The St George Illawarra Dragons will look to solidify their position in the top eight when they face the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Thursday (7.50pm).
The Dragons will be high on confidence coming off a nail-biting 16-12 win over the Canberra Raiders at UOW Jubilee Oval last Thursday night to clinch their third win in four starts.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Rabbitohs snapped a four game losing streak last Friday night, knocking over the in-form Parramatta Eels at Pirtek Stadium 22-20, thanks to a try by Luke Keary in the 78th minute.
Despite the win, the Rabbitohs’ form has been far from that which saw them win the 2014 NRL Premiership, as they currently sit tenth on the competition table with only four wins.
The Rabbitohs have struggled at home this season, winning just one of their four games at ANZ Stadium, while conceding an average 29.7 points per game over their last three.
If the Dragons are going to come away with the two competition points they are going to have to contain their upcoming opposition’s offloads, with the Rabbitohs having the fourth most in the competition this year, averaging 12.5 a game.
1. Alex Johnston
2. Dane Nielsen
3. Kirisome Auva’a
4. Bryson Goodwin
5. Cody Walker
6. Greg Inglis
7. Adam Reynolds
8. Tom Burgess
9. Cameron McInnes
10. Nathan Brown
11. Paul Carter
12. Kyle Turner
13. Sam Burgess.
14. Luke Keary
15. Jason Clark
16. Jack Gosiewski
18. George Burgess
As Dragons fullback Josh Dugan said earlier this week, the battle between the forwards will go a long way to deciding who wins the match.
He noted that there may be no more important match-up than the one between both teams’ locks, Mike Cooper and Sam Burgess.
Burgess has really lifted his game over the last two weeks, running for 171 and 220 metres, both personal season highs, while breaking the line once in each game.
After a couple of weeks in the front row, Cooper returns to lock, the position he started the season at.
Despite only averaging 58 minutes this year, Cooper has made the fourth most tackles (315) in the team, and the fifth most metres gained (113).