The St George Illawarra Dragons will proudly launch the NRL Indigenous Round when they host the Canberra Raiders at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Thursday (kick-off 7.50pm).
The Dragons will be keen to return to winning ways for the encounter having succumbed to a 26-10 loss to the New Zealand Warriors at MT Smart Stadium, Auckland last round.
The Dragons committed 10 errors and 36 missed tackles during that match but will be looking to do one over their upcoming opponents who have lost three of their last four games.
Head Coach Paul McGregor has named an 18-man squad for the upcoming home fixture which sees utility Will Matthews named as lock for the injured Jack de Belin (shoulder).
Furthermore, fellow utility Jake Marketo has been named on a five-man extended interchange which also includes props Russell Packer, Dunamis Lui and Jacob Host as well as lock Siliva Havili.
The Raiders, as noted, have lost three of their previous four games whilst also conceding an average of 25.3 points per game.
The major advantage for the Raiders however, is they enter the match with the exact same 17 that narrowly went down to the Penrith Panthers 19-18 at Carrington Park, Bathurst, last round.
While they currently sit in seventh position on the competition table, the Raiders have the fourth most potent attack in the NRL, averaging 24.1 points per game.
Raiders centre Jarrod Croker has been a stand-out for the team, leading the competition with 88 points, while winger Jordan Rapana has the most line breaks (12) and second most tries (8).
1. Jack Wighton
2. Edrick Lee
3. Jarrod Croker (c)
4. Joey Leilua
5. Jordan Rapana
6. Blake Austin
7. Aidan Sezer
8. Shannon Boyd
9. Josh Hodgson
10. Paul Vaughan
11. Josh Papalli
12. Elliott Whitehead
13. Shaun Fensom
14. Kurt Baptiste
15. Luke Bateman
16. Clay Priest
17. Joe Tapine
Dragons fullback Josh Dugan will come up against his counterpart Jack Wighton with both expected to be pivotal in deciding who will come away with the two competition points.
Dugan enters the tussle having missed only 28 minutes of game time this season to record one try and lead the competition with 1,578 metres.
Croker too has notched on try to his name whilst making 1,245 metres.
The Dragons have struggled against the Raiders in recent seasons having won only nine of their 26 games since 1999.
The Raiders have not played at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah in 12 seasons but have still come away with the two competition points on two of three occasions, including a 21-12 win back in 2004.
NRL Indigenous Round Information
The NRL Indigenous Round provides an opportunity for our game to recognise and celebrate the unique relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Rugby League.
The round additionally aims to highlight the significant social issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Dragons pay their respect to the Dharawal people as traditional owners who have, and continue to nurture, the land of which our catchment is part.
The Dragons will wear their Indigenous jersey against the Souths Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park in Round 11.
The unique design of the jersey will have a special relevance as both teams will take the field in their respective individually designed strips to celebrate the indigenous culture within our communities.