A new era for St George Illawarra kicks off at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium when the Dragons host traditional rivals Cronulla in the first match of Anthony Griffin's tenure.
The former Broncos and Panthers mentor becomes the eighth coach of the joint-venture, following in the footsteps of David Waite, Andrew Farrar, Nathan Brown, their 2010 premiership winner Wayne Bennett, Steve Price, Paul McGregor and last season's interim appointment, Dean Young.
For the Sharks, coach John Morris is off contract heading into the new season, looking to extend his run of playoff appearances to three straight years after taking the reins when Shane Flanagan departed at the end of 2018.
Dragons v Sharks
Match: Dragons v Sharks
Round 1 -
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
Dragons: Anthony Griffin's side will start 1-17 after Jackson Ford and Kaide Ellis were the two players left out an hour before the game.
Former Roosters prop Poasa Faamausili has successfully progressed through HIA protocols after suffering a concussion in the Charity Shield. He has been named on the bench alongside fellow forward recruit Daniel Alvaro.
With Cameron McInnes out for the season with a torn ACL, veteran Andrew McCullough will slot in at hooker with Tyrell Fuimaono winning the race for the No.13 jersey. Blake Lawrie has been named at prop, with veteran Trent Merrin on the bench.
Jordan Pereira and Max Feagai were cut from the 21-man squad on Saturday.
The Dragons won only two from six at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in 2020.
Sharks: Cronulla will start 1-17 after Mawene Hiroti and Teig Wilton were the last two players omitted. Andrew Fifita has missed out on a spot in the 17. He was cut from the extended squad on Saturday along with Braydon Trindall.
Josh Dugan, Toby Rudolf and 2021 recruit Aiden Tolman shook off their respective leg injuries to be named for the short trip to Kogarah. Royce Hunt (knee) and Siosifa Talakai (shoulder) are still at least a week away from returning.
Matt Moylan will start the season at five-eighth and Will Kennedy at fullback with Shaun Johnson still a couple of months away from returning after Achilles surgery.
The Sharks have lost their past seven Round 1 games.
Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Matthew DuftyFullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
Winger for Dragons is number 2 Cody RamseyWinger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
Centre for Dragons is number 3 Jack BirdCentre for Sharks is number 3 Josh Dugan
Centre for Dragons is number 4 Zac LomaxCentre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse Ramien
Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele RavalawaWinger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Adam CluneFive-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt Moylan
Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben HuntHalfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend
Prop for Dragons is number 8 Blake LawrieProp for Sharks is number 8 Braden Hamlin-Uele
Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Andrew McCulloughHooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
Prop for Dragons is number 10 Paul VaughanProp for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Josh Kerr2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tariq Sims2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
Lock for Dragons is number 13 Tyrell FuimaonoLock for Sharks is number 13 Toby Rudolf
Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Poasa FaamausiliInterchange for Sharks is number 14 Connor Tracey
Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Trent MerrinInterchange for Sharks is number 15 Aiden Tolman
Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Daniel AlvaroInterchange for Sharks is number 16 Jack Williams
Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Brayden WiliameInterchange for Sharks is number 17 Billy Magoulias
- Referee: Peter Gough
- Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
- Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
- Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy
Tariq Sims v Wade Graham: The experienced second-rowers are crucial to their team's chances.
Sims has the chance to become the spearhead of the St George Illawarra pack following the departures last year of James Graham and Tyson Frizell while Graham is the Sharks' creative spark on the left edge who can also turn momentum in a game with a massive hit in defence.
Cronulla "led" the NRL in missed tackles last year, dropping off 743 over the course of the season, well clear of the next-worst offender, Canterbury, who racked up 648.
They have had all summer to rectify this problem - it will be near impossible to return to the finals if they again miss more than 35 tackles per game.
What will be the result in this Telstra Premiership clash?
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