2023 NRL Preview Round 2: Dragons v Titans

Dylan Jhugroo previews the Round 2 clash between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Gold Coast Titans.

MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

St George Illawarra Dragons Vs Gold Coast Titans
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Date: Sunday March 12, 6:15pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Jayden Sullivan 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Moses Mbye 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Ben Murdoch-Masila 12. Jaydn Su’a 13. Jack Bird 14. Jacob Liddle 15. Zane Musgrove 16. Toby Couchman 17. Michael Molo 18. Josh Kerr 19. Billy Burns 20. Max Feagai 21. Talatau Amone 22. Aaron Woods

Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Aaron Schoupp 4. Phillip Sami 5. Jojo Fifita 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Jaimin Jolliffe 9. Sam Verrills 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Joe Stimson 13. Isaac Liu 14. Jayden Campbell 15. Moeaki Fotuaika 16. Erin Clark 17. Sam McIntyre 18. Chris Randall 19. Treymain Spry 20. Klese Haas 21. Keano Kini 22. Toby Sexton

Referee: Chris Sutton

Embed from Getty Images

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

The only team yet to kick off their 2023 season will do so on Sunday, as the much-maligned St George Illawarra Dragons play host to a Gold Coast Titans side that’s high on confidence. The Titans impressed last week, putting their ‘underdogs’ tag aside to gain a valuable two points at Leichhardt Oval. The Gold Coast side seemed to finally implement a gameplan to utilise their most powerful weapons, with David Fifita, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, and AJ Brimson running for a combined 536 meters.

As for the Dragons, the joint venture delivered an uninspiring performance in the pre-season Charity Shield match, conceding 42 points to the South Sydney Rabbitohs, while making 16 errors. But the Dragons did manage 24 points of their own, and will have had over three weeks of preparation time before Sunday’s clash. With the pressure on Anthony Griffin’s role as coach being the worst kept secret in rugby league, there’s no doubt the experienced campaigner will have spent that time working on as many of those problem areas as possible.

A position of interest for both teams this week is the number six jumper. Talatau Amone was cleared from the NRL’s ‘No-Fault Stand Down Policy’ on Tuesday, with the 20-year-old being named on the reserves this week. On the other side of the park, veteran half Kieran Foran was ‘expected to miss 2-4 weeks’ (@NRLphysio) after suffering damage to his knee last week, but has been named to start. If he fails to make it through training, expect AJ Brimson to take the six jumper, with Jayden Campbell at fullback and Chris Randall/Toby Sexton in the utility role.

And to add a feel-good moment to the fixture, 19-year-old local junior Toby Couchman will make his NRL debut off the bench on Sunday, after being elevated into the club’s top 30 squad on Tuesday.

KEY POSITIONAL MATCHUP: It’s a tale of two halfbacks this week, with Tanah Boyd taking on a man 10 years and 250 games his senior in Ben Hunt. The Dragons skipper had arguably his best season to date in 2022, and despite only finishing third in the Dally M standings, amassed a total that would have seen him win it in six of the last 10 years. But with doubts surrounding whether he can carry the Dragons on his back for another season, Hunt will have a point to prove this year.

Tanah Boyd will be looking to continue cementing his spot as the Titans halfback, with the former Australian Schoolboys number seven winning the jersey in Round 21 last year, and not looking back since. His long-standing relationship with barnstorming backrower Fifita is a vital one, and it’s one the Dragons will have to have on their tip sheet if they’re to get a result out of this game.

UNDER PRESSURE: Fullback Tyrell Sloan has long been touted as one of the best prospects to come through the Dragons system since Mark Gasnier, but the 20-year-old has struggled to get regular first-grade opportunities since coming into the NRL. With Cody Ramsey unfortunately sidelined for the season with illness, Sloan gets first crack at the fullback spot. But with Anthony Griffin’s track record of preferring experience over youth, Sloan cannot afford to start slowly.

LAST TEN MATCHES

Dragons 6, Titans 4.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Titans by six points.

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar
    Charlie Huria

    Please confirm if Titan lead in halftime and second half dragons came from behind and won the game

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