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St George-Illa. Vs. Canberra
2015 NRL Premiership Season, 18 May, 2015
|WIN Stadium, Wollongong, NSW|
|St George-Illa. 32 defeated Canberra 18|
|Referee: Cummins, B|
|Touch judges: Younis, J & Ryan, D|
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The Canberra Raiders are seeking their fourth straight victory as they face another side exceeding expectations in 2015, the St George Illawarra Dragons in a much-anticipated clash at WIN Stadium. Join The Roar from 1.50pm (AEST) for live scores and coverage.
At the start of 2015, this fixture would likely have been seen as a mediocre game.
However, both sides have overachieved in 2015 and are the two most improved sides in the competition compared to last year; The Dragons have risen eight places from their 2014 finish of 11th, while the Raiders have moved up ten spots from 15th.
This game will go some way in determining which of these two improving sides are the more likely to challenge the competition heavyweights come September.
The Dragons are looking to bounce back after a six game winning streak came to an end in a 16-10 defeat to South Sydney last Monday.
Their streak began in round three with a come-from-behind victory over the Raiders.
The Dragons team is unchanged, with Josh Dugan formally named at fullback this week after a highly impressive performance, despite not being fully fit in their defeat to South Sydney.
The Raiders make one crucial change with Mitch Cornish coming back into the halves as Sam Williams recovers from a collapsed lung. David Shillington has been named as 18th man after recovering from a broken thumb.
Cornish’s halves partner on Sunday, Blake Austin has been terrorising the competition in 2015, emerging as a genuine chance to be selected as an Origin bolter. He has scored five tries in his last two competitive fixtures and will be the main concern for the Dragons’ number one ranked defence.
This match pits the competitions best attack (Raiders: 211 points scored) against the best defence (Dragons: 102 points conceded).
The Dragons’ defence should contain the Raiders attack to an extent, but if anyone’s going to pile on points on them at the moment, its Blake Austin.
Raiders by 2.
In any case, it should be compelling viewing so join The Roar from 1:50 (AEST) to follow our live coverage, and remember to leave your comments as the game progresses.