St George Illawarra Dragons vs Cronulla Sharks (Friday) Betting Preview & Tips

The latest edition of this fiery derby is sure to divide fans and punters alike.

Oddschecker
 | 
Wed, 10 May, 4:36 AM

 

The latest edition of this fiery derby is sure to divide fans and punters alike.

 

You can never take form leading into this fixture too seriously because so often the formguide has been thrown out the window when the Dragons play the Sharks.

 

That statement has never been truer than the last two clashes between the sides so can we expect another upset here?

 

Stgeorge Illawarra go into this off the back of consecutive losses with their latest defeat at the hands of the Melbourne Storm 34-22. Cronulla are in slightly better shape having left it late to get the better of the Tigers but they got the job done in a 22-16 win.

 

KEY INJURIES

There is no doubt that STGEORGE ILLAWARRA have been one of the early season success stories.

 

Leading the competition for a good part of the opening nine rounds, Stgeorge Illawarra have lost two straight for the first time this season against the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne.

 

The Roosters clash on ANZAC Day saw them lose skipper Gareth Widdop at half-time with the team rudderless in the second half, while against Melbourne, they were blown away early but regained their composure in the second half to get the margin back to a respectable figure.

 

No doubt Widdop has been a huge blow for the Red V in those two matches but now they will be without Josh Dugan who injured a cheekbone during the ANZAC Test last week. Also of some concern will be several of their players having short back-ups from the City v Country clash on Sunday.

 

TOP DEFENCE

CRONULLA continues to lead the competition in defence.

 

Winners of five of their past six games, Cronulla has conceded just 10.66 points per match during that span which suggests that it takes a pretty good attack to get some points on the board against them.

 

Their points scoring, however, hasn’t exactly been on fire with an average of 18.6ppg over that same span so that highlights just how important it has been for the defence to be on their toes over the past six weeks.

 

THE HISTORY

The DRAGONS have scored upset wins in the past two derbys.

 

Back in Round 23 last year, Stgeorge Illawarra produced a huge second half to beat the Sharks by 14 points while in Round 3 at Shark Park it was ‘big brother’ taking the honours yet again in a dour 16-10 struggle. On both occasions the Dragons were outsiders.

 

The six-point margin last start was the lowest between the sides in six outings with the previous five being by 13+ margins. In fact, four of those were by 20 points or more so the 21-30 Winning Margin option for either side could be worth a few dollars if you are looking for a fat result.

 

Overall the Dragons have beaten the Sharks in five of the last seven games.

 

THE VERDICT

The injuries to key Dragons strike players makes us very hesitant to back them, however, we are having a shot at the stumps and recommending you take the $3.10 @ Palmerbet about their chances to take the two points.

 

Sure they will be missing the creativity of Widdop and Dugan, however, they are still the best attacking team in the competition (25ppg) and Kurt Mann’s role as five-eighth against the Storm the other day wasn’t bad at all. Remember, they did put 22 points on one of the best defences in the comp without Widdop in the team.

 

Jason Nightingale will go to fullback to cover for Dugan while Taane Milne is the new winger and Jai Field comes onto an extended bench.  The Dragons are hard to beat at home, especially at Jubilee Oval, where they have won eight of their past nine so off the back of that we think they could be worth the punt.

 

Cronulla are going along okay but we still aren’t convinced on the premiers just yet. They seem to struggle against teams they should be beating easily, and with the Dragons battling key injuries, they could drop their guard again here although it’s a derby and that is highly unlikely.

 

Still, it’s worth nothing they haven’t won a game at Kogarah Oval since 2007 but are a perfect 5-0 on the road in 2017. That said the Tigers had them on the ropes at Leichhardt last start and had it not been for injuries to James Tedesco and Aaron Woods prior to halftime, the result may have been different.

 

Regardless, the champs found a way to win as they have done several times already this season and ultimately that is what turns a good side into a champion side. Coach Shane Flanagan does have a few headaches going into this though with ‘T-Rex’ Tony Williams out for the season while Jason Bukuya and James Segeyaro are still some weeks away from a return.

 

Honestly though they have things going in their favour but $1.37 that some bookies are offering for a Cronulla win is simply too short for us.

 

 

RECOMMENDED BET:

STGEORGE ILLAWARRA


VALUE PLAY:

EUAN AITKEN ANYTIME TRYSCORER – has three tries in the past two games against the Sharks

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