Can the Dragons recreate some magic at the SCG?
The Red V were the biggest disappointments in Round 21 when losing 21-14 to Newcastle in the Hunter. Beaten as short-priced favourites, Stgeorge Illawarra dominated several stats including run metres, linebreaks and conceded less than half the missed tackles of their opposition but couldn’t make their chances stick when it counted.
The defeat ruined what was a stellar performance just a week prior when they put 52 points on the Sea Eagles.
Souths were also well off the pace in their match with the Raiders at ANZ Stadium. The bunnies rolled over 32-18 in a game they weren’t going to win a long way out.
Paul Macgregor’s side has been ambushed in consecutive weeks in what is becoming a real concern.
Dominating Manly a fortnight ago, Stgeorge Illawarra came out for the second half with a 30 point lead but within 12 minutes of the restart had seen their advantage whittled down to just eight points.
In last week’s encounter the Dragons came out flat which allowed the fast-starting Knights to post a 12-nil margin early on.
The merged entity are fighting for a spot in the finals and come into this round in eighth spot but on equal points with the Panthers. If the guys want to play finals they sure as hell didn’t show it last week.
Macgregor needs to find a way to keep his side focused and enthusiastic for the full 80 minutes otherwise it will be another year that the Dragons won’t see any September football.
There were a few people last week that thought that Souths would lift against Canberra and cause an upset.
With the game in front of ‘The Burrow’ and the Raiders being poor travelers, they represented value but after the first 20 minutes or so you knew they weren’t going to get the points.
Michael Maguire’s side are now riding a four-game losing streak for the first time this season and don’t have anything to play for other than pride.
Based on what we saw last week though they may not even be playing for that. Their past three defeats have been by 13 points or more.
A Dragons 13+ win is returning $2.90 @ Centrebet.
Recent results against the Dragons will give SOUTHS fans reason for optimism.
The bunnies have dominated this fixture in recent years with eight wins from their past 10 clashes including five of the last six.
This is the first time they will meet in the competition this season but they did face off in the annual charity shield back in February. On that occasion, Souths pummeled an ordinary Dragons outfit to win 32-14 but unfortunately for them they haven’t looked like reproducing that effort many times in 2017.
Take the shorts about the DRAGONS ($1.50 @ Centrebet).
They should be terribly disappointed with last week’s effort and know they cannot afford to slip up again if they have designs on making the finals. If they are to win then they must go forward and stop trying to play sideline-to-sideline footy.
Stgeorge Illawarra run for more metres than most sides in the competition and that is thanks to their mobile forward pack. If they are going forward early then the opportunity for points will come thanks to the creativity of Gareth Widdop and co, however, even the captain needs to be better than what he produced last week.
PAUL VAUGHAN ANYTIME TRYSCORER – the big man crossed last week and has six for the season which is one shy of his career best set back in 2014