Preview: Round 9 v South Sydney Rabbitohs
By Nathan Beuman
The St George Illawarra Dragons will take to the field against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Monday (7.00pm).
Fresh off the representative bye weekend, the Red-and-Whites will look to extend their winning streak to seven games, their longest such run since they won nine straight in 2011.
While the majority of the team had the benefit of the week off, eight of the 19-man squad named for this weeks clash against South Sydney played representative football last weekend.
One of the only negatives to come out of last weekend’s games for the Dragons was the injury to fullback Josh Dugan, who picked up a knee injury playing for Australia.
The custodian will be assessed by Dragons Medical Staff throughout the week.
Having lost four of their last five games, South Sydney will be desperate to turn their season around this Monday night, and with two weeks to prepare, Head Coach Michael Maguire will have his side ready for battle.
While South Sydney have been a side that has built their success on defence in recent years, they have struggled over to hold teams out the last month and a half, conceding 24.8 points per game, compared to the Dragons 6.4 per game over the same period.
The injury to Josh Dugan means Peter Mata’utai will move from the wing to fullback, while Eto Nabuli makes his return from injury and will line up on the edge.
Meanwhile, Tyson Frizell makes a welcome return from suspension, forcing Will Matthews out of the starting 13 and onto an extended six-man bench.
The Rabbitohs changes are much more complex, with Glenn Stewart’s thumb injury causing a major reshuffle to Souths forward pack.
South Sydney welcome back five-eighth John Sutton from a jaw injury, meaning Aaron Gray will be force to wear the number 18 jersey.
Gates Open: 5:25 pm
NRL: 7:00 pm