PREVIEW 🔍 Robert Crosby looks at what to expect in Sunday night's second State of Origin clash.
7 hours ago
Dragons attempt to keep season alive against hurting Titans.
The Dragons return to Kogarah Oval on Saturday with a must win clash against the Gold Coast Titans. Both sides are hurting from different reasons and will be keen to right the wrongs of last week. Typically the Dragons play better when at Kogarah but will face a stern test against the Titans who have been impressive against the Dragons in recent meetings.
Much has been made of the Dragons fall from grace in what has been a shambolic second half of the season. Last week's last minute loss to Souths compacted that and a loss against the Titans on Saturday would surely end the hopes of the Red V.
Gold Coast don't have much to lose in this contest and may play better football with the shackles released. There is no chance of finals football for them and they would love nothing more then to come down to Sydney and shatter the Dragons finals hopes. Can they do it?
Last meeting: Round 17 2017 - Titans 20 Dragons 10
The Titans won the earlier contest this season and have won three of the past four against the Red V. They also have won three of four clashes at Kogarah Oval including last year where they trounced the Dragons 32-12. St George Illawarra hold a 11-7 advantage over the Titans in their 18 meetings.
Who to watch: The Dragons diminutive fullback Matt Dufty has been a breath of fresh air since debuting in first grade three week ago. He has fleet footwork, great vision, speed and good passing skills which make him a danger at the back. He has aided the Dragons attack and look for him to be heavily involved in everything the Dragons do in both attack and defence. A shining light for the Red V that could very well be the future number 1 for the Dragons. No doubt he will want a big one in his first NRL match at Kogarah, it is just a stones throw away from his home town of Penshurst.
The Titans have had an up and down year which has been hard for their fans to endure. One player taht has been consistent throughout 2017 has been prop Jarrod Wallace. A Queensland rep in 2017, Wallace has been superb in the middle of the field with his strong carries and reliable defence the standouts. He will again be asked to nail down that middle third of the field for the Titans on Saturday and his battle with Paul Vaughan up front should be a great one.
The favourite: The Dragons are favourite mainly thanks to the Titans awful performnace last week against the Broncos.
My tip: Titans to cause the upset here against the sliding Dragons. It appears the Dragons have put the cue in the rack for 2017. Their inability to get up for games against the lowly Knights and Rabbits says to me they don't have the motivation to play finals footy. Titans have a good record at Kogarah and will want to bounce back quickly. Titans by 12.
1. Matthew Dufty 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Josh Dugan 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 17. Kurt Mann 14. Tariq Sims 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin 8. Leeson Ah Mau 15. Hame Sele 16. Blake Lawrie 19. Taane Milne
1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Anthony Don 3. Dale Copley 4. John Olive 5. William Zillman 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Joe Greenwood 16. Leivaha Pulu 13. Max King 14. Tyrone Roberts 15. Nathaniel Peteru 17. Paterika Vaivai
Referees: Ashley Klein, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski; Sideline Officials: Nick Beashel, Nick Morel; Video Referees: Bernard Sutton, Bryan Norrie;