St George Illawarra Dragons hooker Mitch Rein is poised to make his 100th first-grade appearance for the Club against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the Heritage Round fixture at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.
The local Kiama Knights junior made his first-grade debut in the opening round of the 2011 campaign and has since earnt two call-ups to the NSW Country representative team (2014, 2015).
Head Coach Paul McGregor has named a 20-man squad for the marquee match-up which sees several players returning to the squad after being side-lined with respective injuries.
Dragons halfback Benji Marshall (hamstring) has been named to pair five-eighth Gareth Widdop in the halves with second-rowers Tyson Frizell (back) and Joel Thompson (hamstring) also featuring in the run-on side.
Furthermore, Dragons fullback Josh Dugan returns to the line-up in the custodian’s role while prop George Rose is in line to play his 150th NRL match after being named on a seven-man extended interchange.
“It is a very special honour to be able to make my 100th first-grade appearance at such an iconic venue like the Sydney Cricket Ground,” said Rein.
“It holds a very special place in the Dragons’ extensive and rich history and to have the opportunity to play on it will be a privilege.”
This Dragons home fixture serves as the feature match of the NRL Heritage Round and marks the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Grand Final which saw the Club defeat the Rabbitohs 12-8 at the venue to clinch their 10th Premiership in a world-record run of 11 consecutive Premierships.
The Dragons will wear a special commemorative Heritage Round jersey featuring the 1965 Dragons team to celebrate this feat, which saw a record crowd of 78,056 packed into the venue, and also served as the final outing of Captain and future Club Legend Norm Provan who would retire after 256 first-grade appearances.
1. Josh Dugan
2. Justin Hunt
3. Euan Aitken
4. Peter Mata'utia
5. Jason Nightingale
6. Gareth Widdop
7. Benji Marshall
8. Leeson Ah Mau
9. Mitch Rein
10. Ben Creagh (c)
11. Tyson Frizell
12. Joel Thompson
13. Mike Cooper
14. George Rose
15. Will Matthews
16. Jake Marketo
17. Heath L'Estrange
18. Drew Hutchison
19. Charly Runciman
20. Mark Ioane
Unavailable: Jack de Belin (Virus - Under Observation); Shannon Crook (Knee - Round 24); Dylan Farrell (Back - Round 20); Yaw Kiti Glymin (Hamstring - Round 21); Dan Hunt (Knee - Season); Eto Nabuli (Knee - Under Observation); Rulon Nutira (Ankle - Round 22); Rory O'Brien (Ankle - Round 22).
Heritage Round Jersey Purchasing Information
The Dragons commemorative Heritage Round Jersey celebrating the 1965 Grand Final is available for sale in Adults sizes both at the Dragons Merchandise Store in Kogarah and Online.
The Dragons Heritage Round Jersey will also be available for sale in Adults sizes along will a full range of ISC and Supporter Gear at the Dragons Merchandise Van, located in the precinct area near Gate E at the SCG from 5.00pm.
Heritage Round Jersey Player Jersey Auction
The Dragons are offering all Red V Members and supporters the chance to bid on their favourite Heritage Round player-worn jersey!
All proceeds will go to the Club and each player-worn Dragons Heritage Round jersey will additionally be signed by that individual player!
The auction will commence on Thursday, July 16 at 5.00pm so make your bid now via the Club website!
Men Of League
For every fan that attends a match during the Men of league Heritage round, the NRL will donate $1.00 from every ticket to support both the NRL Foundation and the RiseForAlex Fund.
The NRL Foundation has been established to provide immediate and continuing financial and emotional support to rugby league players at all levels of the game who suffer a catastrophic or potentially catastrophic spinal injury.
The Foundation have partnered with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia who, in conjunction with the NRL, support players and their families at all levels of the game impacted by a catastrophic spinal cord injury.
The RiseForAlex Fund was established to provide assistance to Alex McKinnon, a Newcastle Knights professional Rugby League footballer, who suffered a devastating spinal injury in a rugby league tackle in March 2014.
The NRL has provided and continue to provide support to Alex in his rehabilitation journey.