Match Preview: Round 21
The St George Illawarra Dragons will be looking to re-enter the top eight when they take on defending Premiers the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium, Moore Park on Saturday.
Not only will two competition points be on the line, but also bragging rights between Iron Man (St George Illawarra) and Captain America (Roosters), with both teams set to wear special ISC Marvel Super Heroes jerseys.
Despite dropping a game against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles a fortnight ago, the Dragons bounced back in style by crushing the Wests Tigers 28-12 at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Sunday.
The same can not be sad for the tri-colours, who have dropped three of their last four games, including a shock 16-12 loss to the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium last Friday.
If the Roosters are going to stop their skid down the competition table this weekend, they are going to have to do it without Sonny Bill Williams, who has been ruled out for a month with a fractured thumb.
Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor has named an unchanged starting 17 to the one he did a week ago, with Shane Pumipi being selected as 18th man.
On the other hand, the Roosters have been pressured to make a number of changes, with injuries to Sonny Bill Williams (thumb) and Mitch Aubusson (ankle) forcing the foundation club to test its depth.
Michael Jennings returns from an extended stint on the sideline with a back injury, slotting straight into the centres, allowing Aidan Guerra to move back to his preferred position in the second row.
Meanwhile Nene Macdonald returns to the run on side, allowing Shaun Kenny-Dowall to shift back into the centres.
Like the Dragons, Roosters Head Coach Trent Robinson has also named an extended five man bench, with former Premiership winning hooker Heath L’Estrange being rewarded with a spot on the bench, while 18 year old Vincent Leuluai being named as 18th man.
The Sydney Roosters have had the wood over the Dragons in recent years, winning their last four against the Red V, including three straight at Allianz Stadium.
Overall however, it has been St George Illawarra who has had the rub of the green, winning 17 of the 31 matches played between the two clubs since 1999.