McGregor: Spots Up For Grabs

St George Illawarra Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor admits there are positions up for grabs in the line ahead of the annual Charity Shield fixture at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Saturday.

McGregor has named a 25-man squad for the traditional pre-season game which sees halfback Benji Marshall play his first competitive fixture of the pre-season alongside Drew Hutchison in the halves.

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Furthermore, new recruit Kurt Mann has been named as fullback in lieu of Josh Dugan who has been rested.

The Dragons will be without the services of captain Gareth Widdop and Joel Thompson for the pre-season fixture due to their participation in the annual NRL All-Stars match.

“The Charity Shield is always a special game played for a worthy cause and signals the start of the footy season which means it won’t be taken lightly,” said McGregor.

“We’ll be missing five players for the game but our depth is certainly a lot deeper than it has been in recent years so it’s up to the guys available to go out there and play and try and win a spot in the 17.

“It’s not just a trial, it’s an opportunity for them to present themselves well.

“We do have a plan regarding how many minutes each player will play on the field and the guys that are new to the Club as well as the younger guys will also get their chance out there.

“The majority of the first-grade team will get their chance over the first sixty minutes of play.

“Drew Hutchison deserves his spot partnering Benji Marshall as his pre-season has been exceptional and has arrived early most mornings before most of the squad arrives to start his preparations.

“He is in good shape and gets the jump on Josh McCrone who missed a bit of the pre-season through illness so the opportunity is there for Drew to hold his spot and play well.

“It will also be good to play the centres in their preferred positions and obviously Kurt at fullback with Josh Dugan missing this weekend.

“It is important we are able to rest important players at different times and that opportunity has come with Josh this time around.

“It will be a good chance for Kurt and Adam Quinlan to make the most of their opportunities.

“Kurt has had a good pre-season training and has been involved in a lot of our ball work plays in the role and he will get the opportunity this week and next to prove he is worthy of getting that position.

“I will keep saying though that Josh is the present NSW Blues fullback so someone will need to play exceptionally well in these trials to change his role.

“He is a big powerful runner who brings the ball back better than most and has good skills to score where Kurt offers more of an opportunity to play off him.

“Kurt’s versatility is also very important to any squad having the ability to jump in the halves, in the centres or on the wing.”

Click Here For Game Day Information Concerning The Charity Shield!

The Charity Shield commenced in 1982 and so too did the tradition of supporting local charities and causes. In 2016, proceeds from the Charity Shield will support three charities within the Dragons Community program – the St George and Wollongong Public Hospitals in addition to the St.George Foundation.

Dragons Community was established in 2008 with the aim of having a positive impact on people’s lives within their community which stretches from Kogarah in the north to Batemans Bay in the south.

Dragons Community currently runs over seven key programs across their three major program portfolios:

* Education & Skills       * Health & Wellbeing      * Social Inclusion
 
St.George Foundation was founded in 1990 by St.George Bank, the major partner of the St George Illawarra Dragons, to help build a secure future for disadvantaged children. Since its inception, the Foundation has invested over $25 million in funding programs that enrich the lives of Australian children who are physically, socially or economically disadvantaged.

For the 2016 Charity Shield, St.George Foundation will once again showcase the selfless work demonstrated by local charity ‘Kookaburra Kids’, who will form the guard of honour at the game to represent the thousands of children across Australia who are helped by St.George Foundation each year.

Results

The St George Illawarra Dragons drew 12-all with the South Sydney Rabbitohs in last season’s corresponding fixture held at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park. In the 32 Charity Shield fixtures contested since 1982, the Dragons have recorded 16 wins, 11 losses and drawn on five occasions.

Jersey Auction

Bid to win the signed and match worn 2016 Charity Shield Jerseys, all proceeds go towards our two local hospitals, St George Public and Wollongong Public as well as the St George Foundation. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to find out more or to place a bid.

NYC Jersey

The Dragons National Youth Competition team will be wearing the newly released red alternative strip for this fixture.

This is due to the South Sydney Rabbitohs wearing their white strip as their respective home jersey for the match.

Make sure you check the new jersey out!

Ticketing Information

Tickets to the 2016 Charity Shield are on sale to the general public now through Ticketek. For further information or to purchase tickets please click here

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