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The challenge of a local derby could be just what Cronulla need as the club looks for a way to snap a six-game losing streak and arrest an accelerating slide out of contention.

The Sharks must relocate the grit and defensive resolve that has defined the club for so long because St George have built a brand of imposing themselves physically on opposition sides this season.

Cronulla will need a lot more of what veteran prop Andrew Fifita delivered in his first game of the season.

Cronulla's second-half fightback to get to within four points of South Sydney on Saturday is encouraging but interim coach Josh Hannay is looking for more, particularly better fifth tackle options.  

A date with their arch-rivals won't be an easy assignment after the Dragons' gutsy display against competition heavyweights Melbourne despite being down a man for much of the contest.

Coach Anthony Griffin has instilled a lot of fight in St George Illawarra and while they will be looking for more consistency from week to week Griffin knows they won't lie down if things go against them.

That resilience will be further tested by the injury and judiciary consequences of their trip to Brisbane.

The rundown

Team news

Sharks: Andrew Fifita is out, with Billy Magoulias added to the bench. Shaun Johnson was the other player omitted from the extended bench on Thursday night after failing to overcome his hamstring injury.

Franklin Pele is 18th man with Jensen Taumoepeau omitted from the playing squad on game day.

The Sharks have won four of their past five games against the Dragons, fullback Will Kennedy has scored five tries in his past four games at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium while prop Aaron Woods has scored three tries in his past four games against the Dragons.

Dragons: St George Illawarra have reshuffled their team on game day. Talatau Amone starts at centre, Billy Burns moves to the bach row, Poasa Faamausili shifting to the front row and Paul Vaughan to the bench.

Adam Clune replaces Daniel Alvaro on the bench, with Alvaro the new 18th man.

The Dragons are without Josh McGuire (five weeks), Tyrell Fuimaono (five weeks), Mikaele Ravalawa (two weeks) and Tariq Sims (one week) after all four entered guilty please to charges generated during the Magic Round loss to Melbourne. Fullback Matt Dufty (shoulder) is also sidelined.

Cody Ramsey shifts from wing to fullback while Jordan Pereira returns from suspension on one wing and youngster Max Feagai is the other winger.

Prop Jaiyden Hunt has been named to make his NRL debut from the bench where he will be joined by second-gamer Junior Amone, Kaide Ellis and Daniel Alvaro.

Billy Brittain dropped out of the side on game day after Hayden Lomax and Gerard Beale were trimmed from the reserves 24 hours before kick-off.

The Dragons have won only two of their past seven games at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
    Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Cody Ramsey
  • Winger for Sharks is number 2 Mawene Hiroti
    Winger for Dragons is number 2 Jordan Pereira
  • Centre for Sharks is number 3 Josh Dugan
    Centre for Dragons is number 3 Jack Bird
  • Centre for Sharks is number 4 Will Chambers
    Centre for Dragons is number 17 Talatau Amone
  • Winger for Sharks is number 5 Connor Tracey
    Winger for Dragons is number 5 Max Feagai
  • Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt Moylan
    Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey Norman
  • Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend
    Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt

Forwards

  • Prop for Sharks is number 8 Aiden Tolman
    Prop for Dragons is number 8 Blake Lawrie
  • Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
    Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Andrew McCullough
  • Prop for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
    Prop for Dragons is number 13 Poasa Faamausili
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 4 Billy Burns
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Josh Kerr
  • Lock for Sharks is number 13 Toby Rudolf
    Lock for Dragons is number 12 Jackson Ford

Interchange

  • Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Braydon Trindall
    Interchange for Dragons is number 10 Paul Vaughan
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Teig Wilton
    Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Kaide Ellis
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Jack Williams
    Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Jaiyden Hunt
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 19 Billy Magoulias
    Interchange for Dragons is number 18 Adam Clune

Reserves

  • Reserve for Sharks is number 20 Franklin Pele
    Reserve for Dragons is number 16 Daniel Alvaro

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ben Cummins
  • Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
  • Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara

Last updated:

Key match-up

Will Kennedy v Cody Ramsey: The Sharks No.1 has been one of the standouts in a tough season to date and his evasive skills will keep the Dragons on their toes.

Should the revamped Red V defensive combinations miss their assignments, Kennedy will make them pay. Ramsey is an up-and-comer with plenty of speed who finds himself shifted to fullback in the absence of the injured Matt Dufty.

He can expect plenty of high balls raining down on him as the Sharks kickers test him out.

Stat attack

The Dragons (344) and Cronulla (342) have missed more tackles than any other team in the competition while Sharks Toby Rudolf (42) and Chad Townsend (40) rank No.1 and No.2 in the individual category.

Whoever cleans up their defensive act best will be well on the way to victory. 

 

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