Date: Sunday 17th May, 2015
Venue: WIN Stadium
St George Illawarra Dragons 1. Josh Dugan 2. Peter Mata’utia 3. Euan AitkeN 4. Dylan Farrell 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Benji Marshall 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Mitch Rein 10. Mike Cooper 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Trent Merrin Interchange:14. Ben Creagh 15. Will Matthews 16. Heath L’Estrange 17. Jack de Belin
Canberra Raiders 1. Jack Wighton 2. Edrick Lee 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Sisa Waqa 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Mitchell Cornish 8. Paul Vaughan 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Frank-Paul Nuuausala 11. Josh Papalii 12. Sia Soliola 13. Shaun Fensom 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Jarrad Kennedy 16. Mark Nicholls 17. Shannon Boyd 18. David Shillington
At the start of the season, a clash between St George Illawarra Dragons and Canberra Raiders would have been predicted as a dour affair however both sides have lit the NRL competition alight with great form in recent weeks. The first clash between the two sides was an incredible 22-20 comeback victory by the Dragons in round three, and this Round 10 clash shapes to be even better.
Before that round three clash the Canberra side had won just one game while the Dragons had lost both previous games to start the season. The St George side then ran six on the trot, losing their first game since round 2 last start against South Sydney. Canberra themselves have now run four straight games, including a 56-16 thumping of the Titans in round 9.
As a result, this clash shapes as the game of the round, despite round 10 also including a clash between NRL juggernauts Canterbury Bulldogs and Sydney Roosters. The WIN stadium affair appears a classic case of defence vs attack, with the Raiders statistically the best attacking side in the competition (211 points scored for the Canberra side), while the Dragons are the most sound team defensively (102 points scored against the Red V).
It may be a case of the team that can perform well in their more uncharacteristic style may win. For the Dragons to win, they will not only have to shut down the Canberra side but will also need to learn to score plenty of points themselves, and vice versa for the Raiders.
While the home side is coming off a loss, they were gallant in defeat to the Rabbitohs, and their confidence will still be sky high. The danger for the Dragons is the short turn around, compared to Canberra who have more than a week to recover and prepare for the clash. This is somewhat evened out by the home status going towards St George side.
The Raiders have had the wood over the red and white brigade until recently, with the Dragons winning the last few encounters after enduring a drought against the green machine.
The main danger for Canberra is in the form of ex local junior Josh Dugan, who is firing as he pushes for an Origin berth. The extra motivation for Dugan is always there to beat the club that sacked him for repeated off field misdemeanours in 2012.
The Raiders have there own men keen to impress for State of Origin, with five eighth Blake Austin leading that charge. Since joining the nation’s capital from Wests Tigers, Austin has shown speed and determination that has resulted in the Canberra attack soaring to heights not seen by the club for years. Paul Vaughn and Josh Papalli will also be looking to make their way in to their various state sides.
With the extra motivation of Origin, the strong form of both sides, and Sunday afternoon football, the clash shapes as one of the games of the season so far.
Canberra by 2.