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Raiders v Dragons: Havili hamstrung; McInnes chance to return

The Dragons are under pressure to get their season going after an 0-2 start.

They were in winning positions in both games and only had themselves to blame for failing to deliver knockout blows.

It doesn't get any easier on Thursday night in the nation's capital.

The Raiders never really clicked into gear offensively last week against the Warriors but they essentially kept their line intact (they conceded a penalty try) and will be confident of keeping the Dragons winless.

The Rundown

Team news

Raiders: Siliva Havili is in doubt for Thursday's clash after suffering a minor hamstring strain in the win over the Warriors. With the short turnaround between games, Havili faces a race against time and the Raiders are unlikely to risk him this early in the season.

Dragons: Paul McGregor will welcome back Origin forward Tariq Sims from suspension and he is hopeful captain Cameron McInnes will be able to make an early return from a knee injury suffered in the NRL Nines at Perth.

Key match-up

Jack Wighton v Corey Norman. Wighton started the season strongly in the round one defeat of the Titans but was a little quieter in last week's win over the Warriors. Wighton will be eager to bounce back to his best and Norman has to be up for the challenge if the Dragons are going to spring an upset.

Brett Kimmorley says

The Raiders have shown us in the first two weeks how good they are following on from last year’s competition. Jack Wighton’s still on fire, Josh Hodgson is showing his importance, and George Williams has settled nicely into that halfback role. I think they’ll win comfortably. The Dragons have shown their ability to score points but also an inability to defend when they’re under pressure. I don’t see them being good enough to grind out a win in Canberra. The Raiders look like a team that’s going be right up there at the top end of the competition again. Raiders by 14

Stat Attack

James Graham played just 35 minutes in last week's 32-28 loss to the Panthers, making 55 metres from six runs. Defensively the Dragons veteran made almost a tackle per minute (31 total) with only one missed tackle.

And another thing...

The Dragons and Raiders met just once in 2019 and it wasn't a happy day for Paul McGregor. The Raiders built a 16-0 half-time lead in the round 17 clash at Wollongong and cruised to a 36-14 victory. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad scored two of Canberra's seven tries.

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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