2022 NRL Round 23 Preview, Dragons Vs Titans

Craig Cauchi previews a match between a side trying to avoid the wooden spoon and another trying to finish the season off on a high.

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MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

St George Illawarra Dragons Vs Gold Coast Titans
Venue: WIN Stadium
Date: Sunday August 21, 2:00pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Related: NRL Team List Tuesday

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Dragons: 1. Cody Ramsey 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Mbye 4. Zac Lomax 5. Tautau Moga 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Jack de Belin 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Josh Mcguire 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack Bird 14. Tyrell Fuimaono 15. Aaron Woods 16. Michael Molo 17. Billy Burns 18. Jaiyden Hunt 19. Jayden Sullivan 20. Francis Molo 21. Tyrell Sloan 22. Jackson Ford

The same 17 that played Canberra have been named to back up. Jayden Sullivan looks set to return from injury with the back up hooker in line for a potential recall to the bench in place of Tyrell Fuimaono, who was named last week but got no game time. Francis Molo is also a chance of returning from injury.

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Titans: 1. Jayden Campbell 2. Sosefo Fifita 3. Phillip Sami 4. Brian Kelly 5. Patrick Herbert 6. AJ Brimson 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Jaimin Jolliffe 9. Erin Clark 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Isaac Liu 14. Greg Marzhew 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Moeaki Fotuaika 17. Sam McIntyre 18. Corey Thompson 19. Jarrod Wallace 20. Toby Sexton 21. Paul Turner 22. Klese Haas

Titans skipper Tino Fa’asuamaleaui has been named at prop, returning to the side after a weeks absence and pushing Jarrod Wallace back to the reserves.

Referee: Liam Kennedy

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

The last time these two teams met was back in magic round more than 12 weeks ago. It was a tight fought match that saw plenty of changes of the lead and even after 80 minutes the teams could not be separated. It took a 90th minute try to Jamayne Isaako in order to break the deadlock and hand the Titans their third win of the season. It also signified their first win on the magic round weekend while the Dragons are still zero losses from three starts. From that point though the two teams seasons have gone in vastly different trajectories. The Dragons have been battling it out for a bottom eight spot while the Titans went on a ten game losing streak.

The Dragons came very close to running down the Raiders last Sunday afternoon. For most of the match the Dragons looked slow – especially around the middle ruck – and if not for their two halves they wouldn’t have been in a position to win the game at the end. It helped that the Raiders dropped off a little. There’s no denying that last Sunday was one of Talatau Amone’s best games of first grade. The rookie half looked confident from the outset and that flowed into his style of play scoring three tries and setting up another.

The Titans alleviated a little pressure with a thumping win over Manly Sea Eagles showing form that bellied their low position on the ladder. The victory moved them off the bottom and was a sign of their potential when they get things right. Beau Fermor was once again strong for the Titans and the link play between the crucial spine players allowed for plenty of space for their quick backs to take advantage of. This late in the season, the Titans won’t be too concerned about leaking 24 points as long as they can continue to score 40+ each week and avoid the wooden spoon.

Titans skipper Tino Fa’asuamaleaui will be a huge inclusion especially coming up against an opposition that has leaked plenty of running metres. Last week Josh Papalii had a strong game through the middle of the field against the Dragons and danger signs will be ringing if they let the Titans prop forward have the same impact. Firstly, the Titans have far too much strike power to be allowed into good field position and his offloads will allow Jayden Campbell to hurt the Dragons. The Titans fullback was the best on field in the last encounter between these two sides. To combat this, the Dragons need more out of dummy half. Until the Raiders took the foot off the pedal, the Dragons lacked any speed in the ruck, which severely hampered their halves ability to set up any opportunities. That was despite the two halves playing starring roles in the match.

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INTERESTING FACT

The Sunday Afternoon clash will be former Tigers, Bulldogs, and Sharks front rower Aaron Wood’s 250th game in the NRL.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Dragons by 4

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