Match Preview: Round 26
By Nathan Beuman
The St George Illawarra Dragons will play their final game of the season against the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium, Newcastle on Sunday.
Whilst neither outfit being able to qualify for the a finals berth this season both teams will be wanting to end their campaigns on a high note.
Despite a valiant fight back against the Brisbane Broncos last round, a late try by Matt Gillett all but brought a premature end to their season.
In spite of the fact that the Knights were eliminated from finals contention quite some time ago, the Novocastrians have been impressive over the last month.
The Knights have won three of their last four games including a huge 42-12 win over the Parramatta Eels last weekend.
Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor has been forced to make several changes as a result of injury and suspension.
Dragons captain Ben Creagh will be forced to watch the final game of the season from the sideline after he underwent ankle surgery earlier this week, with his replacement in the starting line-up expected to be Mike Cooper.
The one game suspension of hooker Mitch Rein will see Kyle Stanley wear the no. 9 jersey, giving an opportunity for Shane Pumipi to play from the bench.
Meanwhile, in his last game as Head Coach of the Knights, Wayne Bennett has opted to name a largely unchanged line up from the side that took on the Eels.
Bennett has only made the one addition of Travis Waddell to the interchange bench.
The Dragons have an extremely good record against the Knights, especially in Newcastle since 1999.
On the 15 occasions the two sides met at Hunter Stadium the Dragons have managed to come away with the points on 13 times.
The Knights overall head to head record against St George Illawarra isn’t much better, winning only nine of the 28 times the two sides have met.