Round 5 Preview: St George Illawara Dragons vs South Sydney Rabbitohs

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St George Illawarra Dragons vs South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Venue: Jubilee Oval.
Date: Friday, April 6th.
Time: 7:50pm.

St George Illawarra Dragons: 
  1. Matthew Dufty
  2. Nene Macdonald
  3. Euan Aitken
  4. Tim Lafai
  5. Jason Nightingale
  6. Gareth Widdop (c)
  7. Ben Hunt
  8. James Graham
  9. Cameron McInnes
  10. Paul Vaughan
  11. Tyson Frizell
  12. Tariq Sims
  13. Jack De Belin
  1. Luciano Leilua
  2. Kurt Mann
  3. Leeson Ah Mau 
  4. Hame Sele
  1. Jeremy Latimore
  2. Zachary Lomax
  3. Jacob Host
  4. Blake Lawrie
South Sydney Rabbitohs:
  1. Alex Johnston
  2. Dane Gagai
  3. Greg Inglis (c)
  4. Hymel Hunt
  5. Robert Jennings
  6. Cody Walker
  7. Adam Reynolds
  8. Thomas Burgess
  9. Damien Cook
  10. Sam Burgess
  11. John Sutton
  12. Angus Crichton
  13. Cameron Murray
  1. Adam Doueihi
  2. Mark Nicholls
  3. George Burgess
  4. Tevita Tatola
  1. Robbie Farah
  2. Jason Clark
  3. Braidon Burns
  4. Kyle Turner

Game Preview:
This is a game I’m pretty excited to have gotten the preview for. By far one of the biggest rivalries in NRL history, and it’s an exciting one to come. We have one of the best games on the NRL calendar to come. Get excited! 

The Rabbitohs have been by far the hardest team to tip this year. They’ve had a big win against a strong Manly team, a lucky escape against the Bulldogs and then a last gasp defeat to the Panthers. They’ve been a nightmare team to tip. They take on the top of the table Dragons who have been by far the best team in the opening month of the season. This is a game many would expect to be a walk in the park for the Dragons, but the Rabbitohs are one team you just can’t quite write off, not after the wacky season start they’ve had. And lucky for them, they get their superstar halfback back for this game! 

The Dragons are on fire! Pun intended! They haven’t looked like losing and right now are clear Premiership favourites. The new recruits are fitting in perfectly and making a huge impact, with Ben Hunt looking like he’s Gareth Widdop’s sidekick, and James Graham bringing a serious amount of aggression and leadership to a forward pack who only six months ago was known to be well and truly underperforming. However we all know what the Dragons are like. Fast to start, quick to drop! Three straight seasons they came out strong in the opening two months and three straight seasons they dropped off and bombed out.

Key Match Ups.

Match Up #1: Cameron McInnes vs Damien Cook.

This is by far the most important match up I’ve done in 2018 so far. This right here is in my opinion the battle of the #9 NSW Blues jersey! 

Damien Cook has been a big reason to why the Rabbitohs are enjoying some success so far. Although not brilliant, a lot of the Rabbitohs success is owed to Cook. Offensively he is lightning out of dummy half, finding holes left, right and centre and knowing exactly where to put the ball when he’s not running it himself. Watch Cook be a big reason to the Rabbitohs winning if they are to come away with the win.

The second best hooker of 2018 so far in my opinion behind Cook. Cameron McInnes hasn’t been as much of a flare for the Dragons this year, but this is mainly due to him not needing to be as heavily relied upon. It doesn’t however mean he’s not doing his job, because he’s doing it perfectly. His direction is marvellous and the biggest reason to why I think the Dragons forwards are dominating. His defence is even better, and this game won’t show anything different. Expect a big game from him.

Match Up #2: Adam Reynolds vs Ben Hunt.

Adam Reynolds is going to be heavily relied upon in this game, and he will need to produce an Origin worthy performance to knock off the undefeated Dragons. Fresh off the back of a stint on the sideline, be ready to see Reynolds come out of the blocks ready to rumble.

Ben Hunt.... wow. Hasn’t he been sensational?! A signing many non Dragons fans bagged last year has proven to be a missing piece for the Dragons. Already up there for signing of the year, Hunt has been consistent in his performances for the Dragons and that’ll need to continue against a Rabbitohs team who will be desperate to hand his Dragons their first loss!

Match Up #3: Alex Johnston vs Matt Dufty.

Johnston has surprisingly been pretty good for the Rabbitohs at fullback. He’s still learning the trade and will take time to become a serious threat there, but he’s most definitely been doing a decent job so far in 2018. He is however taking on the best fullback in 2018 so far, and Johnston will need to play his best game ever in the #1 jersey if the Rabbitohs are going to have a chance.

Boy what a revelation Matt Dufty has been! Not many people were convinced on him being the Dragons future fullback to build around, but he’s started the season in sensational form! His offence has been second to none and in all his games so far in 2018 he has been a critical reason to the Dragons being 4-0. Expect to see Dufty keep this going against the Rabbitohs.

Stonecold’s Prediction: Dragons by 10.
I see this game being closer than many predict, however the form the Dragons have been in will get the better of Souths. Watch the Dragons come away with the 2 points this weekend.



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