NRL Round 15 – Match 5 Preview: Cronulla Sharks v St George Dragons

It is a big match for Cronulla at Toyota Stadium on Sunday when they play host to the competition leaders, the Dragons.

St George Illawarra are sitting solo at the top of the ladder, unthreatened as the only team with 10 wins this season and 22 competition points. They are fresh off a bye from last week, before which they won their past two games against the Warriors and the Eels.

It will be important for the Dragons that all their Origin stars back up well from Wednesday’s big showdown. They had Brett Morris, Matt Cooper, Beau Scott, Michael Weyman, Ben Creagh all part of the loosing Blues team, while Darius Boyd and Neville Costigan enjoyed success with the Maroons. Six of the seven should be fit to play, but in a bad blow Cooper hyper-extended his hamstring when he was pushed over the sideline on Wednesday and is expected to out for a month.

The Sharks have surprised many by moving up to the 12th spot on the ladder after a couple of recent wins including their most recent 42 – 18 trouncing of the Roosters two weeks back. Cronulla also enjoyed a bye last week and have two players backing up from Origin in Blues vice-captain Trent Barrett and Paul Gallen.

Unsurprisingly the Dragons are the warm favourites paying $1.43 through Ladbrokes.com.au who have the Sharks as the $2.80 underdogs. Despite some late success and the home ground advantage, with the Dragons nearly at full strength it is hard to see Cronulla win, especially looking at the last time they met back in Round eight when St George thrashed the Sharks 38 – nil. But at Shark Park anything is possible.

We are sticking with the favourites who are methodical and very professional, but if you are looking for a value bet this round the Sharks could be it.

Current Head-to-Head Odds:

Sharks $2.80 – Dragons $1.43 Ladbrokes.com.au

Round 15 Sharks Team:

1. Nathan Gardner 2. Blake Ferguson 3. Dean Collis 4. Taulima Tautai 5. Isaac Gordon 6. Trent Barrett (c) 7. Tim Smith 8. Kade Snowden 9. John Morris 10. Luke Douglas 11. Grant Millington 12. Anthony Tupou 13. Paul Gallen

Bench: 14. Adam Cuthbertson 15. Broderick Wright 16. Paul Aiton 17. Siosaia Vave

Round 15 Dragons Team:

1. Darius Boyd 2. Brett Morris 3. Kyle Stanley 4. Beau Scott 5. Jason Nightingale 6. 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. Trent Merrin 15. Jarrod Saffy 16. Nick Emmett 17. Michael Greefield

Reserves: 18. Jeremy Smith 19. Michael Lett