Five things: Round 22 v Sharks

The St George Illawarra Dragons will head to Pointsbet Stadium to face off with old foes the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in Round 22 of the NRL Telstra Premiership. Five things to factor into your Sunday afternoon are to follow.  

Local derby to live up to occasion

Current standings mean very little when it comes to the Dragons' local derby rivalry with the Sharks.

While both teams currently reside in the bottom eight of the competition ladder, form tends to go out the window and a thrilling contest usually ensues.

The Dragons haven't lost to Cronulla at Shark Park since 2016. Another win in enemy territory would be a nice notch in the Dragons' belt ahead of a hopefully better and brighter 2020 campaign.

Dragons look to play spoilers

Look away now Sharks fans! The Dragons may be out of the finals race but they're not prepared to rest on the laurels over the coming month of football.

With skipper Gareth Widdop departing for English Super League and Jeremy Latimore's future set on mortgage broking, the Red V still have plenty to play for.

The Sharks sit precariously on the competition ladder at ninth, tied with the Wests Tigers on 20 competition points.

Interestingly, Brisbane sit one point ahead of the Sharks at eighth; the Broncos will play the seventh place Panthers this weekend in a telling fixture for Cronulla's immediate future.

Injury offers opportunities

Dragons back-rower Tariq Sims (groin) and Sharks vice-captain Andrew Fifita's (knee) absences has handed some of the game's rising stars another opportunity in the big smoke.

Jackson Ford (St George Illawarra) and Billy Magoulias (Sharks) will both play their second NRL games from the interchange in a nod to future seasons.

In a sign of the times, the likes of Blake Lawrie, Luciano Leilua and Patrick Kaufusi alongside Sharks quartet Briton Nikora, Kurt Capewell, Jack Williams and Braden Hamlin-Uele have all seized their opportunities so far in 2019.

Crossed allegiances

Several players know their respective upcoming opponents a little better than the remainder of their teammates.

It's little known that Latimore's first taste of rugby league in Sydney was at the Sharks in the early-2000s. He'd return to the Shire for the 2017 season prior to his return to the Dragons last year.

Tyson Frizell is another who has previously donned Sharks colours, in his debut season way back in 2011.

Matt Prior leads the charge for former Dragons now at the Sharks given he was on the interchange for the Red V's 2010 premiership success.

Josh Dugan (84 games) and Josh Morris (46 games) have also played integral roles for the Dragons over the years.

Women in League Round

Last year brought in a new era for women's rugby league. The first State of Origin and the inaugural Women's Premiership are a testament to this.

Women in League Round tackles things a little differently. It's the NRL, the 16 clubs and every member and fans' way of thanking women in all walks of footy life.

Women in League Round is for the canteen ladies braving a brisk Saturday morning at the local footy field, the female volunteers who ensure we have a game to play and the mums who cart their little tykes to training.

This weekend is rugby league's way of thanking them for their efforts and contributions.