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St. George Illawarra Dragons
St. George Illawarra Dragons
It’s the NRL’s annual Queen’s Birthday match as the Canterbury Bulldogs take on the St George Illawarra Dragons on Monday afternoon. Join The Roar for live scores as Round 14 wraps up from 4pm (AEST).
Today is a vital day for the Dragons. Currently sitting eighth, there are remarkably just two premiership points between them and the 14th-placed Knights. It’s their comparatively strong points-for standing, courtesy of last week’s 52-24 thrashing of the Broncos, that has secured their position, and will see them leapfrog the Cowboys and perhaps even Manly with a win today.
The unwanted Matt Dufty shone against Brisbane with two tries and five assists, but Anthony Griffin would have been less impressed with the Dragons’ leaky defence. That hasn’t been too great a concern for much of the season, but the coach will be keen for an improvement against another lowly outfit.
This match has the potential to separate the Dragons from the chasing pack: lose, and the jungle drums will start beating in earnest. Tariq Sims has been named in the reserves backing up from Wednesday’s Origin series opener, but Griffin has stated that the second-rower will start on Monday. Otherwise, the Dragons head in unchanged from the side that dismantled the Broncos.
The Bulldogs’ own defence hasn’t been horrific this season: it’s been their attack that will be giving Trent Barrett sleepless nights. They’ve scored just 134 points across twelve rounds, nearly 100 behind the next-worst Knights (albeit with two games in hand), and have struggled mightily to simply put points on the board.
Last week’s bye should leave them refreshed and ready to try and add to their single win in the second half of the year. Fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is a major absentee with a lingering foot injury, meaning Tui Katoa will take on the job. Jeremy Marshall-King returns from his own foot injury, but the Dogs’ lack of Origin selections means there should be no last-minute surprises.
21. Tuipulotu Katoa, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Will Hopoate, 4. Aaron Schoupp, 5. Nick Meaney, 6. Brandon Wakeham, 7. Jake Averillo, 8. Jack Hetherington, 9. Jeremy Marshall-King, 10. Luke Thompson, 11. Adam Elliott, 12. Matt Doorey, 13. Josh Jackson (c)
Bench/Reserves: 14. Sione Katoa, 15. Dylan Napa, 16. Ava Seumanufagai | 19. Kyle Flanagan, 20. Corey Waddell, 23. Chris Smith
1. Matt Dufty, 2. Cody Ramsey, 3. Brayden Wiliame, 4. Gerard Beale, 5. Mikaele Ravalawa, 6. Corey Norman, 7. Ben Hunt (c), 8. Blake Lawrie, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Josh Kerr, 12. Jack Bird, 13. Jackson Ford
Bench/Reserves: 14. Talatau Amone, 15. Poasa Faamausili, 16. Daniel Alvaro, 17. Jack De Belin | 19. Kaide Ellis, 20. Tariq Sims