The St George Illawarra Dragons will face the Canberra Raiders at CBus Super Stadium, Gold Coast on Friday, August 6. This is your Round 21 game day guide.
Finals come early
Friday's clash shapes as a crucial fixture for both sides as the race for the top eight continues to heat up.
The two combatants Raiders and Dragons sit 9th and 10th on the ladder respectively, with the exact same points differential (-81) after 20 rounds.
Whoever comes away with the chocolates will gain a huge boost to their finals credentials with just four matches remaining in the season thereafter.
Mikaele Ravalawa and Zac Lomax will finally be reunited on the Dragons' right edge in a big boost for our attack.
The lethal combo will look to spark the Dragons' attack with Adam Clune pulling the strings at halfback replacing Ben Hunt.
Jack Bird will line up at fullback at the expense of Tyrell Sloan while Josh McGuire, Blake Lawrie and Jack de Belin have all been named to start in the forwards.
Andrew McCullough will captain the Dragons in wake of Ben Hunt’s untimely injury.
McCullough captained the side while Hunt recovered from his first broken bone (leg) this year leaving coach Anthony Griffin to again throw the responsibility his way.
McCullough leads the NRL in defence with 931 tackles at an outstanding efficiency of 97.2 per cent.
Raiders roll the dice
A trump card looms on the bench for the green machine in the form of debutant Elijah Anderson.
The Queensland Under-20s representative comes in for the injured Sebastian Kris, pushing Matt Timoko from the bench into the centres.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has also shuffled his forwards around with Joe Tapine named at prop, Ryan Sutton makes his return from injury at lock, Hudson Young starting in the second row and Corey Harawira-Naera moving back to the bench.
Normy’s big day out
If the Dragons start to fall behind on Friday, Red V members, fans and partners can take solace in the fact the Dragons fought back from a 20-8 half-time deficit against the Raiders only four games ago.
In what was likely the Red V's final home game of season 2021, WIN Stadium was treated to second half blitz from the Dragons scoring 14 unanswered points to steal the victory.
Corey Norman turned it on the final 40, setting up Tyrell Sloan next to the posts before scoring the eventual match-winner in the final moments of the match.
Match highlights: Round 15 v Raiders