The St George Illawarra Dragons take the field for a crucial local derby on Sunday against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks as they look to end a string of losses heading into the bye next week. Below are five things to keep an eye on during the clash.
Captain Cam's 100th game
Dragons co-captain Cameron McInnes will notch up a century of NRL appearances when he runs out on Sunday. McInnes made his debut against the Dragons for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Round 5, 2014. The 25-year-old rake played 39 games for the Rabbitohs before moving to the Dragons in 2017.
60 matches later for the Red V and McInnes gets the opportunity to raise the bat in front of a loud and proud home crowd.
Round 11 of the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership will be Indigenous Round, paying respect to indigenous communities and honouring past and present indigenous players.
The Dragons will wear a specially-designed Indigenous jersey that will again feature a combination of designs from three local artists Lani Balzan, Keiran Campbell and Koori Minto.
Their designs were selected by a player panel, which included Indigenous players Josh Kerr, Tristan Sailor and Jai Field as well as non-indigenous players Euan Aitken and Cameron McInnes.
The four red dots above the Red V signify the four Indigenous players currently in the Dragons' NRL squad (Josh Kerr, Jai Field, Jonus Pearson and Tristan Sailor).
There are more than just two points on the line for Sunday’s clash bragging rights also up for grabs for the two sides in the Cronulla and Kogarah local derby.
These teams have a fierce rivalry and take their encounters to the next level every time they play. Throughout 42 meetings, the Dragons have won 22 while the Sharks have won 19 – attesting to the close nature of the rivalry.
A handful of players from the Sharks outfit will be more than comfortable playing at WIN Stadium after wearing the Dragons jersey in the past. Fullback Josh Dugan, winger Josh Morris, and forward Matt Prior have a combined 250 games for the Dragons between them.
Since joining the Sharks in 2017, Dugan has never beaten the Dragons while Morris will come up against his old teammates for the first time in Sharks colours. Their tie to the club adds to the passion around the clash with both sides wanting to leave victorious.
Following a tough loss to the Newcastle Knights, Dragons coach Paul McGregor said in his press conference that changes will be made and he followed through on his word.
Matt Dufty has been named in the reserves with rookie Zac Lomax shifting to fullback. Mikaela Ravalawa also falls to the reserves with former Brisbane Broncos winger Jonus Pearson set to make his Dragons debut on the wing.
Rookie utility Reece Robson will make his NRL debut off the bench coming on in the No.16 jersey. The new look line up is definitely something to keep an eye on.