Wests Tigers v St George Illawarra Dragons
ANZ Stadium, Fri 7:45pm.
Tigers: Tim Moltzen, Beau Ryan, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Lote Tuqiri, Benji Marshall, Robert Lui, Bryce Gibbs, Robbie Farah (c), Keith Galloway, Liam Fulton, Gareth Ellis, Chris Heighington. Interchange (from): Mitch Brown, Mark Flanagan, Matt Groat, Aaron Woods, Matt Utai, Wade McKinnon, Andrew Fifita
Dragons: Darius Boyd, Brett Morris, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby (c), Dan Hunt, Dean Young, Michael Weyman, Beau Scott, Ben Creagh, Matt Prior. Interchanges (from): Jon Green, Nathan Fien, Adam Cuthbertson, Trent Merrin, Mitch Rein
ARGUABLY THE MOST HOTLY CONTESTED MATCH in week 1 of the finals sees the Wests Tigers take on the St. George-Illawarra Dragons. In the last three times these teams have met, there has been an average winning margin of just 3 points and there’s nothing to suggest that this won’t be a close match either.
The Tigers have entered the finals on the back of an 8 game winning streak and in that regard they are the form side of the competition. The Dragons crawled into 5th spot on the ladder on the back of 2 wins that were preceded by 5 losses. Many may disagree with me but I think the Dragons are travelling just fine after their 5 game losing streak and they will definitely step things up a notch now that it’s finals time.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Tim Moltzen is back to his regular fullback position of late and it’s paying dividends for the Tigers. Moltzen can be deadly in attack when he catches the opposition napping. Against a hardened Dragons side he will be working hard.
Robbie Farah is coming off a superb game last week against the Sharks and on current form he is rating much higher than his opposite number in Dean Young.
Brett Morris is essentially the go to man for any left side attacking plays that the Dragons will attempt and if the Tigers are caught even a centimetre short, Morris will punish them with a try.
Jamie Soward has shown some patchy form of late and now the pressure is on to perform. If he shows a visible lack of composure it may disrupt what is a perfectly balanced Dragons team and ultimately bring them down.
BETTING: (Sportingbet) — view the latest fixture odds across Australia’s leading bookmakers
Head to Head: Dragons $1.75, Tigers $2.10
Line Betting: Dragons (-3.5) $2.00, Tigers (+3.5) $1.72
The Dragons will take the field as slight favourites and based on their recent rediscovery of their lost form they may prove hard to get past. They love the atmosphere of the big games and the large crowd will play into their hands. The Dragons look like a solid bet.
Mike’s Best Bet: $86 on the Dragons @ $1.80 (Betfair)
Starting Bank: $2000, Current Bank $2731.13
(Team lists sourced from nrl.com.au)