Preview: Round 4 v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
By Nathan Beuman
The St George Illawarra Dragons will be looking to build upon recent momentum when they face the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday (7.30pm).
Despite being down 18-0 early last Saturday evening to the Canberra Raiders, the Dragons scored four unanswered tries, including one to Joel Thompson six minutes out from full time to seal a memorable come from behind victory.
This solid second half performance will certainly give the home side confidence heading into this week against a Sea Eagles side struggling to find form.
The Dragons continue their strong running of the ball against the Raiders, now leading the competition in tackle busts (104), compared to the Sea Eagles, who are dead last (46).
It is not only in attack that the Red V has shown their potential, but in defence also, allowing the third least missed tackles in the competition (65), 11 less than their upcoming opposition (76).
After a woeful start to the season against the Parramatta Eels, the Sea Eagles looked to be back on track after a strong outing against the Melbourne Storm less than a fortnight ag.
However, a 16-12 loss to the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs last round has Head Coach Geoff Toovey asking questions of his side.
The return of Kieran Foran and Jamie Lyon to the start 13 will certainly give Manly a boost, as they look to get their first win on the road this season.
After an impressive debut against Canberra that saw him pick up a game high 205 running metres, exciting young centre Euan Aitken will make the second start of his NRL career, pairing with Eto Nabuli.
Trent Merrin finds his way back into the start 13 following a monster game against the Raiders, pushing Jack de Belin back to the bench, while George Rose has been named as 18th man following the birth of his first child.
Meanwhile, the Sea Eagles welcome back both five-eighth Kieran Foran and centre Jamie Lyon into the squad, forcing a major reshuffle to the 17 that went down to the Bulldogs last weekend.
Brayden Wiliame drops back to NSW Cup, while Foran’s turn means Feliti Mateo moves back into the second row, forcing Justin Horo to be 18th man.
The Dragons have been dominant over the Sea Eagles since entering the competition, winning 14 of the 22 matchups between the two sides.
WIN Stadium has belonged to the visitors though, with the men from the Northern Beaches winning six of 11 in Wollongong.
The Sea Eagles have won three straight against the Dragons, dating back to Round 13, 2012.
Gates Open: 5:00pm