The Dragons were soaring to start the season, however a rough patch of form has put their top 8 spot in danger as we head towards the finals. They head to the Gold Coast on Friday night in desperate need of a win, however they’re faced with the challenge of a Titans side who are close to full strength for one of the first times this year.
Last Time Out
The Dragons looked certain to become just the 3rd team in the past 2 years to lose to the Knights as they fell to a 28-10 halftime deficit. Fortunately for Dragons fans skipper Gareth Widdop stood up to lead a spirited comeback, as his four try assists and three linebreaks helped the Red V to a 32-28 victory. Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizzell were warriors after backing up from Origin, running for 234 and 124 metres respectively.
The Titans and Tigers were tooth and nail apart at 10-8, until Jarryd Hayne took the game into his own hands with a few quality touches. He first produced a try on a platter for Konrad Hurrell with a quick short ball close to the line, giving the Titans some breathing room at 14-8. He then cruised over for an easy try on the right edge, before showing signs of his brilliant best just 4 minutes later by stepping past defenders to put the Tigers to the sword. Hurrell was also massive for the Titans, crossing for 2 tries and charging for 177m.
Key Match Ups
Ash Taylor had a wonderful start to the season as he lead the NRL in try assists, but the 2016 Dally M rookie of the year has experienced a quiet few weeks as the Titans have struggled. His goal kicking has been notably off, and the 22 year old has looked to be down on confidence at times as he deals with the pressure of leading a team in just his second season in the NRL. Taylor looked to build in confidence last week as the Titans lead grew, and the young gun will be determined to lead his side around the park as he comes up against an in-form Gareth Widdop . Widdop has notched up 12 try assists this season including a massive 4 against the Knights last week. The St George captain has a huge influence on his team, and is able to produce big plays to get his side back into the game, as Knights fans would now know all too well. Widdop will be looking to give rookie rival Taylor a lesson on Friday night, although the young gun is more than capable of putting on a show of his own.
With the Titans close to full strength, these two teams are quite evenly matched, and have several even battles across the park. However, the Dragons should be hungrier as a loss harms their position in the top 8, and they should have too much to play for against a Titans team whose finals dreams are out of reach.
Dragons by 8