St George Illawarra Dragons captain Ben Creagh will lead the team out in his first appearance for the year in the 32nd Charity Shield against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Saturday.
The Dragons skipper has been named as lock-forward for the marquee pre-season fixture and is part of a 26-man squad named by Head Coach Paul McGregor.
Dragons prop Jack de Belin will also make his respective first appearance for the Club this year on an extended interchange bench which will see ten players compete in this particular match for the first time.
“The Charity Shield is a special pre-season trial that all the players are always excited to be a part of if given the opportunity due to its history and tradition,” said Creagh.
“I have been lucky to have played my fair share and it is always a game played with high intensity which is what you need as a player leading into the new season.
"The Rabbitohs are the bench mark team and will be a great challenge and test for us.
“This will be my first game of the pre-season and am looking forward to running out onto the field in front of all the Red V Members and supporters who will be cheering us on from the stands.”
The Charity Shield commenced in 1982 and so too did the tradition of supporting local charities and causes. In 2015, proceeds from the Charity Shield will support three charities within the Dragons Community program – the St George and Wollongong Public Hospitals in addition to the St.George Foundation.
Dragons Community was first established in 2008 and aims to have a positive impact on people’s lives within our community, which stretches from Kogarah in the north to Batemans Bay in the south.
Dragons Community currently runs more than 30 different programs across its eight pillars, those being Health, Education, Cultural, Environment, Women and Girls, Mentoring, Charity, and Grassroots Rugby League.
St.George Foundation was founded in 1990 by St.George Bank, the major partner of the St George Illawarra Dragons, to help build a secure future for disadvantaged children.
Since its inception, the Foundation has invested over $23 million in funding programs that enrich the lives of Australian children who are physically, socially or economically disadvantaged.
For the 2015 Charity Shield, St.George Foundation have taken the opportunity to nominate local charity Kookaburra Kids who support the thousands of children living in families affected by mental illness.
NRL Team Line-Up
1. Josh Dugan
2. Dylan Farrell
3. Euan Aitken
4. Dane Nielsen
5. Jason Nightingale
6. Gareth Widdop
7. Benji Marshall
8. Mike Cooper
9. Mitch Rein
10. Leeson Ah Mau
11. Tyson Frizell
12. Joel Thompson
13. Ben Creagh (c)
14. Peter Mata’utia
15. Will Matthews
16. Heath L’Estrange
17. Rory O’Brien
18. Jack de Belin
19. Dan Hunt
20. George Rose
21. Charly Runciman
22. Shannon Crook
23. Drew Hutchison
24. Eto Nabuli
25. Jake Marketo
26. Yaw Kiti Glymin
Dragons prop Trent Merrin has been rested due to his involvement in the upcoming NRL All-Stars fixture alongside Nathan Green and Kris Keating.
Furthermore, Dragons quintet Craig Garvey, Beau Henry, Rulon Nutira, Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard and Shannon Wakeman have all been named for the Illawarra Cutters pre-season fixture against the Newtown Jets.
In 31 Charity Shield fixtures contested since 1982, the Dragons have recorded 16 wins, 11 loses and drawn on four occasions.
Tickets for the 2015 Charity Shield are now on sale to the general public through Ticketek.
Additionally, the following 2015 Red V Memberships include entry to the Charity Shield – Platinum, All In, Metro Plus & West Wing.
For further information or to purchase tickets please click here.
The Dragons will be auctioning the player-worn Charity Shield jerseys with proceeds donated to the St George and Wollongong Public Hospitals.
The auction will commence following the final whistle with Red V Members and supporters alike able to bid until 9.00pm on Thursday, February 12.
Visit www.dragons.com.au for further details on how you can bid on your favourite player’s jersey!