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Cronulla Sharks vs St George Illawarra Dragons NRL Tips, Predictions and Match Preview: Sharks to emerge victorious in derby

Andrew Hendrie 16 Mar 2017
  • Cronulla Sharks host St George Illawarra Dragons on Sunday
  • Sharks won three of last four meetings
  • Valentine Holmes in line to make a return from injury
Sharks face Dragons on Sunday

Cronulla Sharks and St George Illawarra Dragons collide in a local derby as NRL Round 3 action concludes at Southern Cross Stadium on Sunday night.

Sharks and Dragons kick off at 6.30pm AEDT at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Sunday. Live streaming is available via bet365 (geo restrictions apply to Aus/NZ residents).




Prediction


Preview and Tips


Both the Sharks and Dragons have experienced mixed starts to their 2017 campaigns, but it’s certainly Cronulla who come into this clash with their tails wagging.

The defending premiers bounced back strongly from an opening round defeat to the Brisbane Broncos, producing a sparkling second half performance to demolish the Canberra Raiders 42-16 in the nation’s capital.

It was exactly what the Sharks needed after some critics had come out earlier in the week and labeled their premiership triumph as being ‘soft’.

NSW Origin forward Wade Graham was in sublime form, crossing over for a hat-trick of tries, while Jack Bird was electric in a switch to fullback, taking advantage of the freedom and increased space.

Cronulla’s forwards managed to seize the ascendancy from the monster Canberra pack, and that allowed James Maloney and Chad Townsend to take control of the game from the halves. They will look to employ a similar game plan on Sunday against the Dragons.

After such a promising start to the season when they throttled Penrith 42-10 in Round 1, it was more the Dragons of old last week, surrendering meekly in a 34-16 loss to the Parramatta Eels.

The Dragons were extremely poor with the ball, committing numerous handling errors, while their attack again looked suspect.

With all the rain in Sydney at the moment, this match could turn into a really scrappy affair - which truth be told, would suit both sides. I’m expecting a low-scoring game, but for Cronulla to show their class and grind out the win.


Stats


  • Dragons have won six of the last nine games between the sides
  • Two sides split victories in 2016
  • Cronulla won there of the last four

Team Lists


Cronulla have named the same 17 players, although Valentine Holmes and Gerard Beale are both a chance of returning from injury in the backline, while the Dragons have made no changes from last week.

Sharks: 1. Jack Bird 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Kurt Capewell 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Edrick Lee 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen 14. Jayson Bukuya 15. Chris Heighington 16. Jeremy Latimore 17. Joseph Paulo 18. Tony Williams 19. Valentine Holmes 20. Fa’amanu Brown 21. Gerard Beale

Dragons: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Euan Aitken 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Josh McCrone 8. Russell Packer 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin 14. Tariq Sims 15. Leeson Ah Mau 16. Jacob Host 18. Kurt Mann 19. Jai Field 20. Taane Milne 21. Luciano Leilua 22. Hame Sele


Live Stream


bet365 stream all NRL games live online throughout the 2017 season, although residents of Australia and New Zealand are excluded due to geographic restrictions. Residents of other countries across the world can watch and bet on every game and see the action unfold live.




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Cronulla Sharks vs St George Illawarra Dragons NRL Tips, Predictions and Match Preview: Sharks to emerge victorious in derby

Cronulla Sharks and St George Illawarra Dragons collide in a local derby as NRL Round 3 action concludes at Southern Cross Stadium on Sunday night.

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