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St George Illawarra face a monumental task sustaining their top eight challenge after their meek surrender to last-placed Canterbury on the holiday Monday.

The Dragons cling to a playoff spot on percentages, sitting eighth but with the arch-rival Sharks (riding a three-game win streak), Raiders and Warriors all equal with them on 12 points.

Five-eighth Corey Norman and fullback Matt Dufty will be looking to put their best foot forward to attract the interest of rival clubs after being told they aren't in the Dragons' plans but Dufty in particular needs to lift after a disheartening outing against the Bulldogs.

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Canberra, in contrast, are on a totally different trajectory after thumping the Broncos 38-16 in a display that had coach Ricky Stuart declaring Canberra were getting their mojo back. 

The rundown

Team news

Dragons: Tyrell Sloan will make his NRL debut at fullback, Jack De Belin will start at lock and Josh Kerr will run on as a front-rower.

As a result of those late changes, Matt Dufty and Jackson Ford are out of the squad and Paul Vaughan has been moved back to the interchange bench.

Adam Club and Billy Burns are on the interchange and Poasa Faamausili is the 18th man.

Raiders: Sia Soliola and Ryan Sutton will again trade places, with Soliola to start and Sutton on the bench.

Xavier Savage is the 18th man for Canberra.

Ryan James won't return to the NRL after serving a suspension after he and Matt Frawley were the two players left out 24 hours before the game. 

The Raiders have won four of their past five games against the Dragons.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Dragons is number 20 Tyrell Sloan
    Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Bailey Simonsson
  • Winger for Dragons is number 2 Cody Ramsey
    Winger for Raiders is number 2 Semi Valemei
  • Centre for Dragons is number 3 Brayden Wiliame
    Centre for Raiders is number 3 Sebastian Kris
  • Centre for Dragons is number 4 Gerard Beale
    Centre for Raiders is number 4 Matthew Timoko
  • Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
    Winger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
  • Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey Norman
    Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
  • Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt
    Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Sam Williams

Forwards

  • Prop for Dragons is number 8 Blake Lawrie
    Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
  • Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Andrew McCullough
    Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
  • Prop for Dragons is number 15 Josh Kerr
    Prop for Raiders is number 10 Dunamis Lui
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Tariq Sims
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Corey Harawira-Naera
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Jack Bird
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
  • Lock for Dragons is number 17 Jack De Belin
    Lock for Raiders is number 16 Iosia Soliola

Interchange

  • Interchange for Dragons is number 10 Paul Vaughan
    Interchange for Raiders is number 13 Ryan Sutton
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Daniel Alvaro
    Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Tom Starling
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 18 Adam Clune
    Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Emre Guler
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 22 Billy Burns
    Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Joseph Tapine

Reserves

  • Reserve for Dragons is number 19 Poasa Faamausili
    Reserve for Raiders is number 18 Xavier Savage

Match Officials

  • Referee: Chris Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

Last updated:

Key match-up

Ben Hunt v Sam Williams: The Dragons veteran has had a great season but had a few moments he'd like to forget against the Bulldogs. Hunt has three tries, 10 try assists, 19 offloads and 92 run metres a game in 10 outings.

Long-time understudy Williams now has an extended run in the starting side following the departure of namesake George Williams. He has just a try, try assist, offload and line-break assist in three games and averages 42 run metres so he still has some way to go in the transition from solid caretaker to impact player. 

Stat attack

Raiders kickers Sam Williams and Jack Wighton will have to be at their quickest and most efficient against the Dragons who lead the NRL in charge-downs. The Red V have blocked seven kicks, three more than the second-placed Eels, while back-rower Tariq Sims (three) is also tops in the individual category. 

 

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