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MATCH PREVIEW | St. George-Illawarra Dragons vs Gold Coast Titans

James Cusack previews the encounter between the Dragons and Titans this Saturday afternoon at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium. 

TEAM FORM GUIDE

St. George-Illawarra Dragons

Sitting 14th on the ladder after 20 rounds, the Dragons are nearly mathematically out of the finals race after losing their last five games. They will fancy themselves against the hapless Titans who are stuck to the bottom of the ladder after enduring a horror season.

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Gold Coast Titans

It has been a year to forget for the Titans – dead last on the ladder and coming off a 52-point hiding from the Roosters last weekend. Off-field drama hasn’t helped this year, though many media pundits have had a crack at some of the players on big contracts not giving 100 per cent effort.

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SQUAD NEWS

St. George-Illawarra Dragons

Dragons forward Blake Lawrie will need to pass concussion protocols to be cleared to play after copping a heavy knock against the Eels last week. Zac Lomax is also pushing for a return and could be a good chance to come into the 17 on match day. Jackson Ford will make his NRL first grade debut off the bench.

St. George-Illawarra Dragons’ squad: 

1. Corey Norman 2. Jason Saab 3. Euan Aitken 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Patrick Kaufusi 12. Tariq Sims 13. Tyson Frizell 14. Jeremy Latimore 15. Korbin Sims 16. Jackson Ford 17. Luciano Leilua 18. Tristan Sailor 19. Josh Kerr 20. Blake Lawrie 21. Zac Lomax

Gold Coast Titans

Queensland representative Jai Arrow comes back into the team along with fullback AJ Brimson, who missed the Roosters game with a hip injury. Brimson will play in the No.1 jersey, replacing Michael Gordon who injured his hamstring against the Roosters.

Prop Jack Stockwell is another Titan to join the injured list, with a damaged wrist ruling him out of the Dragons game. Jai Whitbread will shift from lock to the front row.

Gold Coast Titans’ squad: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Kallum Watkins 4. Brian Kelly 5. Phillip Sami 6. Ash Taylor 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Jai Whitbread 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Sam Stone 13. Jai Arrow 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Moeaki Fotuaika 16. Brenko Lee 17. Bryce Cartwright 18. Mitch Rein 19. Anthony Don 20. Treymain Spry 21. Leilani Latu

HEAD TO HEAD

The Dragons and Titans have played 20 times with the home side winning the head-to-head 13 to 7. The past two encounters between these teams have been very one-sided, with the Dragons outscoring the Titans 96-24. The Titans will be hoping to turn things around this Saturday when they visit Kogarah in an attempt to climb off the bottom of the ladder.

KEY BATTLE

Cameron McInnes v Nathan Peats will be a very intriguing battle on Saturday afternoon, as both teams look to get back on the winners board. Both McInnes and Peats started their careers at the Rabbitohs, though have both moved clubs to find regular first grade minutes. It was the right decision for both.

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McInnes was in the Origin discussion last year before the Rabbitohs’ Damien Cook got the nod, though Cameron’s level of play hasn’t wavered. He has played every game in 2019, scoring 3 tries, averaging 49 tackles and his kicking out of dummy-half has dramatically improved since he joined the club a few years ago.

Peats, on the other hand, has endured a shocking year with injury as he has only played nine games after tearing his pectoral muscle earlier in the season. This injury saw him miss more than two months of football and his return has been welcomed. Peats will be looking to finish the season well as many of the big names at the club could be looking for a new club, and it is widely recognised that a clean out will occur at the end of the season. Peats’ ability in attack to put men through holes will be crucial for the visitors if they have any chance of winning their fifth game of the year.

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Saturday 10th August, 2019.
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 3.00pm.
Referee: Henry Perenara and Liam Kennedy.

WHO WILL WIN?

Dragons by 14.

 

Student journalist, 19, born and raised in NSW, wanting to pursue a career in sports journalism.

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