Preview: Round 8 v Sydney Roosters

By Nathan Beuman

The St George Illawarra Dragons will host the Sydney Roosters in the annual ANZAC Day Cup fixture at Allianz Stadium, Moore Park on Monday (4.00pm).

The Dragons enter the annual encounter on the back of an impressive 19-14 win over the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium, Robina last round, which ended a two-game losing streak.

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Despite having only 47% of possession during this match, it was the Dragons defence that won them the game, with several try-saving tackles close to their own line eventually proving the difference.

The Dragons will be keen to return to familiar ground this week, in what will be their first game at home since round four against the Penrith Panthers.

Sydney Roosters

After finishing as Minor Premiers the last three seasons, the Roosters have had a 2016 season they would rather forget, with just one win so far seeing them currently sit by themselves on the bottom of the competition table.

While the Roosters are averaging the most tackle breaks this year (33.1 per game), they have committed the fourth most errors (7.0 per game) and fourth most missed tackles (28.1 per game), resulting in six losses, equalling their total of last year.

1. Latrell Mitchell
2. Daniel Tupou
3. Brendan Elliot
4. Blake Ferguson
5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall
6. Jayden Nikorima
7. Jackson Hastings
8. Sam Moa
9. Jake Friend (c)
10. Dylan Napa
11. Mitchell Aubusson
12. Aidan Guerra
13. Isaac Liu
14. Kane Evans
15. Mitchell Frei
16. Eloni Vunakece
17. Connor Watson
18. Abraham Papalii

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Key Match-Up

Dragons hooker Mitch Rein had his best game of the season against the Titans last round, running for 139 for 13 hit-ups in only 44 minutes of play.

Roosters equivalent Jake Friend enters the match with the most tackles in the competition, averaging 49 tackles a game, while only committing four error the entire season, one of the lowest amongst starting hookers.

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The battle between the hookers could be pivot in deciding who could away with the two competition points with both in fine form.

History

The Dragons have the edge over the Roosters, winning 18 of their previous 34 match-ups (one draw), including a 14-12 win in last season’s corresponding game.