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2021 NRL Round 24 Preview, Dragons Vs Cowboys

Joshua Knox previews the clash between St George-Illawarra Dragons and North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday afternoon. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Browne Park, Date: 28/08, Time: 3pm

Dragons Team

1. Tyrell Sloan
2. Mathew Feagai
3. Jack Bird
4. Zac Lomax
5. Mikaele Ravalawa
6. Talatau Amone
7. Corey Norman
8. Blake Lawrie
9. Jayden Sullivan
10. Josh McGuire
11. Billy Burns
12. Tariq Sims
13. Jack De Belin
14. Freddy Lussick
15. Tyrell Fuimaono
16. Daniel Alvaro
17. Jackson Ford
18. Kaide Ellis
19. Poasa Faamausili
20. Gerard Beale
21. Josh Kerr

Team Changes

IN: Blake Lawrie, Freddy Lussick, Gerard Beale, Tyrell Sloan
OUT: Matthew Dufty

Cowboys Team

1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
2. Kyle Feldt
3. Valentine Holmes
4. Ben Hampton
5. Murray Taulagi
6. Scott Drinkwater
7. Tom Dearden
8. Jason Taumalolo
9. Reece Robson
10. Jordan McLean
11. Ben Condon
12. Heilum Luki
13. Reuben Cotter
14. Jake Granville
15. Jeremiah Nanai
16. Mitchell Dunn
17. Griffin Neame
18.Tom Gilbert
19. Daejarn Asi
20. Francis Molo
21. Laitia Moceidreke

Team Changes

IN: Griffin Neame, Jason Taumalolo, Kyle Feldt, Murray Taulagi, Tom Gilbert
OUT: Coen Hess, Connelly Lemuelu

Referee: Peter Gough

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Dragons

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The Dragons were game in defeat last time out despite the 40-22 score line against them at the hands of the Sydney Roosters. Four tries in a 15 minute period in the second half sniffed out any chance of an upset and left the side searching for answers. It gave the Dragons an unwanted sixth consecutive defeat since their last win at the beginning of July.

In some news set to excite the Dragons fans, their spine will be made up of three exciting young prospects with Tyrell Sloan named in the fullback jersey, Talatau Amone keeping the #6 jersey following a starring role in last weeks match. The surprising one however is young Jayden Sullivan being named in the hooking role for the first time in his short NRL career. It could prove a masterstroke from coach Anthony Griffin but it could also expose some defensive efficiencies through the middle of the field.

In other changes, the Dragons welcome back Blake Lawrie to the starting side with Jack De Belin shifting to lock to accommodate Lawrie’s return. Tariq Sims moves from lock to his preferred position on an edge and Josh McGuire’s short stint at hooker is over after just one game. Freddy Lussick joins the bench after agreeing to a loan from the Roosters for the remainder of the season.

Cowboys

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The Cowboys became victims of a Parramatta Eels team trying to find their groove before finals as they fell to a 32-16 defeat. It was the tenth consecutive defeat for Todd Payton’s men who have fallen to 15th on the ladder after the Broncos win last round. It leaves the Cowboys in a terrible position considering halfway through the season they were sitting in the lower half of the bottom eight and dreaming of finals football.

The Cowboys welcome back some cavalry with Jason Taumalolo named to return from a broken hand in the front row. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow is again named in the fullback role ahead of the experienced Valentine Holmes. Holmes shifts to the unusual position of the centres which could become his new role heading into next season.

In other changes, Griffin Neame returns from suspension to join the interchange while Kyle Feldt and Murray Taulagi have both been named to return from injury to give the outside back stocks a huge boost seeing Laitia Moceidreke drop to the reserves after grabbing a try on debut.

PREVIEW

The Dragons have cast one eye to the future in dropping Bulldogs bound Matt Dufty to accommodate young gun Tyrell Sloan’s return to the top grade. With Norman also leaving the club at years end, Talatau Amone has taken his jersey and put in some stellar performances early on in his short career. Mathematically, the Dragons can still play finals footy but it would take nothing short of a miracle for a dream to become reality.

The Cowboys on the other hand are out of the running to play finals football and therefore can show their hand on the selection table to have their best side ready to turn out at the beginning of 2021. The naming of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow ahead of Valentine Holmes at the back is a big nod of confidence for the young flyer with the jersey seemingly his to lose.

St George will need to come out and start this one strongly through their forwards to allow their younger excitement machines to be able to impact the game. If the Cowboys get ahold of the middle battle early on, it may spell trouble for the Dragons side. Jason Taumalolo and Jordan McLean up against Josh McGuire and Jack De Belin will be an intriguing watch on Saturday afternoon.

KEY STAT

The Dragons proved too strong for the Cowboys in round two this season grabbing a 25-18 win in Townsville. A Corey Norman field goal on the siren proving the difference. Mikaele Ravalawa scored in the win and has now scored in his past two matches to take his tally to 10 tries for the season.

PREDICTION

St George-Illawarra’s slim finals hopes rely on this being a win… and a big one at that while hoping for other teams to stumble. Expect North Queensland to try and avoid finishing in 15th position come seasons end. In saying that, the Cowboys have lost ten straight, expect it to become 11.

Dragons by 4

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Comments (1)

  1. Frank Timothy

    Titans out- played by Knights. Titans expected to lead both first half and second half. Supposed to dominate the full 80 minutes. Bad luck!!

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