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Cronulla Sharks vs St George Illawarra Dragons NRL Preview and Team News - Traditional rivals launch Round 2 action

Andrew Hendrie 12 Mar 2018
  • Cronulla Sharks host St George Illawarra Dragons in Round 2 of the NRL on Thursday
  • Two teams split victories last season
Sharks host Dragons on Thursday night

St George Illawarra Dragons look to make it two wins from two when they face bitter rivals Cronulla Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium to launch NRL Round 2 action on Thursday night.

After an impressive opening round victory over the Brisbane Broncos, can the St George Illawarra Dragons register another big win over traditional rivals Cronulla Sharks on Thursday night?

High-profile recruits Ben Hunt and James Graham were tremendous for the Dragons as the ran out 34-12 winners over the Broncos at home. Hunt bagged himself a try on debut and combined superbly with Gareth Widdop, while Graham settled into the Dragons’ pack with ease alongside the likes of Tyson Frizell - who also bagged a four-pointer - Jack de Belin and Paul Vaughan.

St George Illawarra are starting to put together a well-rounded side - their biggest concern for the last couple of seasons was their limited attack, but if Hunt continues to fire all season long, they should be okay in that regard.

Their forward pack is amongst the strongest in the competition - and could lay claim to being on par with their opponents on Friday.

Cronulla are blessed with a menacing forward pack, including Paul Gallen, Andrew Fifita, Luke Lewis and Wade Graham - but that wasn’t enough to get the job done against the North Queensland Cowboys last week.

It was always going to be a tough game against the Cowboys away from home with Johnathan Thurston celebrating his 300th NRL game, with the Sharks in the game until the 77th minute when Gavin Cooper crossed from close range to seal the win.

There’s been plenty of criticism surrounding Valentine Holmes receiving the first shot at fullback, while new signings Josh Dugan (who scored a try) and Matt Moylan will be better for the run.

It’s been a pretty even match-up for these two sides in recent years, with the Dragons winning 16-10 at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Round 3 last season before Cronulla returned the favour 18-14 at Jubilee Oval. I think it will be another close game on Thursday, but I really like what I saw from the Dragons last week. They started last season strongly and look like doing so again - I think they can match Cronulla through the middle and score enough points to hold on for a tight victory.

Stats


  • Dragons won their last clash at Southern Cross Group Stadium 16-10 in Round 3 last season
  • Last two games were decided by six points or less
  • Dragons have won two of their last three meetings

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Cronulla Sharks vs St George Illawarra Dragons NRL Preview and Team News - Traditional rivals launch Round 2 action

St George Illawarra Dragons look to make it two wins from two when they face bitter rivals Cronulla Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium to launch NRL Round 2 action on Thursday night.

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