Date: Saturday September 5, 2015
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Kick-Off: 5:30pm AEST
Dragons: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Etonia Nabuli 3. Euan Aitken 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Benji Marshall 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Mitch Rein 10. Mike Cooper 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Jake Marketo 13. Trent Merrin. Interchange: 14. George Rose 15. Ben Creagh 16. Mark Ioane 17. Jack de Belin 18. Craig Garvey 23. Justin Hunt
Tigers: 1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Kevin Naiqama 4. Tim Simona 5. Pat Richards 6. Mitchell Moses 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Robbie Farah 10. Sauaso Sue 11. Curtis Sironen 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Martin Taupau. Interchange: 14. Kyle Lovett 15. Keith Galloway 16. Ava Seumanufagai 17. Dene Halatau 18. Manaia Cherrington
St George-Illawarra Dragons will be taking no chances when they face Wests Tigers in round 26 of the National Rugby League Premiership at ANZ Stadium on Saturday evening.
Most pundits are saying the Dragons have made the eight despite Manly having an outside chance if results go their way. If the Dragons by chance were way off their game and heavily beaten by the Tigers it would make for a dramatic Sunday afternoon at Remondis Stadium with Cronulla potentially looking to wrap up a top four finish against a Manly outfit still a chance of making the finals.
Paul McGregor named Gareth Widdop in his line-up on Tuesday but has been struggling with a quad injury. Widdop has been in fantastic form at the back end of 2015 with his efforts against Penrith Panthers two weeks back guiding them to an important win, keeping them in the box seat to make the finals. Drew Hutchinson could be drafted into the side for only his third game in the top grade.
St George-Illawarra’s form was again put under scrutiny last Sunday when they were beaten by the Gold Coast Titans who were looking to avoid the wooden spoon. Dave Taylor striking late in the game to ensure he’d go out a winner at home for the last time. With just three wins from their last twelve matches it could be an early exit from the finals series regardless of who they play in week one.
We will get to know a little more about where the Dragons are at with their opponents Wests Tigers coming off an emotion charged demolition of New Zealand Warriors last Sunday. Jason Taylor adding Kyle Lovett on the extended bench that includes the same seventeen that went around last weekend.
The off-field drama involving Robbie Farah continues to be an unwanted distraction ahead of their final game. Reports in the media week suggesting the Blues Origin hooker took a ‘six figure’ pay cut to ease the pressure of the Tigers salary cap dramas. It appears there are no winners. The fans deciding to stay away from supporting their side at Campbelltown last weekend.
It might be ex-Tiger Benji Marshall who proves the difference between these two sides. Every September the class players come to the top and despite some not so good performances this year it only takes a bit of Benji magic to change all that. Remember that try against the Knights a few weeks back? Dragons fans will be hoping he’s a little more consistent during the finals series.
Both teams will wear special purple socks to help raise awareness for pancreatic cancer.
Prediction you would expect the Dragons to get the points and confirm a top eight spot for good. Dragons by 8.