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PREVIEW | St George-Illawarra Dragons vs Wests Tigers

For the first time in six years the Tigers take on the Dragons at Jubilee Oval.

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TEAM FORM GUIDE

St George-Illawarra Dragons

Playing without their Origin stars, the Dragons went down 30-52 to the Storm. It was a bizarre game full of twists and turns. Despite the high scoring tally, no team could put together back to back tries until the Storm put together 4 straight in the last 15 minutes.

The Dragons team had its difficulties from the start. Jason Nightingale found himself in the back-row making 40 tackles for the game after Jacob Host succumbed to injury 5 minutes into the contest.

Wests Tigers

After a promising start to the season, the Tigers bus has come to a screeching halt. Currently on a 4 match losing streak, the defence on which their early season form was built has vanished.

Conceding 48 and 30 points in their last two games brings back bad memories of seasons past. Not even the return of Robbie Farah and the addition of Moses Mbye could stop them from copping a hiding at Leichhardt by the Titans.

SQUAD NEWS

St George-Illawarra Dragons

Jason Nightingale and Kurt Mann swap between the bench and wing. De Belin, Frizell, Hunt, Sims and Vaughan are all set to back up from Origin. Leeson Ah Mau and Luciano Leilua shift from the starting pack back to the interchange.

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Wests Tigers

Benji Marshall returns from injury for Josh Reynolds at five-eighth. David Nofoaluma replaces Malakai Watene-Zelezniak. Ben Matulino returns at prop, Josh Aloiai moves to the starting back-row and Alex Twal shifts to the bench.

PREVIEW

Key Battle

The six and sevens.

Benji’s return is going to be vital to an improved Tigers attack. Renewing a classic combination with Robbie Farah and taking the pressure off Brooks can give them more varied options on offence.

The primary problem with the Tigers is their inability to score points. They’ve scored just 40 points in their last 3 games and have the least points for in the competition. They’ll need to vastly improve that stat in order to win.

The Dragons don’t share that problem. Widdop is equal 2nd in the comp on 14 try assists and Hunt isn’t far behind on 11. Their short kicking game got them out of trouble against the Eels and it could give the Tigers a real headache on their goal-line. Points aren’t as difficult to come by for the Dragons and it all starts with the halves.

KEY STAT

The Tigers have won just one from five trips to Jubilee Oval. The Dragons have won 16 of their last 20 matches there.

SQUADS

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 Luciano Leilua
Reserves: 18 Patrick Herbert, 19 Hame Sele, 20 Blake Lawrie, 21 Reece Robson, 22 Jai Field, 23 Darren Nicholls

Tigers
1 Moses Mbye, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Esan Marsters, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Corey Thompson, 6 Benji Marshall, 7 Luke Brooks, 8 Russell Packer (c), 9 Robbie Farah, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Chris Lawrence, 12 Josh Aloiai, 13 Elijah Taylor
Interchange: 14 Alex Twal, 15 Suaso Sue, 16 Michael Chee Kam, 17 Matt Eisenhuth
Reserves: 18 Jacob Liddle, 19 Luke Garner, 20 Tim Grant, 21 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak

 

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Sunday 15th July
Venue: Jubilee Oval
Kick-off: 4:10pm

NRL PREDICTIONS | Round 18

Roosters fan, a club proud to be developing local juniors and being compliant with the cap. League is the greatest game of all, Tennis pretty close behind.

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