St George Illawarra Dragons v Parramatta Eels
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
The St George Illawarra Dragons enter Round 2 atop the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder, and will now brace for the Parramatta Eels at WIN Stadium on Sunday, March 12.
A huge 42-10 win over the Penrith Panthers last weekend in Kogarah helped the Dragons get their season underway in the best possible fashion.
A hat-trick from back-rower Joel Thompson and a whopping 22-point haul from skipper Gareth Widdop proved highlights for the Red V.
The Eels started their season with a big win too, a 20-12 effort over the Sea Eagles at Lottoland.
With the Eels' win orchestrated by halves Corey Norman and Clinton Gutherson, the Dragons will have to be wary of the duo's influence.
Both teams are unchanged 1-17 from their respective wins in Round 1.
Dragons: 1. Josh Dugan, 2. Nene Macdonald, 3. Euan Aitken, 4. Tim Lafai, 5. Jason Nightingale, 6. Gareth Widdop (c), 7. Josh McCrone, 8. Russell Packer, 9. Cameron McInnes, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Joel Thompson, 13. Jack de Belin. Interchange: 14. Tariq Sims, 15. Leeson Ah Mau, 16. Jacob Host, 17. Jai Field, 18. Kurt Mann, 19. Taane Milne, 20. Luciano Leilua, 21. Hame Sele.
Eels : 1. Bevan French, Semi Radradra, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Brad Takairangi, 5. Josh Hoffman, 6. Clinton Gutherson, 7. Corey Norman, 8. Suaia Matagi, 9. Kaysa Pritchard, 10. Tim Mannah (c), 11. Manu Ma'u, 12. Tepai Moeroa, 13. Beau Scott (c). Interchange: 14. Nathan Brown, 15. Daniel Alvaro, 16. Rory O'Brien, 17. Frank Pritchard, 18. David Gower, 19.Cameron King, 20. George Jennings, 21. Marata Niukore.
Key Match-Up: Russell Packer v Suaia Matagi – These Kiwi internationals played a huge role in their respective sides' wins in Round 1 of the 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership season. Matagi refused to let Manly's big men damper his spirit as he constantly peppered the Sea Eagles' defensive line. Packer also made a huge impact against the Panthers and finished proceedings with 174 metres.
The History: Played 31; Dragons 14, Eels 15, Drawn 2. The last time the Dragons beat the Eels was coincidentally the last time these two went toe-to-toe in Wollongong, way back in Round 10, 2013. The Dragons have since lost their past four games against the Eels including a 30-18 loss in Round 25 last year.
Match Officials: Referee: Dave Munro. Assistant Referee: Chris Sutton. Sideline Officials: Rohan Best and Phil Henderson.
Televised: Fox League – Live coverage from 6pm
Radio: ABC and Triple M