Dragons To Ignite Pre-Season In Mackay

St George Illawarra Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor has named a blend of experience and youth for the pre-season fixture against the Mackay Cutters at Mackay Stadium on Saturday, January 31.

McGregor has named a 21-man travelling squad for the trial match against the Queensland Cup opponents comprising of Dragons NRL and NYC players as well as several others from the Illawarra Cutters.

Dragons Assistant Coach Dean Young will oversee the coaching of this squad as a result of the Queensland fixture being played in tandem with the second annual NRL Auckland Nines tournament at Eden Park, Auckland across Saturday, January 31 and Sunday, February 1.

Young is expecting a tough encounter when the team takes to the field but is adamant it will be of benefit as the team continues their preparation for the new NRL Telstra Premiership season.

“The named squad is excited to competing in their first competitive hit-out of the pre-season in what will most probably be played in hot conditions,” said Young.

“We have opted to include a lot of our first-grade forwards in the trial to help get the combinations going within the pack and they will come-up against a strong team in the Mackay Cutters.

“This trial is about making sure all the players named get a solid hit-out and implementing what we have been practicing on the training field including defensive and attacking structures.

“Several Illawarra Cutters and NYC players have also been named in the team and they too will benefit from the trial for their upcoming respective seasons.”

1. Matt Dufty (NYC)
2. Charly Runciman
3. Dane Nielsen
4. Dylan Farrell
5. Tyrone Cranston (Illawarra Cutters)
6. Gareth Widdop
7. Drew Hutchison
8. Leeson Ah Mau
9. Mitch Rein
10. Rory O’Brien
11. Jake Marketo
12. Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard
13. Trent Merrin
14. Kris Keating
15. Heath L’Estrange
16. George Rose
17. Rulon Nutira
18. Tekina Vailea (Illawarra Cutters)
19. Nathan Smith (Illawarra Cutters)
20. Geoff Daniela (Illawarra Cutters)
21. Andrew McCarthy (Illawarra Cutters)

NB: Dragons duo Ben Creagh and Jack de Belin have both been rested from the first weekend of pre-season matches.

In the absence of Creagh, a Captain has yet to be determined for the Mackay match.

Dragons 2015 Pre-Season Fixtures:

Saturday, January 31 - Sunday, February 1
Fixture:
NRL Auckland Nines v Parramatta Eels, Newcastle Knights and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.
Location: Eden Park, Auckland
Ticketing Information: Tickets are now on sale to Red V Members and the general public through Ticketek (NZ). Click here for more information regarding ticketing.

Saturday, January 31
Fixture:
Trial v Mackay Cutters
Location: Mackay Stadium, Mackay
Ticketing Information: Tickets are now on sale to Red V Members and the general public through the Mackay Cutters. Click here for more information regarding ticketing.

Saturday, February 7
Fixture:
Charity Shield v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Location: ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park
Ticketing Information: Tickets are now on sale to Red V Members and the general public through Ticketek. Red V Members can still access discounted tickets until Friday, January 30. Click here for more information regarding ticketing.

Friday, February 20
Fixture: World Club Series vs Warrington Wolves 
Location: The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
Ticketing Information: Tickets are now on sale to Red V Members and the general public through host club Warrington Wolves. An official supporters tour to the UK is being developed and details will be provided once confirmed. Click here for more information regarding ticketing.