The Knights will fancy themselves to give the Dragons a game at Kogarah.
That statement would have seemed ridiculous a few weeks back but with the Dragons strangely looking like their 2016 selves rather than the team that went 6-1 in the opening month this season, Newcastle represent great value.
Of course, you cannot eat value and if they can’t put it all together for 80 minutes then there is no way they will walk away with the two points.
Newcastle has lost three straight games and all of those have been against top eight sides, with the latest of those being a controversial four-point defeat at the hands of Manly back in Round 14.
Stgeorge Illawarra were again lethargic in the early stages and were made to pay the price as they were chasing the game from the outset before going down 24-10 to Parramatta.
PING THE BOXES
NEWCASTLE have become renowned for their fast starts.
What would be of great concern for coach Nathan Brown is that they haven’t been able to convert many of their halftime leads into wins. Their second halves are where it falls apart for them as they have conceded 207 points – the worst in the competition.
Considering the Dragons have been sluggish in their games early on it wouldn’t be worst bet to have something on Newcastle to lead at halftime. The team at Ladbrokes are offering up $3.45 for it happening.
They say there’s no place like home and that could be true when it comes to the Stgeorge Illawarra Dragons.
Since 2014 they have won 11 of 15 matches at UOW Jubilee Oval with three of the four losses being by single figures. This season they have played at the ground three times for two wins, however, they did lose their last outing there in a tough and unlucky 18-14 result against the Cronulla Sharks.
The last time these teams met was back in Round 26 last season when the Dragons were lucky to escape with a 28-26 win. Newcastle’s last win at the ground was back in 2009.
Newcastle has always struggled against STGEORGE ILLAWARRA.
The Knights have won just 10 games against the joint venture compared to the Red V’s 23. The visitors appear to be up against it as they’ve dropped four straight against the Dragons and eight of the past nine.
Making things a bit more difficult for Newcastle is the fact they are the only team in the competition to yet to win away (0-7).
Although Newcastle ($4.50 @ Luxbet) is a juicy price we cannot see them getting the better of the Dragons on their own turf.
We think they are capable of getting out to some sort of lead early in the match but we have seen them time and time again, throw that good work down the drain and ultimately lose.
The positive thing for Brown’s men is that they aren’t conceding anywhere near as many points as they were last season but are still last in that category (27ppg).
We like the Dragons to win and the 1-12 Winning Margin ($3.10 @ Will Hill) just to throw a bit of value into the mix. Keep a close watch on the availability of Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell to see if they back up after State Of Origin.
STGEORGE ILLAWARRA 1-12 WINNING MARGIN
JOEL THOMPSON TO SCORE A TRY – has seven tries in 12 games against Newcastle