TUMUT ARE BEATABLE: TRISTAN DICKSON
By Les Muir
HE’S most dynamic player in the Group Nine premiership, but Kangaroos fullback Tristan Dickson is definitely not a one-man band.
Virtually on the eve of Kangaroos’ most important game of the season so far, the 22-year-old speedster has declared he is only as good as the “12 others” in the team.
“There’s no way anyone can do it by themselves,” Dickson said on Thursday.
“It’s got to be the whole team.
“We’ve all got to put it together.”
Coming from the flashiest ball-runner in the region, Dickson’s comment is testament to the way Kangaroos have tried – and succeeded – to play this year.
Despite having the smallest pack in the premiership or boasting a long list of stars, Kangaroos have outstripped some of their better credentialed and higher-rated rivals to make the finals.
Heading into the elimination final against Tumut at Twickenham on Saturday, Dickson is also adamant the unheralded Wagga team is not finished yet.
Although Tumut is a warm favourite to oust Roos in the sudden-death game, the fullback flyer fancies their chances.
“They’re (Tumut) definitely beatable,” he said.
“If we put it together we’ll beat them.”
Past history certainly backs Dickson’s prediction.
The Blues and Roos have played only once this year and they finished in a 28-all draw.
Significantly, however, Roos blew a 28-12 lead before squaring the result with Tumut at McDonald’s Park on May 28.
Down 18-16 following a tough and tense first half, Roo scored the opening two tries of the second half to bolt out to a 28-18.
Little wonder Roos captain-coach Ben Jeffery was livid that the team squandered the advantage by allowing Tumut to score two to snatch a draw.
In fact, Tumut hooker Jacob Toppin sprayed a relatively easy conversion shot that would have got the Blues home in the dying seconds.
Beforehand, Dickson had scored two tries, including a breathtaking effort in the 55th minute, but he subsequently suffered a back injury.
Clearly a crowd-pleaser, Dickson finished the premiership rounds with 15 tries and also created a stack more with his lightning acceleration and amazing anticipation.
Recalling some his exploits this year, Dickson said he always ready to cut loose.
“It’s a mental thing,” he said.
“You just know.”
For his part, Dickson is backing the Kangaroos forwards to give their heavyweight Tumut opponents a thorough work over.
“That’s what I mean by all putting it together,” Dickson said.
“Our pack does a great job and they have to lay the foundation.”
Looking ahead to 2018, Dickson said staying with Kangaroos was his “first pick”, but admits there are “plenty of other options”.
With Tristan Dickson there usually are.