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ROUND 2 PREVIEW | St George-Illawarra Dragons vs Penrith Panthers

The Panthers got their season off to a perfect start with an upset win over the reigning premiers the Roosters. They now face a Dragons side who were victims of a Benji Marshall masterclass. Jem Nash reviews.

FORM LINE

St George-Illawarra Dragons

Benji Marshall was superb last week as the Dragons fell in round one, but that’s not to say the Dragons didn’t have opportunities to win that game. They bombed numerous try scoring opportunities due to simple errors. The Dragons are usually hot starters to a season, but they have a lot of work to do if they want to bounce back.

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Penrith Panthers

It was a slow start last week, but the Panthers stormed home to earn a good win against the Roosters. Penrith were down 12-0 early in the first half but outscored the Roosters 20-2 in the comeback victory. Apisai Koroisau was absolutely outstanding in his first game back in Panthers colours and was one of the major factors in the big win.

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SQUAD NEWS

St George-Illawarra Dragons

1 Matthew Dufty, 2 Jordan Pereira, 3 Brayden Wiliame, 4 Timoteo Lafai, 5 Zac Lomax, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Isaac Luke, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tyrell Fuimaono, 13 Blake Lawire, 14 Trent Merrin, 15 Josh Kerr, 16 Billy Brittain, 17 Jacob Host, 18 Jackson Ford, 20 Euan Aitken.

Penrith Panthers

1 Caleb Aekins, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Dean Whare, 4 Brent Naden, 5 Brian To’o, 6 Jarome Luai, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 James Tamou, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 10 Zane Tetevano, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 James Fisher-Harris, 14 Stephen Crichton, 15 Billy Burns, 16 Moses Leota, 17 Liam Martin, 18 Matt Burton, 21 Mitch Kenny.

KEY STAT

Apisai Koroisau was all over the park last week and posted an incredible stat line, including 110 run metres and six tackle breaks to go along with 59 tackles. Expect another big game from the big off season recruit.

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BATTLE TO WATCH

Nathan Cleary v Ben Hunt
As good as Koroisau was last week, Cleary was just as instrumental in the win. The young halfback controlled the game perfectly and threw the final pass for Viliame Kikau’s try. Hunt had a mixed game last week. He’s yet to reach the expectations many had when he moved to the Dragons, and the under-pressure halfback will need to lift his game against a Panthers side that will be playing with plenty of confidence.

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GAME DETAILS

The Dragons should be better than what they were a week ago, but the Panthers will take plenty of confidence from their impressive win over the Roosters.

Panthers by eight.

Date: Friday, March 20
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 6pm

 

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