Cooper: We need to relax

St George Illawarra front-rower Mike Cooper says the Dragons need to stop overplaying their hand and has defended the club’s maligned halves.

The Dragons have slumped to back-to-back losses and have been unable to score a point against the Broncos or Cowboys.

St George Illawarra have only scored six tries in total this season and halfbacks Gareth Widdop and Benji Marshall have come under fire.

Cooper believes that no single player should be blamed for the Dragons’ lacklustre.

“There is no problem with the effort we are putting in as that can be seen – the problem is we’re giving penalties away, dropping the ball and kicking the ball out on the full,” he told the Dragons website.

“None of those things ae doing us any favours and especially playing against two quality sides these past two weeks.

“Full credit to both them both, they took their opportunities and you can see the game got blown-out towards the end and that’s down to our own mistakes.

“We need to start correcting these mistakes and I can understand where the fans are coming from. As a team we need to relax as we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves and trying to overplay our hand which is causing us to drop ball.”

Cooper said they beed to get back to that tough, grinding football that was successful for the Dragons last year.

“It’s not just about Gareth Widdop or Benji Marshall but instead about the entire 17 players who take to the field – you need to analyse the errors split across the field,” the England international said.

“For instance, if it’s not them kicking the ball out on the full then it’s me giving away a penalty, so it is all 17 players who take to the field that are accountable.

“You need to be accountable for your performance and judged by your last performance, which in this case wasn’t good enough.”

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