2018 NRL – Wests Tigers vs St George-Illawarra Dragons Preview

AT A GLANCE

When? Saturday 18th August, 08:30 (UK)

Where? Leichhardt Oval

What channel is it on? UK - Sky Sports Arena
Australia - Foxtel, LIVE PASS

Where can I stream the match? UK - Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go
Australia - https://www.telstra.com.au/tv-movies-music/sports-offer

Are tickets still available? http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/Show.aspx?sh=TIG2318

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

TIGERS

Head Coach: Ivan Cleary

Starting 13: Mbye, Nofoaluma, Marsters, Fonua, Naiqama, Marshall, Brooks, Packer, Farah, Matulino, Lawrence, Chee Kam, Taylor – Interchanges: Twal, Sue, Garner, Eisenhuth – Reserves: Liddle, Watene-Zelezniak

Unavailable: Josh Reynolds, Josh Aloiai, Corey Thompson

  • Wests Tigers held on for an important win against Canberra last week. The Tigers scored four tries in the first half but failed to cross in the second although a 43rd minute Esan Marsters penalty proved to be the difference as they crept home 20-22.

  • Mahe Fonua returns from a broken arm in the centres which pushes Kevin Naiqama out to the wing and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak to the reserves. Chris Lawrence is also back from injury and slots straight into the second row with Jacob Liddle the man to make way.

  • Brisbane’s win on Thursday opened up a four-point gap between the ninth-placed Tigers and the top 8. With four wins from the last five, Wests must continue their good form and will probably need to win their remaining three games to have any chance of making the play-offs.

DRAGONS

Head Coach: Paul McGregor

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

Unavailable: Jason Nightingale, Paul Vaughan, Gareth Widdop

  • St George were humiliated by Parramatta last week as the Dragons’ season begins to unravel. The Eels dominated and ran in seven tries as the Dragons went down 40-4.

  • To compound last week’s miserable loss, the Dragons suffered a huge blow with skipper Gareth Widdop going down with a shoulder injury. He will miss out here so Kurt Mann steps in at five-eighth.

  • Five defeats in six games has seen the Dragons slide out of the top 4 for the first time this season. A loss here against the Tigers would leave St George in big trouble as Wests would close the gap on them to just two points.

THE PREDICTION

Having found themselves top for a large portion of the season, the Dragons ended Round 22 outside of the top 4 after they were hammered by Parramatta, the team who have been bottom all season. To make matters worse, the Dragons lost influential captain Gareth Widdop to injury. Their season could turn really sour on the back of that and a sixth loss in seven games in this game would leave their opponents just two points behind them. Wests have won four from five and with them knowing any slip-up now will all but end their season, they could really take advantage of the slump that the Dragons find themselves in to keep themselves right in the play-off mix.