Titans v Dragons preview

Embed from Getty Images
Gold Coast Titans v St George Illawarra Dragons Saturday 7:35pm at Cbus Super Stadium

Free-to-air blockbuster awaits as Dragons and Titans face off in highly-anticipated clash

Despite the obvious sarcasm dripping from that opening line, there is still something to play for on Saturday night, more for the home side. 

The Titans have not won a game in 10 weeks, showing promising signs early against Newcastle before falling away to a 38-4 defeat. 

Their recent run of losses, combined with the quality of opposition, means that it will not surprise if one of the smallest crowds in NRL history turns out for the game. 

But that is something that should only rally the Titans to prove to their fans heading into next season that there is a way forward. 

Because another heavy loss and this time to the 15th placed Dragons would leave them with little confidence heading into next year as they consider whether to renew their memberships. 

Kallum Watkins has been dropped after a disappointing performance in defence, with Tyrone Peachey moving to the centres and AJ Brimson coming into the halves. 

Mitch Rein also returns from suspension at hooker seeing Nathan Peats shift to lock and Jai Arrow to prop for the injured Moeaki Fotuaika. 

After being agonisingly short of a preliminary finals berth in 2018, the Dragons have suffered a terrible fall from grace this year. 

While they were competitive against the Tigers last week, they quickly fell away late and went down convincingly 42-14.

There have been several calls for coach Paul McGregor to be sacked and a loss to the lowly Titans would certainly only give those critics more ammunition. 

Along with restoring pride in the jersey, the Dragons will also be farewelling Gareth Widdop who returns to England next year.

In team news, Corey Norman returns from a groin injury and fills in at fullback with Tristan Sailor shifting to wing to replace Zac Lomax (head knock). 

Reece Robson is the new face at hooker in place of Cameron McInnes (broken leg).

Jeremy Latimore also comes onto the bench in what will be his final NRL game.

Last meeting: Round 21 2019 - Dragons 40 Titans 28

Who to watch: Ryley Jacks remains off-contract next year and will be looking to prove he deserves another year at the club. Starting in the Storm system, the move hasn't been smooth sailing for Jacks. The 27-year old was a shining light in last week's loss to Newcastle, scoring a try and generally showing plenty of enthusiasm and intent. You could not knock his efforts - he is just now in a team where he will need to work that little bit harder to get plays to come off in attack.

With nothing to lose, look for Gareth Widdop to throw caution to the wind in his final game at the Dragons. Injury has seen Widdop restricted to just nine first-grade appearances this year but he will be able to run out for one last hurrah on Saturday. The Gold Coast's edge defence was terrible against the Knights last week and an experienced playmaker like Widdop could have a field day.

The favourite: The Dragons are favoured to take this one. 

My tip: As much as the Titans will want to reward their loyal fans, they won't have enough points to win this one. Dragons by 22.

1. Michael Gordon 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Brian Kelly 5. Phillip Sami 6. Alexander Brimson 14. Tanah Boyd 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Jai Arrow 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Sam Stone 13. Nathan Peats 7. Ryley Jacks 15. Jai Whitbread 16. Bryce Cartwright 17. Jack Stockwell

1. Corey Norman 2. Tristan Sailor 3. Euan Aitken 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Jonus Pearson 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Reece Robson 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Jackson Ford 13. Blake Lawrie 14. Jeremy Latimore 15. Korbin Sims 16. Luciano Leilua 17. Josh Kerr

Referees: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski, Gavin Badger; Sideline Officials: Mark Bohan, Jarrod Cole; Video Referees: Steve Clark, Ben Lowe;

Follow all the action LIVE in our Match Centre