2018 NRL – Newcastle Knights vs St George-Illawarra Dragons Preview

AT A GLANCE

When?
Saturday 1st September, 06:00 (UK)

Where?
McDonald Jones Stadium

What channel is it on?
UK – Newcastle Knights vs St George-Illawarra Dragons will not be televised live in the UK
Australia – Foxtel, LIVE PASS

Where can I stream the match?
UK – N/A
Australia – https://www.telstra.com.au/tv-movies-music/sports-offer

Are tickets still available?
http://www1.ticketmaster.com.au/newcastle-knights-v-stgeorge-illawarra-dragons-newcastle-new-south-wales-01-09-2018/event/1300543DC6148349?artistid=1109827&majorcatid=10004&minorcatid=695&bba=1&utm_source=NRLTickets&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=Premiership

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

KNIGHTS

Head Coach: Nathan Brown

Starting 13: Meaney, Sio, Mata’utia, Denniss, Kenny-Dowall, Cogger, Pearce, Ese’ese, Levi, D. Saifiti, Buhrer, Guerra, Barnett – Interchanges: Starling, Heighington, King, Felise – Reserves: Saulo, Lamb

Unavailable: Tautau Moga, Jacob Saifiti, Slade Griffin, Nathan Ross, Kalyn Ponga, Connor Watson, Lachlan Fitzgibbon

  • Newcastle were on the end of a heavy defeat away at Cronulla last week. With the Sharks still having plenty to play for, it was always likely to be a long day at the office for the Knights and it proved to be that way as they went down 38-12.

  • Connor Watson and Lachlan Fitzgibbon won’t feature in the final game of the season for the Knights, missing out through groin and concussion problems respectively. Jack Cogger replaces Watson at five-eighth whilst JJ Felise comes onto the bench.

  • After three consecutive years struggling at the foot of the NRL ladder and taking the wooden spoon each time, this season represents a success for the Knights and they can build on this further in 2019. They can finish no lower than 13th but a win here will secure 11th spot.

DRAGONS

Head Coach: Paul McGregor

Starting 13: Dufty, Macdonald, Lomax, Lafai, Pereira, Mann, Hunt, Graham, McInnes, Ah Mau, Frizell, Sims, De Belin – Interchanges: Latimore, Field, Lawrie, Leilua – Reserves: Herbert, Sele

Unavailable: Paul Vaughan, Gareth Widdop, Euan Aitken, Jason Nightingale

  • St George were embarrassed last week and rightly jeered off with their fans’ making their feelings clear after a shocking performance against Canterbury. The Dragons were nilled as they were outplayed by the Bulldogs who condemned them to a 0-38 defeat.

  • To compound matters for the Dragons, they have lost Euan Aitken and Jason Nightingale to injury. That sees Matt Dufty return to fullback having started on the bench last week whilst Zac Lomax comes into the centres. Blake Lawrie comes onto the bench for Jacob Host.

  • One win in five is likely to cost the Dragons a spot in the top 4 despite leading the NRL for a good majority of the season. They now sit in sixth and could end up as low as eighth if results go against them, costing them a home game in the first week of the play-offs.

THE PREDICTION

St George’s decline has been a hard one to take if you’re a fan of the Dragons. They looked capable of going all the way having sat at the top of the ladder for much of the season but now the Dragons face a fight to end the season with a home play-off game. They can still make the top 4 but need other results to work in their favour whilst they can also finish as low as eighth. A defeat here is likely to see them surrender the home game they currently hold which could mean a sharp exit from the finals. They head to Newcastle this week who will be hoping to end the season on a high in front of their own fans and after the Dragons’ disastrous display last week, they can take advantage and do just that.