Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
Dragons coach Nathan Brown has named his strongest line-up this season with his full squad available for the first time as St George Illawarra chase their first hat-trick in almost two years against the Sharks at Oki Jubilee Stadium this Sunday.
Brown also said it was the first time in memory that the club's top group of players - including Trent Barrett, Lance Thompson, Shaun Timmins, Mark Gasnier, Jason Ryles, Luke Bailey and Mark Riddell - had all been on the field together because of various injuries and some suspensions.
Internationals Ryles (hamstring), Gasnier (calf) and Timmins (hamstring) all missed last weekend's 24-20 win over the Roosters but have returned from injury this week straight into the starting line-up. The only player to be relegated to Premier League is David Howell.
Ryles has not played since round one and he takes the place of Ian Donnelly who moves to the bench along with Chris Nero, who stood in for Gasnier (missed one week), and John Cross, who replaced Timmins (one week).
Brown has named a six-man bench with two to be omitted. This is likely to be determined after the outcome of tomorrow night's judiciary. Winger Amos Roberts has pleaded not guilty to a charge of a dangerous throw, which would see him miss one week if found guilty.
With two successive wins against the Bulldogs and Roosters, the Dragons are chasing their first hat-trick in almost two years (last time was rounds 17-19, 2001 - June 24 vs Warriors, WIN Stadium; July 7 vs Raiders, WIN Stadium; and July 14 vs Eagles, Brookvale Oval).
TEAMS: DRAGONS V SHARKS - Sunday, May 4 Oki Jubilee Stadium
NRL (Rd 8) 3:00PM Coach: Nathan Brown 1. Ben HORNBY 2. Amos ROBERTS 3. Mark GASNIER 4. Matt COOPER 5. Hassan SALEH 6. Trent BARRETT (c) 7. Brett FIRMAN 8. Luke BAILEY 9. Mark RIDDELL 10. Jason RYLES 11. Brent KITE 12. Lance THOMPSON 13. Shaun TIMMINS
14. Chris LEIKVOLL 15. John CROSS 16. Dean YOUNG 17. Damien BOWER 18. Ian DONNELLY 19. Chris NERO TWO TO BE OMITTED
Premier Division (Rd 4) 1:00PM Coach: Michael Potter 1. Reece SIMMONDS 2. John WILSHERE 3. David HOWELL 4. Darren PEACHEY 5. Wes NAIQAMA 6. Mayhew HEAD 7. Dean BYRNE (c) 8. Craig STAPLETON 9. Ryan POWELL 10. Ashton SIMS 11. Gary McBRIDE 12. Nathan TUTT 13. Henry PERENARA