NRL match preview: South Sydney Rabbitohs vs St George Illawarra Dragons

Date:Monday, June 2 2014
Venue:ANZ Stadium

Rabbitohs:1.Greg Inglis 2.Alex Johnston 3.Dylan Walker 4.Kirisome Auva’a 5.Joel Reddy 6.John Sutton (c) 7.Adam Reynolds 8.George Burgess 9.Apisai Koroisau 10.Dave Tyrrell 11.Kyle Turner 12.Ben Te’o 13.Sam Burgess Interchange: 14.Cameron McInnes 15.Jason Clark 16.Chris McQueen 17.Tom Burgess

Dragons: 1.Josh Dugan 2.Brett Morris 3.Peter Mata’utia 4.Gerard Beale 5.Jason Nightingale 6.Gareth Widdop 7.Benji Marshall 8.Ben Creagh (c) 9.Mitch Rein 10.Dan Hunt 11.Leeson Ah Mau 12.Joel Thompson 13.Trent Merrin Interchange: 14.Tyson Frizell 15.Jack de Belin 16.Mike Cooper 17.Bronson Harrison 18.Shane Pumipi 20.Will Matthews

Paul McGregor’s reign as Dragons head coach begins on Monday night against the Rabbitohs and he has 14 games to show the Dragons’ hierarchy that he has what it takes to lead the club into a brighter future. The Dragons have been well beaten through the middle in 2014 and McGregor has opted to return skipper Ben Creagh to prop, and Joel Thompson replaces him in the backrow. Peter Mata’utia retains his place in the side and hooker Shane Pumipi has been named on an extended bench.

With Brett Morris highly unlikely to play after suffering a shoulder injury in Origin 1, there remains a vacancy on the left wing. McGregor may opt to shift Mata’utia to wing and bring in Charly Runciman, or promote Yaw Kiti Glymin who has been in fine form for the Illawarra Cutters in the NSW Cup. NSW interchange Trent Merrin came through Origin unscathed and will take his place at lock.

Rabbitohs Origin trio Greg Inglis, Ben Teo and Chris McQueen have been named and Inglis will be looking to bounce back after a quiet game on Wednesday night while five eighth John Sutton can remind NSW selectors of what he is capable of with a strong game. Centre Kirisome Auv’a has been named despite being charged by police over an off-field incident in January.

The Dragons haven’t scored a point since the 76th minute of their match against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on May 11 and are well down on confidence, while the Rabbitohs have been a bit patchy in 2014, winning six of their eleven games. This game will come down to which ever team is hungrier, and with a new coach on board, the Dragons may have that extra motivation required to get the job done.

Dragons by 6.

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