Craig Cauchi previews the second edition of the local derby between the Sharks and the Dragons. This is what we have to look forward to.
The Sharks put a disappointing loss to the Panthers behind them with a convincing win over the Warriors. If not for a final minute try to the Warriors they would be sitting in eighth position. If they can reproduce the same effort from last week a victory should be enough to see them climb into the top eight.
St George Illawarra Dragons
The Dragons have won their last two matches in a row with last weeks victory over the Bulldogs a revenge of sorts for their Round 4 loss. The Dragons will be looking to recapture the same form and performance they put in against Manly and looking to fix a few gaps in their middle defence.
1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Dugan 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Siosifa Talakai 12. Wade Graham 13. Toby Rudolf 14. Connor Tracey 15. Jack Williams 16. Teig Wilton 17. Royce Hunt 18. Billy Magoulias 19. Bryson Goodwin 20. Daniel Vasquez 21. Braydon Trindall
Scott Sorenson and Briton Nikora are out due to injury and suspension. Toby Rudolph starts at lock along side Siosifa Talakai at second row. Jack Williams and debutant Teig Wilton have been added to the bench.
St George Illawarra Dragons
1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jason Saab 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. Tyrell Fuimaono 13. Cameron McInnes 14. Trent Merrin 15. Josh Kerr 16. Jacob Host 17. Jackson Ford 18. Eddie Blacker 19. Tristan Sailor 20. Billy Brittain 21. Korbin Sims
Tariq Sims has been suspended for a match with Tyrell Fuimaono returning to the starting side. Jacob Host has been named on the bench.
St George Illawarra Dragons have won 4 of the last 6 encounters; though, in 2019 Cronulla won both games against their local rivals. With the Sharks taking their home match to the ancestral home ground for the Dragons.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Paul Vaughan has been immense for the Dragons in their turn around in form. His work ethic through the middle has seen him churn through 150+ metres a game. For the season he’s averaging 166 run metres a match and more importantly, adds a steel to their middle defence with his tackle efficiency in the mid 90s. The only area that he’s been down on in 2020 is his try scoring tally, yet to get the ball over the line.
Braden Hamlin-Uele has scored the first try in three of the last four matches. He has been damaging up the middle of the field and should find plenty of space behind the ruck. The Dragons have leaked some simple tries up the middle and will need to be at their best to keep the Shark forward from touching down again. The Dragons blunted the Sharks forward pack in the first encounter and Hamlin-Uele has the ability to create breaks and half chances with simple runs. It’s off the back of the momentum he will generate that will have the Sharks rolling down the field.
The Sharks have been inconsistent and came up against a Warriors side that was low on effort. The Dragons had a big win over Manly, in a match that was described as Manly’s worst. As long as the Sharks can have high completions, they should have more points than the Dragons.
Sharks by 14
Date: Saturday 25th, July
Venue: Nestrata Jubilee Stadium