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2022 NRL Magic Round Preview, Titans Vs Dragons

Craig Cauchi previews the Saturday afternoon match between the Titans and the Dragons.

MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

Gold Coast Titans Vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Date: Saturday March 14 5:30pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Related: NRL Team List Tuesday

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Titans: 1. Jayden Campbell 2. Phillip Sami 3. Brian Kelly 4. Esan Marsters 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. AJ Brimson 7. Toby Sexton 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Erin Clark 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Isaac Liu 12. Beau Fermor 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Sam Lisone 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. Sam McIntyre 18. Greg Marzhew 19. Corey Thompson 20. Paul Turner 21. Jaimin Jolliffe 22. Aaron Booth 23. Sosefo Fifita 24. Kevin Proctor

Jayden Campbell returns to the starting side at fullback with two new wingers from last weeks result in Phillip Sami and Jamayne Isaako. Will Smith is out of the team with AJ Brimson wearing the 6 jersey. Esan Marsters has also been named in the centres. Kevin Proctor is relegated to the reserves with Isaac Liu moving into the second row and Jarrod Wallace starting at front row.

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Dragons: 1. Moses Mbye 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Jack de Belin 11. Jack Bird 12. Josh Mcguire 13. Tariq Sims 14. Jayden Sullivan 15. Blake Lawrie 16. Aaron Woods 17. Tyrell Fuimaono 18. George Burgess 19. Cody Ramsey 20. Jack Gosiewski 21. Tyrell Sloan 22. Josh Kerr 23. Jackson Ford 24. Tautau Moga

The Dragons made some late changes to their 17 before the match against Melbourne Storm and have named that 17 as their starting side. This includes Talatau Amone at five-eighth with Jayden Sullivan resuming his position as bench utility. Jack Bird returns to the second row with Tariq Sims at lock and Jack de Belin at front row.

Referee: Todd Smith

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

Both teams rank towards the bottom of the competition when it comes to defence despite playing in a couple of close matches throughout the season. Both come into this encounter having been convincingly beaten by two of the competitions better teams and certainly gives an indication that nothing is guaranteed in this match.

Ben Hunt has started the year in great form and has played a standout role in all Dragons victories. It’s why he currently sits near the top of the Dally M leaderboard and you can expect the experienced half to be leading his side with his kicking game when he returns to Suncorp. On the flip side, AJ Brimson has shown already this year that he has the ability to come up with match defining moments. His first touch of the ball for season 2022 saw him set up a try off the back of a 50 metre burst down field. The Dragons often employ a passive defensive style allowing for players like Brimson to exploit.

This is the first time the two teams have faced each other in Magic Round history. The past few encounters between these two teams has gone either way but when it comes to Magic Round, neither side has been able to get a victory on the weekend. The Titans failing to beat the Sharks and Panthers in the first two years while the Dragons came up short against the Warriors and Storm.

This match will see Jayden Campbell return to the starting side for the first time since their RD 3 clash. It’ll also be the second occasion this year that the fullback will link up with the halves he trained all pre-season with. Titans coach Justin Holbrook believed the teams best performances came in the first two rounds and lamented the absence of Campbell saying “that’s hurt us. So, it’s good to know we can get back to what we’ve practised all pre-season.”

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INTERESTING FACT

The Titans and Dragons have only played twice at Suncorp Stadium. The last time was behind closed doors during the 2020 season. The first occasion was a special night for the newly formed Gold Coast Titans. Their inaugural NRL match in 2007 was played in front of 42,000 spectators where they just came up short against St George Illawarra Dragons by 20-18.

Dragons second rower Josh McGuire notches up game 250 on Saturday night. His career began in 2009 for the Brisbane Broncos and included stints at the Cowboys before linking up with the Dragons last year.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Titans by 2

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