Can the Knights overcome their bogey team?
Newcastle has historically struggled against the Dragons with just two wins against them since 2010. Only Brisbane has a better record against the Knights than the Red V.
The Knights are once again headed for the wooden spoon but fans have taken some heart in their performances this season, which have been far better than what they dished up in 2016.
They go into this game off the back of a 28-4 loss to the Roosters at Allianz Stadium in a match they were in for a fair way, however, like most games this season they simply couldn’t take their chances when presented.
Stgeorge Illawarra has struggled in the middle stages of the season but roared back to life in Round 20 with a devastating 52-22 win over Manly down at WIN Stadium.
NEWCASTLE has proven to be feisty in the majority of their games this season.
In recent times they have troubled the likes of Brisbane and the Bulldogs and with some better game management could have secured huge upsets in those matches.
Their side is young though and the forwards aren’t the biggest pack in the NRL which leaves the side susceptible to being dominated through the middle which leads to pressure on the halves.
Even so they have managed to lead at halftime on eight occasions this season so it’s worth having a few dollars on Newcastle to lead at the break. The boys at Unibet have them at $3.35.
STGEORGE ILLAWARRA has surprised quite a few people in 2017.
Despite a midseason slump which saw them go 3-7, they raced out to a 30-nil lead at the break against Manly last week in what was almost the perfect half of football.
The x-factor of NRL debutant Matt Dufty at fullback gave the spluttering Stgeorge Illawarra attack a new lease of life with the youngster scoring one and setting up two others.
The worrying concern for Paul Macgregor’s side was the fact they conceded 22 points within 12 minutes with three of those tries being when Manly had a player in the sin bin!
Their drop in intensity was reminiscent of their game against the Knights back in Round 16. If they have hopes of making the semis they need to kill off teams and secure the two points in most of their final six matches.
As mentioned earlier it’s almost like shooting fish in a barrel when Stgeorge Illawarra play Newcastle.
Winners of 10 of the past 11 matches, the Red V also have a sensational record at McDonald Jones Stadium with 15 wins from their past 18 visits to the ground.
The Dragons led 10-nil early on when the sides met at Kogarah Oval several weeks ago but then suddenly went missing, allowing Newcastle to run in 28 points before the half to trail 28-10 at the break. Producing one of the best comebacks in club history, Stgeorge Illawarra won 32-28 off the back of some sensational work from Gareth Widdop and Josh Dugan just to name a few.
In fact there has been very little between the sides in their past two matches with just two and four points separating them at the finish. Going back even further, 11 of their past 15 matches have been decided by single figures.
A Dragons 1-12 result is paying $3.30 @ Palmerbet.
It’s hard to tip against the Dragons but at the same time we aren’t recommending you put the house on them either!
Was last week’s win against Manly the first indication that the Dragons from earlier in the season have returned? Dufty was so impressive last week that Macgregor has kept him at fullback for this game with the returning Josh Dugan slotting in to the centres to fill the void left by Euan Aitken.
Arguably one of the most impressive things about their win last week was the forwards returning to their devastating best, with the Red V running for a grand total of 1704 metres and making six linebreaks.
A similar effort here will see the Dragons notch another two competition points which will keep them in the running to finish off the regular season in the top eight.
If you’re looking for value then definitely consider Joel Thompson To Score At Anytime ($3.25 @ Sportsbet) as the big man has four tries in six matches against Newcastle.
JOEL THOMPSON TO SCORE AT ANYTIME