2 days ago
Dragons v Rabbitohs preview - 2017 Round 22
The Grand Old Girl hosts two Grand Old Struggling outfits.
It was all looking rosy for the Dragons, they had returned to form with a thrashing of the Sea Eagles and a new star - in Matt Dufty until they became the third scalp of the wooden spoon elect Newcastle Knights leaves them in eighth and their finals hopes hanging by a thread.
Now they have a 'home' game at the Sydney Cricket Ground to kick off the Friday portion of Retro round against a Rabbitohs team that has fallen right off since 2014 and it'll be another season without finals football out at Redfern.
The Dragons themselves are staring down the barrel of missing the finals again which would be a monumental failure after their hot start to the season - the wheels have fallen off in spectacular fashion - Panthers are breathing down their neck and failure to take two points will leave them in a precarious position with a month of football to go.
Although South Sydney has proven a thorn in the Dragons side in recent years as they hold three victories in the last two years - so the Rabbitohs could be a sleeper tip for an upset against a Dragons team that may be low on confidence.
Last meeting: Round 11 2016 - Rabbitohs 34 Dragons 24
Who to watch: Dragons only completed 18 sets of six in their shock defeat to the Knights last Saturday so they went away from their usual standard of play - so this week there is pressure on their halves, particularly Josh McCrone who had a game to forget up in the Hunter. The halfback couldn't find his range with his kicking game which gifted the Knights several seven tackle sets and if he repeated this against Rabbitohs they may find themselves on the losing side again.
A lot of the good work that is created from the Rabbitohs usually goes through Adam Reynolds as the former Blues half has taken on a heavy workload with Greg Inglis out for the season. When he went off for a HIA the Rabbitohs side looked lost against the Raiders without his kicking game. If Reynolds can find his short kicking game again against a Dragons backline that loves to rush in - fullback Alex Johnston should grab himself a few four-pointers.
The favourite: The Dragons are better favoured by the bookmakers.
My tip: Dragons just. The formlines suggests that the team fighting for the top eight has more to play for with rivals breathing down their neck but the Rabbitohs do hold the wood over the Saints so it will be close on Friday twilight. Dragons by 1.
1. Matthew Dufty 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Josh Dugan 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Josh McCrone 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 15. Jacob Host 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin 14. Tariq Sims 11. Tyson Frizell 17. Kurt Mann 20. Jake Marketo
1. Alex Johnston 2. Bryson Goodwin 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Tyrell Fuimaono 22. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Zane Musgrove 11. John Sutton 12. Angus Crichton 13. Sam Burgess 14. Robbie Farah 15. George Burgess 16. Kyle Turner 17. Cameron Murray
Referees: Ben Cummins, Dave Munro; Sideline Officials: Chris Butler, Jarrod Cole; Video Referees: Jared Maxwell, Ben Galea;