MATCH PREVIEW | St George Illawarra Dragons vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

Craig Cauchi previews the last match of a shortened Super Saturday between the St George Illawarra Dragons and Manly Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium.

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St George Illawarra Dragons

After a disappointing first two matches, the Dragons have turned things around recently with three successive wins. Their first two victories came off the back of Corey Norman field goals, one of them coming in the final minutes of extra time, but their last match was a more convincing effort against the Bulldogs.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

The Sea Eagles started the year off with back-to-back losses but have quickly improved that record on the back of three impressive victories. There golden point victory over South Sydney was in between to convincing victories over New Zealand and Newcastle with there success coming off the back of the strong form by half Daly Cherry Evans.

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St George Illawarra Dragons

The Dragons will enter the game with the same 17 that defeated the Bulldogs 40-4 on Sunday afternoon. Jack De Belin’s attempts to fight the no-fault stand down policy has failed to reach a verdict in time for the naming of the side.

St George Illawarra Dragons squad: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Euan AItken 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes (c) 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. Blake Lawrie INTERCHANGE: 14. Jeremy Latimore 15. Zac Lomax 16. Jacob Host 17. Luciano Leilua RESERVES: 18. Mitchell Allgood 19. Jai Field 20. Lachlan Timm 21. Jonus Pearson

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Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

Manly Sea Eagles have named Addin Fonua-Blake to their starting side in the hope that they will be successful in their attempt to downgrade his charge for a high tackle on Newcastle Knight’s half Mitchell Pearce. After celebrating Daly Cherry-Evans 200 match with a victory, they’ll be hoping to do the same for Jake Trbojevic who notches up game 100 on Saturday night.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles squad: 1. Brendan Elliot 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Moses Suli 4. Brad Parker 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kane Elgey 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic INTERCHANGE 14. Manase Fainu 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Corey Waddell 17. Toafofoa Sipley RESERVE: 18. Kelepi Tanginoa 19. Sam Smith 20. Morgan Boyle 21. Trent Hodkinson


St George Illawarra Dragons have won the last 4 from 5 matches, including their last 3, against Manly Sea Eagles. The last time these two teams played was in round 15 at WIN Stadium with the Dragons taking a 32-8 victory on that occasion. At that stage of the season, the Dragons were two clear on top and was just before they began their slide down the ladder. The Sea Eagles will be motivated to change this recent trend with their fourth victory of the season.


Much of the intrigue around this contest will be between the two halves, Daly Cherry-Evans and Ben Hunt. Origin aside, it has been clear from recent results that when both these players have strong games that the rest of the team thrives around them. Both number 7’s will look to build and stick to what’s gotten them into the form they’re currently showing, with Cherry-Evans looking to control the team around the park and Hunt providing clear direction and strong runs. Their ability to play their game will come down to how their halves partner in Norman and Elgey will compliment and remove the pressure for them. Both teams halves took a few rounds to find their feet but on the back of victories they have started to gel together.

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The contest between props Paul Vaughan and Addin Fonua-Blake should be an exciting one, if it is to go ahead. If Blake is successful at the judiciary then we will get to see a strong contest between two forwards who have been damaging in the opening month of the season. Paul Vaughan has been the Dragons best and continues to lay a strong platform. While Blake is another youngster looking to provide the same impact that the likes of Vaughan and Graham have provided for many years. If Blake does not take his spot in the team, then another forward needs to step into the aggressor role to allow players like Jake Trbojevic and Cherry-Evans to find space in the middle.


Date: 20th April, 2019
Venue: WIN Stadium
Kick-off: 7:35pm


The two teams have had very similar seasons, which has put them in good stead to add to their confidence with a series of victories on the run. The Sea Eagles have been impressive and are combining well, while the Dragons have had to grind out two important wins before releasing the shackles on Sunday afternoon. These closer encounters might just give the Dragons the advantage in this one. Dragons by 2.


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