Preview: Round 18 v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
By Nathan Beuman
The St George Illawarra will be looking to get their season back on track in the local derby against the Cronulla-Sutherand Sharks at Remondis Stadium, Cronulla on Sunday (4.00pm).
The Dragons have been struggling of late, losing four straight narrow matches, with their last win coincidently coming against their local rivals at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah in Round 12.
While Head Coach Paul McGregor will be relieved to have Josh Dugan back in the line-up this week, he will be without Trent Merrin, with the NSW Blues representative receiving a four game suspension for a lifting tackle on Corey Parker on Wednesday.
Both the Dragons (2.7 tries per game) and the Sharks (2.9 tries per game) have struggled in attack this year, scoring the fewest and second fewest least tries respectively.
The Sharks have been one of the form teams of the competition over the last month, beating the Sydney Roosters, Newcastle Knights and North Queensland Cowboys in consecutive weeks, before falling to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles last Sunday.
Josh Dugan’s return from Origin duties means a reshuffle to the backline, with Justin Hunt shifting to the wing in lieu of the injured Yaw Kiti Glymin (hamstring).
Along with Dugan, the Dragons welcome back a whole host of experience, with Jason Nightingale, Will Matthews and Joel Thompson all expected to line up at Remondis Stadium on Sunday.
Paul Gallen and Michael Ennis have both been named for the Sharks, but a decision on whether they will play is expected closer to kick-off.
Chris Heighington successfully fought his one week suspension for a dangerous throw, and at this stage has been named as 18th man.
The Dragons will be looking to duplicate the performance they had against the Sharks in their 42-6 round 12 win.
Remondis Stadium doesn’t hold many happy memories for the visitors, coming away with the points on only six of their 15 attempts.