Round 8 Dragons vs Roosters ANZAC Day Cup Preview

St George Illawarra Dragons vs Sydney Roosters
Allianz Stadium
Wednesday, April 25th, 2018
4:10pm AEST, 6:10pm NZ

Team Lists
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
14 Jeremy Latimore, 
15 Kurt Mann, 
6 Leeson Ah Mau, 
17 Jacob Host
Reserves: 18 Hame Sele, 19 Zachary Lomax, 20 Mitchell Allgood, 21 Reece Robson
1 James Tedesco, 
2 Joseph Manu, 
3 Latrell Mitchell, 
4 Mitchell Aubusson, 
5 Blake Ferguson, 
6 Luke Keary, 
7 Cooper Cronk,
 8 Zane Tetevano, 
9 Jake Friend (c), 
10 Dylan Napa, 
11 Boyd Cordner (c), 
12 Ryan Matterson, 
13 Isaac Liu
14 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 
15 Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 
16 Nat Butcher, 
17 Victor Radley
Reserves: 18 Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 19 Sitili Tupouniua, 20 Kurt Baptiste, 21 Reece Robinson
Match Preview
"At the going down of the sun, we will remember them". 
ANZAC Day has been a staple in the NRL for years now, and this game looks to be a ripper of a contest. The Dragons will be looking to get some revenge at the Roosters expense after the Warriors managed to get through with a win. The Roosters will be looking to go back-to-back, after a grinding win against a disappointing Bulldogs outfit last week. 
The Dragons have won 10 out of the last 16 ANZAC day clashes, with the Roosters wanting to buck the trend here. The Dragons made just the one change, with Jacob Host coming into the 17 for Hame Sele. The Roosters welcome back Sio Siua Taukeiaho from injury, with Frank-Paul Nuuausala moving into the reserves in an otherwise unchanged line up. 
Key Match Ups
Teddy vs Dufty
The battle of the fullback will be the one to watch, with Tedesco looking to cement his spot in the NSW number 1 jersey for Origin this year. Matt Dufty is somewhat in the conversation after his start to the season, with the relative newbie firing on all cylinders so far. Tedesco has had the luxury of not having to carry a team on his back this year, which has allowed him more freedom. In saying that, it means he doesn't get as much ball. He will be looking to turn on the jets and scream through the Dragons defense to bring home the bacon for the Roosters and for the fullback spot come Origin. 
Battle of QLD
Cooper Cronk vs Ben Hunt. The former QLD half against the man who could be playing himself into the number 7 spot come Origin. Cronk has been in some decent form since moving from the Storm, despite what the scores may be telling people. Ben Hunt has been in career best form down at St George, combining incredibly with Gareth Widdop and Matt Dufty. Hunt and Cronk have been the controlling halves at their respective clubs, with Hunt also having the ability to dart through the defense for a try. Whoever has the better 7 this week will win. 
Matterson vs Sims
Ryan Matterson has been in the form of his life, crushing it for the Roosters. Tariq Sims has had a career resurgence since coming down to St George. Both men are capable of bruising hits as well as getting across the line. It's not often that a second rower will have that impact that both of these men have had on a team. It's hard to contain both of them, so do not be surprised if both score. 
Anything can happen on ANZAC day. Last year, it was decided by a field goal. This year may very well be the same. In front of what is expected to be a full house in Sydney, St George should be too good for the Roosters. The keyword here is should. I'm tipping St George, but don't be surprised if Sydney pull off an upset. 
Dragons 24-20


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