By Nathan Beuman
The St George Illawarra Dragons will travel to face the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium, Robina on Sunday (4.00pm).
The Red-and-Whites could all but secure a berth in the Finals Series if results go their way whilst a loss could leave the door ajar for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles to claim eighth spot.
The Dragons have previously been criticised for their lack of offence this season but this has been extinguished over the last month, winning three of their last four games and scoring at an average of 26.8 points.
While the Titans are out of finals contention, they will be desperate to pick up a win on Sunday and remove themselves from the dreaded wooden spoon race with the Wests Tigers.
The omissions of Greg Bird and Ryan James will certainly be a great loss for the Titans, but they still have plenty of talented young players across the park the Dragons will have to be way of.
In a big coup for Head Coach Paul McGregor, Jason Nightingale returns from an ankle sprain to start on the wing, taking the place of Justin Hunt, who moves back to an extended seven-man bench.
Meanwhile, Joel Thompson returns from suspension, slotting straight into the second-row at the expense of suspended utility Jake Marketo.
Greg Bird’s quadricep injury means Titans Head Coach Neil Henry has had to make a number of changes to his line-up, with Daniel Mortimer set to start in the five-eighth role, while Beau Fallon has been elevated to hooker and Kierran Moseley named on the bench.
Finally, the suspension of forward Ryan James means that Lachlan Burr will get an opportunity to start at lock.
The Dragons have an impressive record over the Titans since their inception in 2007, winning 10 of their 14 matchups.
The Red V’s record at CBus Super Stadium is much the same, winning four of their six trips to the venue.