FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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Saints team v Parra Sun 23 Mar. WIN Stadium 2:30PM
1. R Simmonds 2. A Roberts 3. M Gasnier 4. M Cooper 5. H Saleh 6. B Hornby 7. B Firman 8. L Bailey 9. M Riddell 10. J Ryles 11. B Kite 12. L Thompson (c) 13. J Cross
14. C Stapleton 15. N Tutt 16. D Young 17. D Byrne
Dragons media release TWO ROOKIE RESERVES THE ONLY CHANGES FOR DRAGONS
Dragons coach Nathan Brown has made only two changes introducing two rookies to the bench for St George Illawarra?s round two Telstra Premiership clash with Parramatta Eels at WIN Stadium this weekend. Despite the Dragons disappointing 24-20 loss to Wests Tigers in the opening round last Saturday, Brown has kept the same starting line-up for Sunday?s duel with his former coach and mentor, Eels NRL coach Brian Smith (2.30pm kick-off).
Halfback Dean Byrne, 21, and utility Dean Young, 19, will replace reserves Chris Nero, who made his NRL debut last week and Peter Ellis, who played his first NRL game for the Dragons. Captain Trent Barrett (injured ankle) will not return until round three or five (round four is a bye).
"Neither of those guys did anything wrong and I?m sure they will get the opportunity to play first grade again this season, but the bench overall didn?t have any impact last week ? apart from Nathan Tutt," Brown said.
"Dean Byrne?s form has been good over the trials and we need a player like him out there; while I tossed up between Peter Ellis and Dean Young last week. Dean Young offers a little more versatility."
Brown said he had given some of his starters a second chance after uncharacteristic handling errors against the Tigers.
"Hassan Saleh had an unhappy day with his hands which was uncharacteristic ? he was our best against Cronulla in the trial; and Brent Kite had an unhappy day too, but those things happen," Brown said.
"Hassan probably tried too hard against his old team while Kite had an off day ? anyone who saw him play last year knows he?s a quality player. They deserved a second chance."
Brown received good news yesterday when international prop Jason Ryles was not charged after going on report for an alleged headbutt following the full-time siren in the Tigers game.
"What Jason did was silly but he had nothing to answer for," Brown said. "He?s probably kissed his girlfriend harder. It was more of a head rub than a headbutt."