Dragons v Wests Tigers preview
St George Illawarra Dragons v Wests Tigers
Will the Robbie Farah magic continue in what may be his final ever game for the Wests Tigers or will the Dragons make amends for their poor showing on the Gold Coast to confirm their eighth position and give the Red V faithful some hope heading into the finals?
Both these teams have plenty to play for this Saturday night and considering their recent form, this should be a tight one.
The Tigers will head to ANZ Stadium with a team unchanged from their brilliant last-start performance against the Warriors, with Kyle Lovett joining a five-man bench.
Meanwhile for the Dragons, they look to bounce back from a game to forget with Jake Marketo and Eto Nabuli replacing Joel Thompson and Dylan Farrell.
Craig Garvey is 18th man while George Rose has been named on the bench.
Watch Out Dragons: Farah tore the Warriors to shreds and another emotionally charged performance could have the Dragons shaking in their boots. He was nothing short of unstoppable in the opening half against the Warriors, barging over for a try and putting two others on a platter for his teammates, while also leading the tackle count. His opponents will have to bring plenty of energy and focus to their defense to limit his involvement.
Watch Out Tigers: While the Tigers field the NRL's most inexperienced halves, their opponents on Saturday are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Gareth Widdop and Benji Marshall have had an up and down season to date, but there's no doubt that when they're on, they're near impossible to stop. Two amazing ball runners who have the full bag of tricks when it comes to their passing and kicking games. The Tigers will have to be limit this star pairing's time and space with the ball.
Key Match-Up: Josh Dugan v James Tedesco. Two of the best fullbacks in the NRL go head-to-head in what should be a scintillating match-up. Dugan is the more experienced and physical type, while Teddy possesses the advantage in speed and elusiveness. But that's where the differences stop. These are two of the hardest men to tackle in the whole competition. Seeing these two in full flight will be something to savour.
The History: Played 30; Dragons 16, Wests Tigers 14. Some James Tedesco magic helped the Wests Tigers to a 22-4 point win over the Dragons last time these two met in Round 2 this year.
What Are The Odds: All of the early money was with the Dragons, however the Tigers have received the bulk of the dollars since putting on a clinic against the Warriors. Both sides have been backed to win the match 13+ with Sportsbet. Latest odds at Sportsbet.com.au
Match Officials: Referee: Matt Ceccin. Assistant Referee: Gavin Morris. Touch Judges: Russell Turner and Adam Reid. Video Referees: Bernard Sutton and Luke Patten.
Televised: Fox Sports, Live, 5:30pm
The Way We See It: The Dragons know there's barely any point in rocking up in the finals if they carry the sort of form that they showed last week. If they seriously want to make a dent in September they need a big, confidence-building win here. And that's exactly what they should get. The Tigers were great against the Warriors, but the Dragons will be keen to make a point and charge into the finals. Dragons by 14.