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The St George Illawarra Dragons will face the Wests Tigers at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Sunday, May 2. This is your Round 8 game guide.

#ThanksMez

The Trent Merrin farewell tour concludes this Sunday afternoon at the very same ground he made his NRL debut at 12 years ago.

Help us farewell Trent, who selflessly announced his retirement last week. The Dragons will honour his career from 3:45pm with a much-deserved tribute segment and lap of honour.

The first 2000 fans through the gates will also receive a face mask of the 2010 premiership-winning forward.

Use the hashtag #ThanksMez on social media and let the 151-game Dragon know how much you'll miss him in the Red V.

Trent Merrin: A career to be proud of

Skipper named to return

Ben Hunt has been an absentee from the Dragons for the past four rounds as a result of a broken leg suffered in March.

Falling at the final hurdle for Anzac Day, Hunt has been named in his customary No. 7 jersey and looks an almost certain starter against the Wests Tigers.

Hunt's return counteracts a double blow to the Red V's wings.

Mikaele Ravalawa (two weeks) and Jordan Pereira (three weeks) will have time to refine their tackle technique on the sidelines, with Max Feagai set for his first NRL game of 2021.

Last start club debutant Billy Burns will also commence his second game for the Dragons from the interchange, after swapping places with back-rower Josh Kerr.

Freeze frame

It wasn't the desired result on Anzac Day last Sunday but the traditional fixture against the Sydney Roosters will forever be a special occasion.  

In times of adversity…

The Wests Tigers have been a team under siege this week, which almost certainly makes them a dangerous prospect come Sunday afternoon.

A galvanised Michael Maguire-led outfit is expected to roll into Wollongong in hope of arresting a four-game losing run.

The Tigers welcome back Joey Leilua (thumb) and have reshuffled their entire forward pack in anticipation of a Dragons barrage.

The Tigers have form on their side against the Red V if the previous three seasons are anything to go by. The NRL's other joint-venture club have won three of their last four meetings against the Dragons.

Stats that matter

Josh McGuire may have become an unfortunate social media meme in recent weeks due to his winless run so far in 2021 but it certainly isn't through lack of trying.

In a whopping 59-minute effort from the interchange against the Sydney Roosters, McGuire produced an outstanding 136 metres and 38 tackles.

The old mantra that an old dog can learn new tricks applies to McGuire's teammate and former Dragons Medallist, Tariq Sims.

Sims was a hard man to stop on Anzac Day; his barnstorming try, three tackle breaks and 51 post contact metres a testament to this.

No shortage of footy

There's more St George Illawarra affiliated footy than you poke a stick at this weekend.

It all begins on Saturday morning (11am) at Leichhardt Oval when the St George Dragons tackle the Sydney Roosters Indigenous Academy in the Tarsha Gale Cup grand final.

Not to be outdone, the SG Ball Illawarra Steelers will soon following the ladies at 3pm, when they take on the Canberra Raiders in search of their second consecutive Under-19s (formerly -18s) premiership.

For the diehard locals or perhaps those Illawarra-bound, the Sunday footy starts early at Corrimal's Ziems Park (11am) when the Jersey Flegg Dragons play the Wests Tigers.

Not to be outdone, the Knock Out Effect Cup Dragons will act as a curtain-raiser to their NRL counterparts come 1:40pm on Sunday at WIN Stadium. Starring down the barrel of five-straight losses, Russell Aitken's men will be boosted by the return of Billy Brittain.