Preview: Round 17 v North Queensland Cowboys
By Nathan Beuman
The St George Illawarra Dragons will be looking to put an end to their three game losing streak this when they host the North Queensland Cowboys at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday (7:30pm).
The Dragons have been strong at home this season, winning five of seven, including both of their games at WIN Stadium, as well as four of five games played on a Saturday.
With State of Origin coming up this Wednesday, both sides will be without their rep stars, meaning the Dragons will be missing Josh Dugan and Trent Merrin, while the Cowboys will be without Johnathan Thurston, James Tamou, Michael Morgan and Matt Scott.
The Cowboys have been one of the hottest teams in the competition this season, sitting second on the competition table after losing their first game in 13 starts against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks last round.
The Cowboys have scored the third most points in the competition this year, averaging 21.8 points per game, and despite having a number of key players out, are expected to be a handful to contain.
The selection of Josh Dugan and Trent Merrin in the NSW Blues side means Jason Nightingale shifts to fullback, while Nathan Green has been called into the line-up off the interchange.
Exciting lcocal Arncliffe Scots junior Yaw Kiti Glymin is set to make his first-grade debut on the wing, replacing an injured Dylan Farrell, while Mitch Rein returns from suspension to take over from Heath L’Estrange in the run-on squad.
Finally, both Tyson Frizell and Joel Thompson have both been ruled out through injury while Will Matthews is suspended for one match.
With Thurston and Morgan out though Origin, the Cowboys will be lead by a new halves pairing of Ray Thompson and Robert Lui.
Meanwhile, Ben Hannant and Sam Hoare will start in the front-row for the absent Matt Scott and James Tamou.
Gates Open: 3:00pm
NSW Cup: 5:10pm