Round 16 kicks off on Friday night with a top grade showdown between the teams sitting first and third on the ladder as the Dragons host the Wests Tigers at WIN Jubilee Stadium.
St George Illawarra are sitting pretty as the competition leaders after winning an impressive 11 matches this year, their last three in succession. They had an easier game last round when they trounced the Sharks 22 – 4, but will have to at their best this week if they are to hold off the Tigers.
The Wests Tigers are in red hot form right now, coming off four successive wins. Last week they had a late burst of success and beat the Raiders 18 – 8. There is always some nerves facing a team like the Dragons, and so the biggest thing for the Tigers will be bringing their confidence.
They were also a little sloppy with their passing last week, and will no doubt have been doing plenty of drills over the week to improve on this, which is important when coming up against the clinical plays of St George.
With the home ground advantage and season form, the Dragons are the warm favourites this match paying $1.45 through Ladbrokes.com.au, while the Tigers away from home are currently paying $2.75.
St George Illawarra are nearly at full strength, with powerhouse Michael Weyman named in the line-up after missing last week to rest after Origin, but Cooper is still out.
We like the Dragons in this one as even though the Tigers, on a short turnaround, won last week the scoreline was very flattering considering their at times careless play. Also, the home crowd really boosted the Tigers last week so without them they could struggle against the Dragons.
But the Wests Tigers have in the past looked like the Dragons’ bogey side, and with Robbie Farah at his best and Marshall pulling out some flair, an upset wouldn’t really be that much of a surprise.
Make sure you watch out for the battle of the five-eighths as two of the best in Jamie Soward and Benji Marshall face off.
Current Head-to-Head Odds:
Dragons $1.45 – Tigers $2.75 Ladbrokes.com.au
Round 16 Dragons Team:
1. Darius Boyd 2. Brett Morris 3. Beau Scott 4. Kyle Stanley 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. Jon Green 15. Trent Merrin 16. Nick Emmett 17. Jarrod Saffy
Reserve: 18. Jeremy Smith
Round 16 Tigers Team:
1. Wade McKinnon 2. Lote Tuqiri 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Beau Ryan 6. Benji Marshall 7. Robert Lui 8. Bryce Gibbs 9. Robbie Farah (c) 10. Keith Galloway 11. Todd Payten 12. Gareth Ellis 13. Chris Heighington
Bench: 14. Mark Flanagan 15. Junior Moors 16. Simon Dwyer 17. Daniel Fitzhenry