The competition leaders the St George Dragons will host an inconsistent Canberra Raiders side this Sunday in Mudgee. Both sides are coming off disappointing losses and will be eager to try and hit back this week.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
St George-Illawarra Dragons
The Dragons are playing the best footy in the competition with their expansive style of play leading to plenty of points, however they were soundly defeated by a resurgent South Sydney Rabbitohs side. The Red V will need to regain their mojo this week.
For the Raiders, they sit at four wins and six losses and need to be more consistent if they are any chance of playing finals footy. In the story of their season, the Green Machine let another eight point lead slip to be beaten in the final five minutes of play.
St George-Illawarra Dragons
Dragons: 1 Matt Dufty, 2 Nene Macdonald, 3 Euan Aitken, 4 Tim Lafai, 5 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Jack De Belin. Interchange: 14 Jeremy Latimore, 15 Kurt Mann, 16 Leeson Ah Mau, 17 Blake Lawrie. Reserves: 18 Reece Robson, 19 Zachary Lomax, 20 Mitchell Allgood, 21 Hame Sele
Both Jack De Belin and Ben Hunt are both named to play despite both picking up niggling injuries, while Blake Lawrie replaces Zac Lomax in the number 17 jumper.
Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Iosia Soliola, 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Shannon Boyd, 11 Joseph Tapine, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Josh Papalii. Interchange: 14 Ata Hingano, 15 Luke Bateman, 16 Charlie Gubb, 17 Dunamis Lui. Reserves: 18 Liam Knight, 19 Michael Oldfield, 20 Sam Williams, 21 Craig Garvey
Canberra have named Blake Austin who was assisted off the field with what looked to be a serious ankle injury but scans have confirmed there was no major damage with Austin to be assessed until Sunday, Sam Williams have been named in the reserves in case Austin is not deemed to be fit.
This match will be won in the middle of the park with both sides boasting huge packs. With James Graham and former Raider Paul Vaughan leading the Dragons pack, they are very strong up front and lay a great foundation for the outsides backs to do their things. Canberra also have massive forwards, however will be without Junior Paulo for a lengthy period, they are still very big and have a lot of go forward. Whichever sides pack shows up on the day, it will go a long way in determining the result.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday 20 May
Venue: Glen Willow Oval, Mudgee
Kick Off: 2pm
WHO WILL WIN?
Both sides were pretty ordinary last week and will be keen to strike back with a win this week. The Dragons are still one game ahead of the pack and will be looking to maintain their lead on the summit of the competition, while for Canberra it’s all about finding some consistency and keeping up with the chasing bunch for a finals spot. This game has the potential to be a cracker with both sides attack the key point of their game, however the Dragons should be too strong in this one and will keep the number one spot for at least another week.
Dragons by 10