NRL Round 2 - Sharks vs. Dragons
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NRL Round 2 - Sharks vs. Dragons
Premiership oddsCronulla Sharks: $15 at SportsbetSt George Illawarra Dragons: $13 at Sportsbet
THE opening round of the season was not a good one for the Cronulla Sharks.
Sione Katoa made his NRL debut in Townsville, but the exciting young winger is set to miss the next two months after copping a broken jaw in the defeat to the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Sharks are also without 2016 Clive Churchill Medal winner Luke Lewis, who sustained a foot injury in training last week.
Nevertheless, Shane Flanagan’s men start as favourites in their annual grudge match with the St George Illawarra Dragons.
The Red V kicked off the 2018 campaign with a big statement, crushing the Brisbane Broncos 34-12 to take pole position on the NRL ladder.
Ben Hunt enjoyed an impressive debut for his new club, teeing up Tyson Frizell for the only try of the first half and later crossing for one of his own.
It was a similar story for James Graham, who combined beautifully with Frizell and Jack De Belin as the Dragons forwards dominated the Broncos in the clinches.
St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has made only one change for round two, with Hame Sele joining the bench in place of Jeremy Latimore.
Sharks vs. Dragons players to watch
Josh Dugan – If the pasting James Tedesco copped from Wests Tigers fans last week is any kind of indicator, Dugan is in for a rough old night after swapping the red and white of St George for the sky blue of the Shire. Can he silence the haters with a big performance in his first home game at Shark Park?
Gareth Widdop – We said in our Dragons vs. Broncos preview that Hunt’s arrival might take the focus off Widdop and give him a bit more freedom. That was exactly how it played out, so the Sharks had better keep a close watch on both St George Illawarra halves unless they wish to suffer the same fate as Brisbane.
Cronulla Sharks team list
1 Valentine Holmes, 2 Sosaia Feki, 3 Josh Dugan, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Aaron Gray, 6 Matthew Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matthew Prior, 11 Jayson Bukuya, 12 Wade Graham, 13 Paul Gallen (c).
Interchange: 14 Kurt Capewell, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Avagalu Seumanufagai, 17 Joseph Paulo.
St George Illawarra Dragons team list
1 Matthew Dufty, 2 Nene Macdonald, 3 Euan Aitken, 4 Tim Lafai, 5 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Jack De Belin.
Interchange: 14 Luciano Leilua, 15 Kurt Mann, 16 Leeson Ah Mau, 17 Hame Sele.
Who wins – Sharks or Dragons?
The biggest worry about the Dragons in pre-season was their defence, but the forward pack was all class against the Broncos. With Cronulla missing a few of their best 13, Mary McGregor and his charges must sense a big opportunity to get one over the noisy neighbours. The bookies favour the Sharks, but we say go with the value and get on St George Illawarra.
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