NRL match preview: St George Illawarra Dragons vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Date:Saturday, June 7 2014
Venue:WIN Stadium

Dragons:1.Adam Quinlan 2.Peter Mata’utia 3.Josh Dugan 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

Sharks:1.Nathan Gardner 2.Nathan Stapleton 3.Blake Ayshford 4.Michael Gordon 5.Jacob Gagan 6.Fa’amanu Brown 7.Daniel Holdsworth 8.Siosaia Vave 9.John Morris 10.Bryce Gibbs 11.Luke Lewis 12.Wade Graham (c)13.Chris Heighington Interchange: 14.Isaac De Gois 15.Sam Tagataese 16.Tinirau Arona 17.David Fifita 19.Tupou Sopoaga

It’s pistols at six paces on Saturday night as two desperate teams battle it out at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.The local derby between the Dragons and the Sharks carries extra incentive this time around as both teams well off the pace and in need of two competition points to keep their 2014 hopes alive.

Coincidentally both teams suffered comprehensive losses to the South Sydney Rabbitohs in their last match, the Sharks going down 18-0 in round 11 while the Dragons were defeated 29-10 on Monday night.

Dragons head coach Paul McGregor has stuck with Josh Dugan in the centres to accommodate Adam Quinlan at fullback and welcomes back Jack De Belin and Mike Cooper on an extended bench. Lock Trent Merrin returns to the starting line up, replacing Tyson Frizell.

Sharks head coach Peter Sharp has also moved his fullback to centre, Michael Gordon making the shift with Nathan Gardner the new custodian.They have two new faces in their line up; five eighth Fa’amanu Brown and winger Jacob Gagan, who is sure to be tested by Gareth Widdop and Benji Marshall with a few bombs heading his way on Saturday night.

Both sides are well down on confidence and form so don’t expect a great game. This will be a grinding affair and whoever does this best will win the match.

There is never much between these two, but prop Dan Hunt’s 150th game for the Dragons and a parochial home crowd may get them home in a close one.

Dragons by 4.

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