Mark Barnes (NRL Allstars Podcast –@NRL_SC_Allstars) previews a crucial clash which could decide the top eight.
St. George Illawarra Dragons Vs Brisbane Broncos
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney.
Date: Saturday September 3, 5:30pm.
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Dragons: 1. Cody Ramsey 2. Tyrell Sloan 3. Mathew Feagai 4. Zac Lomax 5. Tautau Moga 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Jack de Belin 9. Jayden Sullivan 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Josh Mcguire 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack Bird 14. Tyrell Fuimaono 15. Jaiyden Hunt 16. Jackson Ford 17. Aaron Woods 18. Jack Gosiewski 19. Andrew McCullough 20. Poasa Faamausili 21. Joshua Coric 22. Josh Kerr
No changes from the Dragons’ winning 17 from last week.Embed from Getty Images
Broncos: 1. Te Maire Martin 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Delouise Hoeter 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Billy Walters 15. Keenan Palasia 16. Corey Jensen 17. Zac Hosking 18. Tesi Niu 19. Jordan Pereira 20. Cory Paix 21. Ezra Mam 22. Rhys Kennedy
In a huge boost, Pat Carrigan returns after a lengthy suspension and slots straight in at lock, replacing Kobe Hetherington (concussion). Ezra Mam has been dropped by coach Kevin Walters with Tyson Gamble starting in the halves. Selwyn Cobbo returns from his rest and replaces Jordan Pereira while Brenko Lee (hamstring) is replaced by Delousie Hoeter. Adam Reynolds is named but will need to pass concussion protocols to play.
Referee: Ben Cummins
The Brisbane Broncos’ finals hopes are remarkably no longer in their own hands after a dramatic late-season capitulation that’s been highlighted by conceding a combined 113 points over the past fortnight. They need to win here and hope the Raiders are upset by the Tigers in order to sneak into the finals. Alternatively, if the Raiders win the Broncos would still be an extreme outside chance of making the eight, provided they have a significant winning scoreline to overtake the Raiders’ superior points differential. Either way the goal for this week is simple for the Broncos – they have to win against the Dragons to play finals football.
The Broncos were sitting in the top four just five weeks ago, before a home loss to the wooden-spoon-bound Tigers kickstarted this poor run of form. The current slide culminated in a Round 24 thrashing at the hand of the Eels where they went down 53-6 in an embarrassing loss in front of their home crowd. Coach Kevin Walters has responded with changes but the biggest factor may be the health of star halfback Adam Reynolds. He still needs to pass protocols to take the field this round after suffering a concussion against the Eels where he only played 13 minutes. After only winning one of their last five and playing away from home, the Broncos seem long odds to conjure a final round victory if Reynolds is not firing.
Meanwhile, the St. George Illawarra Dragons will be aiming to end their season with a third consecutive win, which would see them finish with a 50% win record for the year. Anthony Griffin has kept the same Dragons 17 that beat the Tigers last week in a show of faith and also current form. If the Dragons are to come away with victory in their final game of 2022, it will likely be Ben Hunt leading the charge. He had a successful career at the Broncos before moving to the Dragons and he will be once again out to prove a point against his old club. Whilst the Dragons also have no shot at finals in 2022, Hunt is well in contention for his first Dally M medal which would be a rare feat considering where the Dragons sit on the ladder.
The Dragons’ home crowd at Kogarah will also be farewelling forwards Tariq Sims and Josh McGuire. Sims is unfortunately suspended for his final match in the Red V, however McGuire will certainly be looking to have a big game against one of his old clubs before departing. The Dragons forwards in general have been very solid of late, including Jack Bird who’s found remarkable late season form, moving to the 13 jumper at times. Against a Broncos pack who have largely been dominated post-Origin, the battle of the big boppers may very well lay the platform for the winning team.Embed from Getty Images
- The St. George Illawarra Dragons have won all four past battles at Kogarah vs the Broncos.
- Four of the Dragons starting 13 have played for the Broncos previously, three of whom signed directly from the Broncos to link with the Dragons.
- Tatau Moga has scored a try in four straight games and six tries in his four matches.
- The Broncos have only won one of their last five matches against the Dragons.
Dragons by seven.
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