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Titans v Dragons: Taylor back, Dragons double up

The NRL heads to Toowoomba with Gold Coast hosting a game away from Cbus Super Stadium. Paul McGregor's Dragons, excellent starters in recent years, are looking formidable again. The Red V are striving for three straight wins, and will fancy themselves despite being on the road.

The selections: Halfback Ash Taylor returns for the Titans after overcoming a hamstring niggle, with Bryce Cartwright back to lock. Prop Jarrod Wallace is a welcome inclusion after serving a two-game suspension. For St George Illawarra, Hame Sele moves into the starting side this week with Jeremy Latimore dropping off the bench.

The key match-up: Ben Hunt v Ash Taylor. Dragons playmaker Hunt has already begun to justify his large pay packet, combining astutely with Gareth Widdop. Taylor is destined to be one of the competition's leading lights over the next few years, and he was sorely missed in last weekend's defeat versus the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium.

For the Titans to win: They need to try and negate the brilliance of the Dragons halves as well as the go-forward of props Paul Vaughan and James Graham. The Broncos and Sharks failed to do so, and despite what promises to be a vocal crowd the Dragons will be brimming with confidence.

Titans v Dragons

For the Dragons to win: Avoid flashy plays, stick to their systems. The Dragons are well drilled under McGregor, but at times can overplay their hand. Hunt brings experience and composure to a team who has been crying out for a top level halfback since Mathew Head moved on.

Titans Stat Attack: Missed tackles. It is alarming to say the least. 91 from two games. Their support play when in possession of the ball is encouraging – it is the best in the competition (475).

Dragons Stat Attack: With 54 points to their name, they have been entertaining. Only the Sea Eagles (72) and Raiders (56) have troubled the scorers more.

And another thing: Dragons Nene McDonald was on the books of the Titans in 2015 and 2016 before shifting clubs last year. The Papua New Guinea international is a natural finisher and no doubt will be keen to haunt his old club with a couple of four pointers.

Prediction: Dragons by 10

Gold Coast Titans v St George Illawarra Dragons, Sunday 3.10pm AEST (4.10pm AEDT) at Clive Berghofer Stadium

Titans: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 Kane Elgey, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jai Arrow, 9 Nathan Peats, 17 Jarrod Wallace, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Ryan James (c), 13 Bryce Cartwright

Interchange: 14 Mitch Rein, 16 Morgan Boyle, 10 Leilani Latu, 18 Keegan Hipgrave 

Halfback Ashley Taylor has been cleared to make his return from a hamstring injury after missing last week's loss to the Warriors. Jarrod Wallace has been elevated to the starting side to play his first game of the season in the final team list submitted an hour before kick-off. Leilani Latu has dropped back to the bench. AJ Brimson and Tyronne Roberts-Davis were the two players dropped off the reserves bench 24 hours out from kick-off. Joe Greenwood and Will Matthews have missed the final cut.

Dragons: 1 Matthew Dufty, 2 Nene Macdonald, 3 Euan Aitken, 4 Tim Lafai, 5 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Jack De Belin

Interchange: 14 Luciano Leilua, 15 Kurt Mann, 16 Leeson Ah Mau, 17 Hame Sele

The Dragons are 1-17, with Jeremy Latimore and Zachary Lomax dropping off the extended bench. 

Gold Coast Titans v St George Illawarra Dragons, Sunday 3.10pm AEST (4.10pm AEDT) at Clive Berghofer Stadium

Head-to-head: 19 games, Dragons 12 wins, Titans 7 wins

Points per game: Titans 19; Dragons 27

Points conceded per game: Titans 24; Dragons 14

Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League

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