2021 NRL Round Eight Preview, Dragons Vs Tigers

Brendan Wood previews the round eight clash between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Wests Tigers. This is what we have to look forward to.

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Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong Date: Sunday 2nd of May, Time: 4:05pm AEST


1. Matthew Dufty
2. Cody Ramsey
3. Jack Bird
4. Zac Lomax
5. Max Feagai
6. Corey Norman
7. Ben Hunt
8. Blake Lawrie
9. Andrew McCullough
10. Paul Vaughan
11. Josh Kerr
12. Tariq Sims
13. Tyrell Fuimaono
14. Adam Clune
15. Josh McGuire
16. Daniel Alvaro
17. Billy Burns
18. Kaide Ellis
19. Jackson Ford
20. Poasa Faamausili
21. Junior Amone

Team Changes

IN: Ben Hunt, Jackson Ford, Junior Amone, Max Feagai, Poasa Faamausili
OUT: Jordan Pereira, Mikaele Ravalawa


1. Daine Laurie
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Joseph Leilua
4. James Roberts
5. Tommy Talau
6. Adam Doueihi
7. Luke Brooks
8. James Tamou
9. Jake Simpkin
10. Alex Twal
11. Luke Garner
12. Luciano Leilua
13. Joe Ofahenghaue
14. Moses Mbye
15. Stefano Utoikamanu
16. Alex Seyfarth
17. Thomas Mikaele
18. Michael Chee Kam
19. Zane Musgrove
20. Tom Amone
21. Jacob Liddle

Team Changes

IN: Joseph Leilua, Thomas Mikaele, Tom Amone

Referee: Chris Sutton



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Ben Hunt has been named to return from a leg injury at halfback, meaning Adam Clune stays on bench. Mikaele Ravalawa and Jordan Pereira are both out suspended, with Max Feagai making his NRL debut on the wing. Cody Ramsey moves back to the other wing and Jack Bird is named to start in the centres after playing five-eighth last week. The Dragons are coming off a 34-10 loss to an understrength Roosters side last week. The week before they suffered a close 20-14 loss to a near perfect performance by the Warriors. They will be looking to get back in the winner’s circle against the Tigers, who are anchored to the bottom of the ladder.


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Joey Leilua returns in the centres in place of Michael Chee Kam, who drops to the reserves. Thomas Mikaele starts on the bench in place of Zane Musgrove who drops out of the side. Joe Ofahengaue moves from the second row to lock, with Luke Garner moving from the bench to the starting side. The Tigers were hammered 40-6 by Manly on ANZAC Day. In the week prior they suffered a heartbreaking loss in golden point to the Rabbitohs. With plenty of headlines regarding Michael Maguire’s position and the performance of the club, the Tigers will be desperate to get a win and to relieve some of the pressure building around the club.


This is the first meeting between these sides since round one last season at the same ground, with the Tigers grabbing a 24-14 win on that occasion. Much has changed since then. The Dragons have a new coach in Anthony Griffin, who has them playing confident football and sitting inside the top eight. The Tigers on the other hand have only won a single game and find themselves in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The return of Ben Hunt is a big addition for the home side. Since being given the captaincy, he has gone from strength to strength and it’s no secret he has been a key factor behind the success of the Dragons on-field performances. They have a 2-2 record without Hunt this year and are 2-1 with him. If he can find the same form he started the season with, the Dragons will be tough to beat at home. His combinations with Corey Norman and Andrew McCullough go back to their days playing under Griffin at the Broncos. Expect the Dragons attack to bounce back after scoring below 14 points in their last two games.

If the Tigers hope to cause an upset, solidifying their defence must be the focus. They were put to the sword by Tom Trbojevic last week, leaking 40 unanswered points after leading the game 6-0 early on. Coach Michael Maguire has made changes to strengthen the middle, dropping Zane Musgrove, moving Alex Twal to prop and Joe Ofahengaue from edge to lock. All eyes will be on the performance of Joey Leilua, named to return after being dropped in round three. He’ll have his hands full – lining up opposite Origin hopeful Zac Lomax. He’ll need to be on his game to ensure the Tigers edge defence isn’t exposed.


Since 1998, these two sides have played each other 38 times with the Dragons holding a slight lead in head to head record, 20 wins to the Tigers 18. Despite this, the Tigers have a good record at WIN Stadium, winning three of the four games they’ve played there.


Dragons by 12.

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