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Dragons Pathways Preview: CommBank the scene for pair of deciders

The Dragons SG Ball Cup and Steelers Tarsha Gale Cup squads will this Saturday journey to CommBank Stadium for an awaited pair of Grand Finals.

The Dragons take on a Bulldogs side that upset the minor premier Roosters a week ago whilst the Steelers meet with the Knights.

Key Timings

  • Date: Saturday, April 27th
  • Tarsha Gale Cup: 1:30pm
  • SG Ball Cup: 3:15pm
  • Where: CommBank Stadium


The Dragons will be eyeing their first SG Ball Cup premiership in 32 years when they meet the Bulldogs at CommBank Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Willie Talau's Dragons are fresh off a comprehensive 36-4 win over the Knights behind a Jesse Williams hat-trick.

SG Ball Cup Semi Final Highlights: Dragons vs Knights

With seven wins from their nine regular season outings and the competition's best points differential, the Dragons claimed the No.2 seed heading into the postseason.

Talau liked much of what he saw from his side's Semi Final win over the Knights.

"I loved our mentality towards competing," Talau said.

"Everything we spoke about and practised, we executed... There’s always room for improvement but the improvements for us are only subtle. We play a simple but effective brand of footy based around effort towards teamwork and it’s something that our group have committed to throughout the entire season."

The significance of the occasion is not lost on Talau, but he maintains that his messaging to his squad has remained simple.

"I've told them that we are in the position that we are in due to the work we constantly put in, so train the way we want to play and enjoy every moment," he said.

"It’s a massive week for everyone at the St George District Rugby League and the St George Illawarra Dragons as a whole... It’s nice recognition for the hard-working people that have been involved in and around our pathways system without experiencing any significant success over the past few years."

The Bulldogs meanwhile scraped past the Roosters at Henson Park last week 28-22 after leading by 16 with five minutes to play.

Steve Turner's men finished the year fourth on the ladder with six wins, two losses, and a draw from their nine regular season outings and the competition's fourth best points differential.

Talau has no illusions on the strength of the Bulldogs' side despite the fact that a trio of teams finished atop of them on the competition ladder.

"They are a good team and deserve their place in the Grand Final," Talau said.

"They have big forwards and outside backs and smart halves who are going to challenge us at different stages of the game. The challenge for us is how we respond; I’m confident that we’ve prepared well, and that we are fully focused on playing our brand of footy."

Saturday's clash will be the first time that the two sides have met this season.


The undefeated Steelers will look to cap off a dream season when they take on the Knights in a 2019 Grand Final rematch at CommBank Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Future NRLW stars Teagan Berry, Keele Browne, and Maddison Weatherall helped lead the Steelers to a 24-12 that day with the club hoping for a similar result come Saturday.

Having secured the minor premiership and a week off, the Steelers are fresh off a 26-4 win over the Sharks.

Tarsha Gale Cup Semi Final Highlights: Steelers vs Sharks

Steelers head coach Courtney Crawford was encouraged by her side's "mature" performance against the Sharks in their opening finals clash.

"It was definitely a good performance from the girls," Crawford said.

"The most pleasing part was definitely our defence. We spoke about going after them defensively and working hard for each other and we definitely did that. We limited their attacking opportunities and to concede just 4 points in a Semi Final is quite impressive.

"After having two weeks off, we were probably a bit clunky in attack but, to the girls' credit, they stuck to the system and stayed patient and we got the result. I thought it was a really mature performance."

Crawford says that, despite the big occasion this weekend, the messaging throughout the week has remained consistent.

"The messages have stayed the same this week," she said.

"We have to make sure we execute the basics really well and focus on trusting our systems that have gotten us here. It's really important that, as a group, we enjoy the week... We’ve worked extremely hard to get ourselves in this position and these opportunities don’t come around very often, so it's definitely something we need to enjoy."

The Knights finished with the No.5 seed having nabbed five wins, two losses, and a draw throughout the regular season.

They pipped the Sea Eagles the opening week of the finals before shutting out the Bulldogs 28-0 last week to punch their Grand Final ticket.

Crawford knows how strong a challenge the Knights will present come Saturday. 

"Newcastle are a great side," she said.

"They’re a team that works hard for each other and they do the basics really well. They have some really talented players and we’re going to have to be at our best on Saturday to get the win. I'm sure it’s going to be a great contest."

The Steelers and Knights have not faced each other this season.

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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