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There isn't much between these local derby combatants as the halfway point of the season approaches.

Throughout 42 matches, the Dragons have won 22 meetings while the Sharks have won 19. However, in recent years the Sharks have struggled when making the trip to Wollongong winning just one of their last seven games at WIN Stadium.

The Dragons have a higher completion rate with 77 per cent (fourth best competition-wide) while the Sharks have completed at 73 per cent (13th). The Dragons also have a quicker play the ball speed with 3.42 seconds compared to the Sharks with 3.47 seconds. The higher completion rate and faster play the ball bodes well in the Dragons' favour.

In attack, the Sharks have the edge with the 10th best attack as well as the most offloads competition-wide (131). The Dragons aren't far behind (12th best attack) but lose ground in defence given they've conceded the second-most points.

Danger man
Andrew Fifita

Standing 194 centimetres tall and weighing in at a mammoth 118 kilograms, Andrew Fifita causes carnage no matter where he plays with over 24 representative matches for his state and country.

Despite some nagging injuries this season Fifita still tops the NRL for offloads (35) – almost ten more than the nearest competitor. Averaging 120.5 metres per game, limiting his impact through the middle will be a big task for the Dragons.

The 29-year-old is defending at an impressive 92 per cent efficiency this season with 318 total tackles while busting 31 tackles in attack.

Key match-ups
Ben Hunt v Chad Townsend

Hunt comes up against the side he debuted against back in 2009 with a point to prove by outplaying in-form Cronulla halfback Chad Townsend.

Both halves play a game management role in their side and have plenty of attacking upside with seven try assists and three tries each.

Townsend can claim a better kicking game this season, forcing nine dropouts to Ben Hunt's six. But its defence where Hunt makes up ground on his opposite number, making an extra 64 tackles.

Tyson Frizell v Briton Nikora

Experience takes on youth in this entertaining clash of hard running back-rowers. Frizell has played at the highest level for his country and amassed 144 NRL appearances, while Nikora has played just nine matches since debuting this season.

Despite giving up plenty of experience to his opposite number, Nikora has had no trouble settling into the NRL scoring three tries and producing seven line breaks.

After missing some time on the field through injury, Frizell will have a point to prove against the frontrunner for the 2019 Dally M Rookie of the Year.

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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