This Sunday afternoon the competition leaders, the St George Illawarra Dragons, travel across the Tasman to play the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium.
This one will be a tough match for New Zealand despite having the home ground advantage, as they are coming off the back of a massive 50 – 6 loss to the Wests Tigers last week. Prior to the thrashing, the Warriors had enjoyed back-to-back wins at home against the Cowboys and the Rabbitohs, and although they will be looking to return to this form and will enjoy playing in Auckland, whether this is enough to sleigh the Dragons is doubtful.
It is obvious then that the visitors are the hot pre-match favourites paying $1.42 for a win at the moment through Ladbrokes.com.au, while the Warriors are out to $2.95.
St George Illawarra are sitting solo at the top of the NRL ladder with nine wins from 12 this season, and although rep footy has seen them have a hit-and-miss month, after their comprehensive 30 – 0 win ahead of the Eels last week they will be brimming with confidence and ready to show why they are the Premiership favourites this year.
While the Warriors struggled to show depth last week, the Dragons were flawless with Jamie Soward and Darius Boyd proving to be the real shining stars this season. Although die-hard New Zealand supporters are getting onto their juicy odds and screaming “UPSET”, hopeful their team can give returning winger Manu Vatuvei a win for his 100th game, we just don’t see it happening. Their cause will be aided, however, by other returning big guns Micheal Luck and James Maloney.
Dragons to win away from home, and the history supports it, St George Illawarra winning seven of the past eight.
Current Head-to-Head Odds: Warriors $2.95 – Dragons $1.42 Ladbrokes.com.au
Round 13 Warriors Team:
1. Lance Hohaia 2. Kevin Locke 3. Brent Tate 4. Jerome Ropati 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Isaac John 7. James Maloney 8. Jesse Royal 9. Aaron Heremaia 10. Russell Packer 11. Simon Mannering (c) 12. Ukuma Ta’ai 13. Micheal Luck
Bench: 14. Ian Henderson 15. Ben Matulino 16. Jeremy Latimore 17. Lewis Brown
Reserve: 18. Sione Lousi
Round 13 Dragons Team:
1. Darius Boyd 2. Brett Morris 3. Beau Scott 4. Matt Cooper 5. Jason Nightingale 8. Jamie Soward 7. Ben Hornby 8. Matt Prior 9. Luke Priddis 10. Michael Weyman 11. Neville Costigan 12. Ben Creagh 13. Dean Young
Bench: 14. Jon Green 15. Jarrod Saffy 16. Trent Merrin 17. Micahel Greenfield
Reserve: 18. Kyle Stanley