Queensland coach Kevin Walters says besieged St George Illawarra halves Ben Hunt and Corey Norman must ignite their running game if they want to spark the misfiring Dragons.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor may be under the pump after their 18-0 last round NRL loss to the Warriors but pressure is also piling on Maroons hopefuls Hunt and Norman to overhaul their predictable attack.
Despite struggling with a corked shin, Hunt was not cut any slack after his underwhelming display alongside Norman behind a gun pack against a near-perfect Warriors.
Walters admitted he was disappointed by what Hunt and Norman offered but believed they could reverse their fortunes if they simply took on the line more.
Walters said the Dragons pair’s game was perfectly suited to exploit the new “six-again” rule.
“It (rule) is perfect for those two. Corey Norman is a great runner of the ball, and Ben Hunt, that (running game) is his best asset,” he told Sky Sports Radio.
“The message from me would be clear to both those players – challenge the line.
“You’ll get some good results on the back of it.”
Walters backed Hunt and Norman to bounce back but was left scratching his head over the Dragons halves’ options against the Warriors.
“Let’s give some credit to the Warriors … but I just thought the Dragons were a little bit sideways with their attack – they need to play straight,” he said.
“With one referee now you have to challenge the line. The long sweeping shift play which we saw a lot from the Dragons over the weekend I think they are a thing of the past.”
While Walters backed Hunt at No.7, former Dragon Michael Ennis believed McGregor should bite the bullet and ask his marquee playmaker to provide spark off the bench after St George Illawarra slumped to a 0-3 start.
“It would be great for Ben Hunt and for his confidence to be allowed to grow, if he could get taken out of that No.7 jersey,” Ennis told Fox League.
“We can’t put him at No.9 because Cameron McInnes is there and he’s such a good player.
“So the role he can play for the Dragons is to play in that No.14 jersey and maybe put Corey Norman at halfback.
“I would love to see him go back into that No.14 jersey, give him some freedom, allow him to play like he does when we see him play for Australia, when we see him play for Queensland.”