Manly's Turbo-charged rise up the ladder hit an unexpected hurdle against Canberra but the Sea Eagles will be heavily favoured to get things straight back on track against a disrupted Dragons line-up.
Fullback Tom Trbojevic is highly unlikely to back up from Origin, given the two-day turnaround, but St George Illawarra will be without axed prop Paul Vaughan and three other players following the Shellharbour COVID breaches.
The Dragons have between two and four matches to schedule the one-game bans handed out to the 12 players who attended the party at Vaughan's home and it will be up to coach Anthony Griffin to decide how to distribute the pain.
Manly missed the chance to edge closer to the top four with their unexpected loss to Canberra and the forwards in particular will be keen to make amends after being comprehensively outpointed by the Raiders pack.
The seventh-placed Dragons will be looking back, not forward, at the mass of teams desperately trying to get themselves into the finals conversation.
Match: Sea Eagles v Dragons
Round 18 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Sea Eagles: Origin stars Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic have both been rested after Origin III.
Josh Schuster moves from the second row to halfback with Reuben Garrick now the fullback and Moses Suli on the wing.
Karl Lawton is the new starting second-rower and Tevita Funa is the 18th man.
Jake Trbojevic (hip) remains sidelined.
Bench forward Toafofoa Sipley suffered a shoulder injury against the Raiders but will play.
Cade Cust and Jack Gosiewski drop out of the side that lost to Canberra.
Haumole Olakau'atu has scored four tries in his past four games.
Dragons: Origin pair Tariq Sims and Ben Hunt will start the match with the Dragons 1-17. Adam Clune is the 18th man.
Matt Dufty, Tyrell Fuimaono and Kaide Ellis will serve their one-game suspension this week for breaching biosecurity rules.
Young gun Tyrell Sloan will line up at fullback while Jack de Belin shifts to prop and Jackson Ford comes in at lock.
Warriors forward Jamayne Taunoa-Brown has joined the club on a loan deal for the month of July and has been named on the bench. Poasa Faamausili is the other new face on the bench.
Talatau Amone and Jayden Sullivan were the first two players omitted 24 hours before kick-off.
The Dragons have won six of their past seven games against the Sea Eagles.
Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben GarrickFullback for Dragons is number 1 Tyrell Sloan
Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jason SaabWinger for Dragons is number 2 Cody Ramsey
Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Brad ParkerCentre for Dragons is number 3 Jack Bird
Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Morgan HarperCentre for Dragons is number 4 Brayden Wiliame
Winger for Sea Eagles is number 18 Moses SuliWinger for Dragons is number 5 Gerard Beale
Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Kieran ForanFive-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey Norman
Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 12 Josh SchusterHalfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt
Prop for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin TaupauProp for Dragons is number 8 Blake Lawrie
Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Lachlan CrokerHooker for Dragons is number 9 Andrew McCullough
Prop for Sea Eagles is number 17 Toafofoa SipleyProp for Dragons is number 10 Jack De Belin
2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Haumole Olakau'atu2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Josh Kerr
2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 15 Karl Lawton2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tariq Sims
Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Sean KeppieLock for Dragons is number 13 Jackson Ford
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 8 Taniela PasekaInterchange for Dragons is number 14 Poasa Faamausili
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Dylan WalkerInterchange for Dragons is number 15 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Kurt De LuisInterchange for Dragons is number 16 Josh McGuire
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 21 Cade CustInterchange for Dragons is number 17 Billy Burns
Reserve for Sea Eagles is number 19 Tevita FunaReserve for Dragons is number 18 Adam Clune
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Peter Gough
- Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
Josh Schuster v Tariq Sims: Pivot-turned-edge forward revelation Schuster will be super fresh and raring to go after seven weeks on the sideline with a calf injury. His veteran rival, facing a two-day turnaround after Origin III, will have to lift to match it with the 20-year-old Sea Eagle. Sims has had a huge series for the Blues but will be feeling every one of his 31 years if he takes the field.
The Sea Eagles have struggled mightily against the Dragons in recent years, winning just twice in their past nine outings against the joint-venture club. And only two of those seven losses has been close - 12-4 in 2015 and 12-10 in round six of the 2019 season - with the rest floggings by an average margin of 27.8 points with a lowest Dragons score of 32.
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