Full Time
2:00pm Sun August 21, 2022
Round 23 - WIN Stadium, Wollongong / Dharawal - Crowd: 12348

Round 23: Dragons v Titans preview

Dragons and Titans play for pride as focus shifts to 2023

This Sunday afternoon sees the St George Illawarra Dragons host the Gold Coast Titans in Wollongong. With both sides out of finals contention, the two teams will be playing for pride as the finish lines of their respective disappointing 2022 campaigns near.

Last weekend, the Dragons had to find a win against Canberra to keep their season alive, but they feel agonisingly short. Scoring two tries in the final fourteen minutes of the match, just one conversion stood between them and forcing the match into golden point. The 24 points to 22 scoreline means that the Dragons now find themselves six points outside the eight, so the club's focus will undoubtedly begin to shift towards 2023.

As it has with many clubs, consistency has plagued the Dragons throughout this season. Struggling to find any momentum week-to-week, and hardly ever putting in a true eighty minute performance, fans of the club are left asking what could've been, with the team showcasing plenty of skill in (short) bursts during the year. It's certainly one area that will be a focus for the club as they prepare for the 17-team 2023 competition.

Cody Ramsey was a welcome late inclusion into the Dragons team last week, and he has been named in the number 1 jersey for this weekend. Jayden Sullivan is a chance of returning from injury, being named in the reserves on Tuesday afternoon.

The Gold Coast Titans snapped their long-running losing streak last weekend, running out 44 points to 24 victors over a lacklustre Manly side. After a season to forget, the club will be hoping that the team can build on the confidence of such a resounding win, and steal a couple of points from the Dragons' den this Sunday.

Despite the win, Justin Holbrook is still under plenty of pressure in his role as head coach

 While the Titans seem to be backing him to lead the team into the 2023 season, it would do him and the club a great deal of good if he could end the season on a high with the Gold Coast, especially with the relatively weak sides of the Knights and the Warriors as their final two fixtures of the year.

With their victory last week, the Titans have risen off the bottom of the ladder, sitting 15th and above the Wests Tigers on for and against.

With a few winnable games left for the Tigers, Gold Coast will want to find another win to guarantee their evasion of the dreaded wooden spoon. The Titans have finished last on two occasions in their (relatively short) NRL history.

Tino Fa'asuamaleaui has been named to return in the front row after he missed his side's victory over the Sea Eagles last weekend for personal reasons.

These two sides met back in round ten, with the Titans winning their last match before their ten game losing streak. Expect the Dragons to be hungry for revenge, especially since they haven't beaten the Titans in their last three match-ups.

Last meeting: Round 10 2022 - Titans 20 Dragons 16

Who to watch: The future of Aaron Woods seems a little unclear at the moment. With rumours of a return to Tiger-town swirling, the 31 year old will want to put in some strong performances as his first year as a Dragon finishes up. Woods is also staring down the barrel of his first ever scoreless season in the NRL, with limited minutes not helping his cause. The former Kangaroo will have a point to prove this weekend, and expect him to rack up some strong stats.

Another former Tiger, Sam McIntyre, will be looking to cement a future in the NRL side. Contracted to the Titans for 2023, he'll be keen to show Justin Holbrook that he deserves his spot in the first grade side. Playing 43 minutes off the bench the last time these two teams met, expect him to get some big minutes this weekend too.

The favourite: The Dragons are the comfortable favourites to win at home this Sunday.

My tip: With some momentum behind them for the first time in a long time, I think the Titans will pick up where they left off and spring an ambush on the Dragons this weekend. Titans by 8.