Preview: Round 15 v Sydney Roosters
By Nathan Beuman
The St George Illawarra Dragons will return to action when they host the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium, Moore Park on Monday (7.00pm).
The Red-and-Whites will take to the field fresh from their allocated by round in search of chalking up their ninth win of the season.
In what is expected to be a low scoring match, the Dragons and Roosters boast the best defensive record in the competition respectively, with the Red V giving up only 12.9 points per game to the Tri-Colours 13.5 ppg.
However, the Dragons have struggled on Mondays so far this season, losing each of their four games played, including a 29-16 loss to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs a fortnight ago at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park.
One of only four teams to have already had both of their byes, the Dragons will be hoping to build some momentum as they head towards the back end of the season.
NSW Blues representative duo Josh Dugan and Trent Merrin are expected to be given the all clear to play in the upcoming match and will be assessed by Dragons Medical Staff.
The news is much the same for the Roosters, with Aiden Guerra, Michael Jennings, Mitchell Pearce and Boyd Cordner all expected to play on Monday night.
Despite losing four straight games earlier on in the season, the Roosters have come good of late, winning four of their last five games, climbing their way to fifth place on the competition table.
If the boys from Bondi are to come away with the two points, they will need to work on their ball handing, with the Roosters committing 150 errors to date (11.5 per game), second most in the NRL.
Following Joel Thompsons knee injury against Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks a fortnight ago, Will Matthews has been elevated into the run on side, while Jake Marketo has been rewarded with an impressive performance in the NSW Cup last weekend with a spot on the five man bench.
With all four of the Roosters Origin players expected to back up, Trent Robinson has been forced to make a number of changes to his side, with winger Brendan Elliot given the flick for Game 2 Man of the Match, Michael Jennings.
Mitchell Pearce returns to the halfback’s jersey whilst Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Mitch Aubusson make way for Boyd Cordner and Aiden Guerra, who both return from Origin duties.
Gates Open: 4:40pm