Round 6 Preview: Dragons v Sharks


St George Illawarra Dragons vs Cronulla Sharks
WIN Stadium
Friday, April 13th, 2018
7:55pm AEST, 9:55pm NZ

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
Interchange:
14 Jeremy Latimore,
15 Kurt Mann,
16 Leeson Ah Mau,
17 Hame Sele
Reserves: 18 Jacob Host, 19 Zachary Lomax
Sharks: 
1 Matt Moylan,
2 Edrick Lee,
3 Josh Dugan,
4 Ricky Leutele, 
5 Valentine Holmes,
6 Trent Hodkinson,
7 Chad Townsend,
8 Andrew Fifita,
9 Jayden Brailey,
10 Matt Prior,
11 Luke Lewis, 
12 Wade Graham (c),
13
 Paul Gallen (c)
Interchange: 14 Kurt Capewell,
15 Kurt Dillion,
16 Avagalu Seumanufagai,
17 Joseph Paulo
Reserves: 19 Jesse Ramien, 20 Jack Williams
Match Preview
The St George Illawarra Dragons are looking to make it 6-0 as they go up against a hungry Cronulla Sharks team who were brought crashing back down to Earth by the Roosters at home. Cronulla will be looking for a little bit of revenge after their round 2 loss at home to the Dragons, with Matt Moylan coming off a stunning performance last week in his first game in the number 1.
The Dragons only had the one change this week, with Hame Sele taking the interchange spot of Luciano Leilua. The Sharks on the other hand, have a host of changes with the return of Josh Dugan. Jesse Ramien is back onto the reserves despite his good form, with Moylan at fullback and Hodkinson staying at 5/8. Edrick Lee returns on the wing with Sosaia Feki out, as Kurt Dillon comes onto the bench for his debut.
Match-ups
The Battle of the Matt's
Matt Dufty has been in some sharp form to start the season for the Dragons, racking up 4 tries and 2 try assists in the first 5 rounds. Matt Moylan recaptured the form that we saw at Penrith last week, with his move to fullback looking like a stroke of genius by Shane Flanagan, despite the result. Both fullbacks can tear teams apart through the middle as well as providing the ball out wide for their outside back. It could very well be that the team with the more involved fullback wins here. 
NSW v QLD/UK 
The halves battle will always be crucial in any game, but some people seem to have forgotten what a few of these guys have done in their careers. Trent Hodkinson was part of the halves pairing with Josh Reynolds that won NSW only State of Origin series in the last 13 years. Ben Hunt has played for Australia. Gareth Widdop is the UK's best player and Chad Townsend has played over 100 games with impressive results. Some would say he is unlucky to have not been in the NSW team yet. 
Both halves combinations have different roles, with it producing great effect. Hunt's involvement allows Gareth Widdop to be more productive and fluent with his plays out the back or out wide. It's why he leads the NRL in 4 attacking statistics. Trent Hodkinson is a stable, no frills half that allows for Townsend and Moylan/Dugan to work their magic close to the line. It will be a great battle to watch.
Paul Gallen v Jack De Belin
We saw the return of the offlaoding, gut running Paul Gallen last week against the Roosters. We've seen Jack De Belin lose a little bit of output this year, but he is still in the conversation for a Blues jersey early on. It could be a bit of an audition, coming up against one of the great forwards in the 21st century. Both will only get 60 minutes as is it norm now, but their running through the guts will cause havoc either way.
Prediction
Both teams are eager to get the points. The Dragons want to continue making history. The Sharks need a win to stay in touch with the top 8. Nene MacDonald has been in great form, and sadly for some, he will continue it; as will the Dragons.
Dragons: 22-14 (Lafai first tryscorer) 
Chumpie 


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