NRL Round 22 Preview and Tips – Wests Tigers v St George Illawarra Dragons

Wests Tigers v St George Illawarra Dragons

Sydney Football Stadium, 7:35pm

Tigers $2.40, Dragons $1.60 (Sportsbet)

Tigers: Tim Moltzen, Beau Ryan, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Matt Utai, Benji Marshall, Robert Lui, Bryce Gibbs, Robbie Farah (c), Keith Galloway, Liam Fulton, Gareth Ellis, Chris Heighington. Interchange (from): Wade McKinnon, Todd Payten, Mitch Brown, Aaron Woods, Matt Groat

Dragons: Darius Boyd, Brett Morris, Mark  Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby (c), Dan Hunt, Nathan Fien, Michael Weyman, Beau Scott, Ben Creagh, Matt Prior, Interchange (from): Jon Green, Trent Merrin, Adam Cuthbertson, Dean Young, Kyle Stanley, Mitch Rein

THERE ARE SOME CRITICS out there that are claiming that the Dragons aren’t hungry enough for success at the moment. They won the premiership last year, shrugged the monkey off St.George-Illawarra’s back and have rolled into 2011 struggling to replicate their successful charge to the minor premiership as they did in 2010. Is there a reason for Dragons fans to be concerned? I don’t necessarily think so. We watched the Dragons charge out to a 20-0 lead early in their match last week against Souths before the bunnies came flying home to take out the match. When your side is 20-0 up and looking like having an easy afternoon, it becomes very easy for players to try and make the rest of the game as relaxed as they possibly can for themselves. Some players during a game will already begin to think of the 80th minute and try to get there with as little effort as possible. Others think that if they go light on their duties that no one will notice and team mates will pick up the slack. It happens, and it’s human nature. Come finals time, I don’t think the Dragons fans will have to worry about whether the players will be putting in 100% and coach Wayne Bennett will make sure of this. Bennett made it clear to his players in the post match interview that he was more than a little disappointed with his troops and this week the players will be eager to show the doyen of rugby league coaches that they are committed to him.

The Wests Tigers were involved in a comeback of their own last week when they came from 12-0 down in the second half to put on 14 points in 10 minutes and subsequently win the game 14-12. The Tigers, who sit in 8th position, seem to have found a rhythm in the last few weeks and it basically comes of the back of completed sets. They will be on a high after their win, but attempting to consolidate their top 8 spot against the wounded Dragons may prove to be a real character test.

Mike’s Best Bet: $63 on the Dragons -3.5 @ $1.83 (Sportsbet)

Starting Bank: $2000, Current Bank $2547.49

(Team lists sourced from

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