St George-Illawarra Dragons are looking to consolidate third spot on the ladder when they host Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

LAST TIME OUT

Both teams are coming off the bye thanks to Wednesday night’s State of Origin.

Before the bye, St George-Illawarra Dragons traveled FMG Stadium in Waikato to take on an out of form New Zealand Warriors.  The Dragons led 18-10 at the half time break thanks to tries from Kalifa Faifai Loa, Joel Thompson and Tim Lafai.  When Nene McDonald crossed ten minutes after the break it appeared the Dragons were on their way to a solid win.  The final result 30-14 with Lafai and Joel Thompson among their best. Cameron McInnes put in a big game as he pressed for Origin selection.

The only way to describe Wests Tigers round 11 effort – dismal.  They made the trek to Suncorp Stadium, on the end of a big 0-36 loss to the Brisbane Broncos.  It was the start of life without Mitch Moses who’d departed during that week to Parramatta Eels.  Pre-match Luke Brooks was omitted from the side because of injury.  Aaron Woods returned in a match to prove his fitness for Origin game 1 but had little impact.  It was a frustrating night too for James Tedesco who tried gallantly in a well beaten side.  The jury was out on the halves combination of Jordan Rankin and Jack Littlejohn with their side unable to gain metres through the middle of the park.

KEY BATTLE

This comes down to the forwards.  Aaron Woods, Elijah Taylor and Chris Lawrence will need to have exceptional matches to give the Tigers any chance of ending their three game losing streak.  These three must make the ground to allow new Tigers recruit Tui Lolohea and Jack Littlejohn to create opportunities.

They come up against a very strong forward pack with Russell Packer to come up against his adopted club in 2018, Paul Vaughan who was almost in Laurie Daley’s Blues side, Tyson Frizell and Joel Thompson.  That’s one fair pack coming up against an out-of-form side.

PREDICTION

The Tigers will learn plenty from their heavy defeat in Brisbane but without the direction of Luke Brooks again this week, the writing is on the wall against a rejuvenated Dragons outfit boosted with the return of Gareth Widdop and Josh Dugan from injury.

Dragons by 16

DRAGONS V TIGERS

3:00pm AEST Saturday, June 3 at ANZ Stadium

Dragons: 19. Josh Dugan 2. Nene Macdonald 6. Kurt Mann 4. Tim Lafai 1. Jason Nightingale 21. Gareth Widdop 7. Josh McCrone 8. Russell Packer 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 20. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin Interchange: 3. Taane Milne 11. Tariq Sims 15. Leeson Ah Mau 16. Hame Sele 5. Kalifa Faifai Loa 14. Jacob Host 18. Tyrone McCarthy

Tigers: 1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 4. Moses Suli 5. Kevin Naiqama 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Jack Littlejohn 8. Aaron Woods 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Ava Seumanufagai 11. Kyle Lovett 16. Chris Lawrence 13. Elijah Taylor 14. Tim Grant 15. Jj Felise 17. Joel Edwards 18. Jacob Liddle 21. Jordan Rankin 22. Michael Chee-Kam