragons coach Paul McGregor is looking forward to a season without Origin disruptions mid-year with the interstate series to be played in November.

The Red V have been cursed by the mid-season Origin period in past years, as a side that often starts fast but suffers severe late-season plunges in form.

The Dragons' had five players selected in last year's State of Origin, and would go on to only win two games in the back half of the year from round 17 following the series.

But McGregor has welcomed the prospect of having the likes of Blues forwards Tyson Frizell, Paul Vaughan and Maroons' Ben Hunt fit and available for his sides' remaining 18 fixtures of the season.

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"It's been a real disruption for our club for a number of years," McGregor told media on Friday.

"We've been positioned around that top four year after year and then Origin comes in and we lose four to six players at a time.

"So it can only be a positive [an end-of-year Origins eries].

"Keeping everyone in our organisation for the longest period possible is always the best.

"Melbourne have dealt with it (Origin) very well, we haven't.

"It's certainly a big positive for us that we won't lose a number of players for an important time of the year."

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The end of season Origin series could also have an effect on the selection of players from teams that don't make the finals.

Dragons halfback Hunt raised concerns earlier in the week that unless his side is sitting inside the top eight at season's end, he and his Origin teammates could go almost six weeks without playing a game before the series opener on November 4th.

McGregor said it could be used as a source of motivation for players vying for representative selection.

"With the Origin series at the end of the year, it's totally different for selection purposes," he said. "Players understand to be selected at the elite level you've got to be playing around that time to be in the best shape.

"It's not dissimilar to picking a Test team. Most the Australian Test teams are made up of who plays finals footy, and a lot of selections come from players who are playing in finals footy."

The Dragons' campaign will get back underway on Saturday 30th when they travel to Gosford to face the New Zealand Warriors.

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