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Game day guide: Round 18 v Sea Eagles

The St George Illawarra Dragons will face the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at CBus Super Stadium, Gold Coast on Friday, July 16. This is your Round 18 game day guide.

No place like a new home

St George Illawarra will call Brisbane home for a minimum of four weeks in the club's bid to help keep the NRL season up and running,

After a frantic few days to pack bags and complete biosecurity measure, the team boarded a charter flight to Queensland where they will isolate for the next 14 days, outside of training and game days.

Our home away from home is a homecoming for many of our squad, with seven players hailing from the Sunshine state as well as head coach Anthony Griffin.

Suspended trio

12 St George Illawarra players were handed one-game suspensions for the role in breaching biosecurity protocols and state government public health orders in early July.

These suspensions are to be fulfilled over the coming three rounds to ensure the not-at-fault Dragons as a team are not compromised.

Matt Dufty, Tyrell Fuimaono and Kaide Ellis will be the first three to sit out, this weekend against the Sea Eagles.

Each of the players involved have since apologised for their role in the breaches, which you can see here.

Glimpse into the future

There's always a silver lining and as far as the upcoming suspensions go, at least Dragons' members and fans get another look at the club's rookie prospects.

Tyrell Sloan gets his second start in the NRL after a memorable debut against the Canberra Raiders in Round 15.

Start to finish: Tyrell Sloan's amazing NRL debut

Jackson Ford will start at lock for the eighth time in the Gerringong local junior's career while Jaiyden Hunt, Junior Amone and Jayden Sullivan have all been named on an extended bench.

Not even a week into his time at the Dragons, Warriors forward Jamayne Taunoa-Brown has been named to debut off the bench to bolster our forward pack.

There may be plenty of hype around our rookies but it's a big week for veteran outside back Gerard Beale too, who will play an impressively 200th NRL game.

Origin stars named

Just 48 hours before the Dragons trot out there for Round 18, CBus Super Stadium will host Game Three of the 2021 State of Origin series.

The Tariq Sims-inspired Blues squad is aiming for their first clean sweep since 2000, while Ben Hunt is out to spoil the party while fulfilling the hooking duties. 

Friday night has the potential to cap off a memorable week for Sims, who will hopefully line up for his 100th appearance in the Red V.

Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans have also been named to back-up for Origin in a boost for the Sea Eagles.

Manly margins 

It's hard to deny Manly's big winning margins recently, but the same can't be said for their recent margins against the Dragons.

The Sea Eagles have struggled against the Dragons in recent years, winning just twice in their past nine matches.

Only two of those seven losses have been close – 12-4 in 2015 and 12-10 in 2019. The Dragons have won the remainder by an average margin of 27.8 points – the Red V's lowest score being 32 in this time.

Match highlights: Round 9 v Sea Eagles