Saturday’s (18/07/2015) third NRL 2015 Round 19 match is between St George Illawarra Dragons and South Sydney Rabbitohs. The opening bounce is set to commence at 19:35 local time with the game to be played at Sydney Cricket Ground. The away team South Sydney Rabbitohs are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between St George Illawarra Dragons and South Sydney Rabbitohs.
When: 19:35 | Saturday 18/07/2015
Where: Sydney Cricket Ground
Tip: South Sydney Rabbitohs at $1.38
Value Tip: First Tryscorer: Aaron Grey at $9.50
1 Josh Dugan 2. Justin Hunt 3. Euan Aitken 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Benji Marshall 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Mitch Rein 10. Ben Creagh 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Mike Cooper. Interchange: 14. George Rose 15. Will Mathews 16. Jake Marketo 17. Heath L’Estrange 18. Drew Hutchinson 19. Charly Runciman 20. Mark Ioane.
1 Greg Inglis 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dylan Walker 4. Bryson Goodwin 5. Aaron Gray 6. Luke Keary 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Tim Grant 11. Glenn Stewart 12. John Sutton 13. Chris McQueen. Interchange: 14 Dave Tyrell 15 Ben Lowe 16 Chris Grevsmuhl 17 Thomas Burgess.
St George Illawarra don’t have any more excuses.
Another loss this week and the Dragons will find themselves on a knife’s edge of dropping out of the NRL top eight.
Paul McGregor’s side led the competition just six weeks ago but have come crashing back to earth with four straight defeats.
Critics afforded them slack – the side’s injury toll and representative player drain played its part, with the Dragons missing nine first graders against North Queensland last week.
They will receive welcome relief this week with Joel Thompson (hamstring), Jason Nightingale (ankle) and Will Matthews (suspension) returning for Sunday’s local derby against Cronulla.
Josh Dugan suffered an arm injury in NSW’s State of Origin III loss on Wednesday night and will be monitored in the lead up, while fellow Blue Trent Merrin has been suspended for four weeks for a lifting tackle on Corey Parker.
McGregor points to the close nature of their last three losses – with each coming by six points or less.
However, he admits they need to start winning or risk jeopardising the good work done during their flying start to the season.
“You can look at the loss-win sheet and it’s very disappointing and there’s no hiding from that,” McGregor said.
“If you look at the scoreline, it’s a completely different picture.
“We’re getting beaten by a try each week. We’d like to turn that margin around and win by a try each week and we wouldn’t be talking about it.
“Reality is, the competition is very intense, competition is very tight and we put ourselves in a very good position with those eight out of nine wins.
“Now we’ve suffered those losses in a row and it brings you back.”
Should the Dragons go down to Cronulla at Remondis Stadium, the Sharks would draw level with them on 20 points.
The Dragons’ last win came against the Sharks, in a 42-6 drubbing at Jubilee Oval in round 13.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said his squad had spoken about the embarrassing defeat and were using it as motivation heading into Sunday’s clash.
“We’re coming off a loss to Manly and some good form before that,” Flanagan said.
“It wasn’t that long ago we were at Kogarah Oval and we were embarrassed by them in the second half, so the playing group’s talked about that already.”
STATS THAT MATTER
* St George Illawarra have dominated the match up in recent seasons, winning 10 of the last 13, including four of their last six at Remondis Stadium.
* The Dragons will be looking for four straight wins against the Sharks for just the third time.
* Paul McGregor’s side have lost four straight, scoring just 54 points in that period.
* Cronulla is being awarded the most penalties of any team receiving on average 8.3 per game.
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change