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St George Illawarra Dragons' will face the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium on Friday, July 3 (6pm). This is your Round 8 game guide.

Tone set for nation's capital showdown

The Dragons' and Canberra's respective seasons have had several ups and downs so far – with both teams coming off last start losses against premiership heavyweights.

The Red V were in the fight for a long time against the defending premiers, Sydney Roosters last week, but couldn't capitalise when it mattered most.

A Dragons win is vital as far as finals football is concerned although such a performance will prove a confidence builder for the Dragons faithful.

The Raiders have fared better than Dragons across the current campaign but have lost their past two matches.

Two late tries via Canberra fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad forced Parramatta into golden point on Saturday night but it was all in vain as a Clinton Gutherson field goal proved the difference.

Dragons heap praise on in-form Dufty

Former Raiders ready for return

There's nothing like facing off against your former club as Paul Vaughan and Mikaele Ravalawa will attest to this Friday night.

Ravalawa – who recently re-signed with the Red V for three seasons – had his best game of the 2020 season against the Sydney Roosters last week and is sitting pretty in the top 10 try-scorers competition-wide.

Ravalawa has proven to be an absolute battering ram for opposition defences; a trait he shares with fellow former Raider, Paul Vaughan.

James Graham's departure from the Dragons has opened up the door for Vaughan to become the leader of the forward pack.

Vaughan's intent to let his actions do the talking on the field have proven fruitful so far considering his 123 metres and 46 tackles produced against the Tricolours in Round 7.

Swings and roundabouts

Historically, this fixture is dominated by long strings of consecutive victories.

The famed 'hoodoo' of the 2000s and late-2010s always proved to be a notch in the Raiders' belt but the Dragons have come a long way in righting those wrongs of yesteryear.

St George Illawarra have won five of their past seven games against the green machine, including two of their past three games at GIO Stadium; although even then, that loss occurred in golden point extra time.

Team chat

The Dragons will stick to the side that took on the Roosters last week, with only a couple minor changes. Korbin Sims officially joins the side after being a late inclusion for Jacob Host last week, who injured himself during the warm-up.

Eddie Blacker has been named in the wider squad for the first time this season with Tim Lafai also joining the wider squad. See the full Dragons team here.

The Raiders, however, feature a number of changes as they attempt to break a three-game losing streak.  Joe Tapine has been named to make his return from injury at Lock, replacing Corey Horsburgh.

Winger Jordan Rapana has been ruled out for the match with a minor calf injury, which sees Bailey Simonsson starting the match on the flank. Michael Oldfield also returns to the side in the centres for Curtis Scott who has been relegated to the bench. See the full Raiders team here.

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