The Dragons came into the bye with a good win against Canberra, it was our most complete attacking game this season. The Dragons have looked to found their strongest team with Nabuli on the wing and Mata’utia in the centres and Aitken switching sides to run off Benji. We fired on all cylinders against the Raiders and then got the week off so we should be looking fresh and hopefully the Origin players get through unscathed. Frizell should be buoyed by the week in camp and I think he will go to a new level now that he has seen what it is about.
This game is one that Dragons fans and players have marked on their calendars, the local derby. The past few seasons these games have been two teams struggling at the bottom of the ladder and the quality has not been there. But this year the Dragons are flying high and will be looking to show their attacking prowess against the struggling sharks, the inconsistency of their line-up has been costing them and I am not sure that they have chosen the best team. Gordon will be a risky prospect due to his contract situation and Barba now has no excuses to not perform, he is healthy and back in his preferred position. The Sharks will need a very good game in attack to get past the Red V firewall, and Holmes on a wing and Prior starting instead of Tagataese does not seem the way to do that.
Leeson Ah Mau
Jack de Belin
Dugan vs. Barba
Dugan will hopefully get through origin fine and he will be looking for a big game either way, if they lose he will want to prove a point and if they win he will be in a good headspace and play well, it’s a win win, if he stays fit. Barba is at the other end of the spectrum, he can’t seem to get confidence from anywhere. Barba will be needing a big performance if the Sharks are any chance but I don’t see it happening, Duges will prove that he is one of the best players in the comp again.
Mike Cooper vs. Andrew Fifita
Regardless of the attacking flair of either team they will both need the big men to lay the platform to play some football and these two big blokes will be crucial for their respective team. Both are in outstanding form and have been a real highlight for either side. Cooper is a bit more nitty gritty and Fifita is a bit more spectacular but prone to mistakes. These two coming together should be good and the best players always love to test themselves against the best and this is a good chance.
Bird vs Marshall
I am not going to directly blame Marshall for Bird leaving, but it didn’t help when he signed. Bird will be looking to show the Dragons fans what they are missing and especially against Marshall. Benji has been playing good and last hit out was his best attacking display and we will need him to build on that with Widdop as we navigate the origin period. If the forwards can lay a good platform these two should be primed for big games and then we all win.
You always throw out the form guide coming into these local derbies, but I can’t see the Dragons being beaten, for once we look the team with the most points, and our forward pack also looks the goods compared to Cronulla’s. Not to mention the halves and the outside backs, oh……. that is all the positions. Cronulla appear to have only 2 players at the moment who can create and that is Bird and Holmes and Holmes out on the wing is very limited, normally I would predict a tight contest but I am going for a good ol’ fashion flogging. Dragons 38 – 8. First Try – Mitch Rein