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2020 NRL Round Nine Preview, Dragons Vs Sea Eagles

Craig Cauchi previews the clash between St George Illawarra Dragons and Manly Sea Eagles. This is what we have to look forward to.

FORM LINE

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St George Illawarra Dragons

After a run of two victories the Dragons came crashing back to reality with loses to last years grand finalists. They gave themselves chances in both encounters to snatch an unlikely victory and there is still plenty to take away from their performances and fine tune for the next stretch of matches.

Manly Sea Eagles

Manly rebounded off the back of a poor performance against the Sharks with a much closer defeat to Newcastle. The Sea Eagles were back in front of their home fans and put in a spirited display despite their patchy attack. Their roster will once again be put to the test and once again will smarting after another controversial ending to their match.

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SQUAD NEWS

St George Illawarra Dragons

1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Euan Aitken 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Adam Clune 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Ben Hunt 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. Cameron McInnes 14. Trent Merrin 15. Josh Kerr 16. Tyrell Fuimaono 17. Jackson Ford 18. Tim Lafai 19. Tristan Sailor 20. Jason Saab 21. Korbin Sims

Jordan Pereira returns from suspension to a starting spot on the wing pushing Jason Saab into the reserves. Tariq Sims returns from injury with Tyrell Fuimaono and Trent Merrin starting off the bench. The big change is in the hooker position with Ben Hunt named to start at no. 9 and captain Cameron McInnes named to start at lock.

Manly Sea Eagles

1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Tevita Funa 6. Lachlan Croker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Cade Cust 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Sean Keppie 17. Morgan Boyle 18. Corey Waddell 19. Brendan Elliot 20. Abbas Miski 21. Haumole Olakau’atu

Taniela Paseka starts at prop for the suspended Addin Fonua-Blake. Morgan Boyle has been added to the bench in the only other change from last week.

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KEY STAT

St George Illawarra enjoyed a four match winning run against the Sea Eagles before their Round 14 clash last year. The Sea Eagles put in a strong second half performance to beat the Dragons 34-14. That victory came off the back of a strong performance from Tom Trbojevic. This time they’ll need to do it without him, and a few other players, if they wish to start a steak of their own.

BATTLE TO WATCH

The Dragons defence has been exposed up the middle in the last few matches – especially towards the end of halves. The damage Martin Taupau can cause, not only with his running metres but his offloads will be extreme in creating the momentum Manly need to get the team on the front foot in attack. He is averaging 113 running metres a match and has 11 offloads to his name this season. With the absence of Fonua-Blake he’ll be looking to churn out bigger numbers.

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Adam Clune’s numbers in receiving the ball is climbing each week as he looks to take more control of the team. He has brought a directness to the Dragons attack that has been missing and has started combining with his left side attackers. Most of the Dragons tries have come on the right side of the field and have been through the hands of Dufty. While the Dragons need to look at ways of getting their fullback involved, part of that will come down to how Clune gets the left side attack firing.

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GAME DETAILS

Date:  Sunday, 12th July
Venue: Nestrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 6:30pm

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