St George Illawarra forward Tariq Sims says they have to accept the heat on them going into this NRL season.
St George Illawarra are embracing the heat on them and coach Paul McGregor, declaring they deserve any criticism that's coming their way.
Before a ball has been kicked in the 2017 NRL season, the Dragons are a side under a mountain of pressure after their attack spluttered through last year in a lacklustre showing.
They registered the second worst attack in the league - scoring just 341 points - only behind Newcastle on their way to finishing 11th.
With a raft of big names off contract and everyone from McGregor to the board having the blowtorch applied, they are a team under the pump to show massive improvement.
While you would expect forward Tariq Sims to leap to the defence of McGregor and his teammates, he said they had to accept they were under pressure to be the big improvers of the competition.
"St George is a massive brand in itself," Sims said.
"We demand perfection, our fans demand perfection and they deserve perfection."
He said it was up to the playing group to release the pressure valve and the former Knights captain described his first pre-season with the Dragons as the most torturous he's ever been through.
"We haven't left any stones unturned this year and it's been the most physical pre-season I've been a part of," Sims said.
"The amout of kms we've been doing, the amount of work we've been doing to make sure we're fit, that's definitely up there. I'm excited for the season to start."
Off-seson recruit Paul Vaughan said there was nothing wrong with the Dragons attacking ability and there was no reason why they should struggle for points again in 2017.
"I think we've got a great forward pack. The backline running off the back of that is unreal," Former Raiders prop Vaughan said.
"You've got (Josh Dugan) out the back, Gaz Whiddop, and Cam McInnes at nine and all the other boys. It's a dangerous team.
"The forwards themselves pose a dangerous threat, you've got (Tyson Frizell) on the edge with (Joel Thompson) and Jack de Belin who can ball-play and he's one of the strongest defensive players as well. I don't think we'll struggle for points."
By Steve Zemek, AAP