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The Roosters Crow: Tackling Dragons in Toowoomba

The Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra Dragons will break tradition and meet for the first time outside of NSW in their century-long rivalry this weekend on Sunday afternoon, in a match which will no doubt be an indication of how both sides are tracking ahead of the semi-finals. 

Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs St George Illawarra Dragons

The Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra Dragons will clash for the 45th time on Sunday afternoon at Clive Berghofer Stadium in Toowoomba, with the Tricolours currently holding a six-game winning streak over their opponents going back to 2018.

Of course, the Roosters and Dragons rivalry initially started in 1921 when St George entered the NSWRFL competition, with Easts winning the first encounter 23-11. 

Overall, the Tricolours have a 52% winning record over their rivals since 1999, with 23 wins from 44 matches played since 1999, having won eight of the last ten contests. 

The Red, White and Blue also claimed victory against the Dragons earlier this season on Anzac Day, with Sam Walker awarded the Ashton-Collier Medal in the 34-10 victory, and will be looking to claim their fifteenth victory of 2021.

Should the Roosters win this weekend, it will mark their longest-ever winning streak over any Dragons outfit, breaking the six consecutive games won between 1933 and 1936. 

How They Line Up

Trent Robinson has named a similar side with few changes made following the Round 22 victory against the Brisbane Broncos.

The backline remains intact with James Tedesco named as captain and fullback, joined by wingers Daniel Tupou and Dale Copley while Joseph Manu and Adam Keighran line up in the centres. 

Halves Drew Hutchison and Sam Walker reprise their role, while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves returns to the line up alongside Sam Verrills and Siosiua Taukeiaho in the front row. 

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Matthew Dufty
    Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
  • Winger for Dragons is number 2 Mathew Feagai
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
  • Centre for Dragons is number 3 Jack Bird
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Adam Keighran
  • Centre for Dragons is number 4 Zac Lomax
    Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
  • Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
    Winger for Roosters is number 5 Dale Copley
  • Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Talatau Amone
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew Hutchison
  • Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Corey Norman
    Halfback for Roosters is number 14 Lachlan Lam

Forwards

  • Prop for Dragons is number 8 Kaide Ellis
    Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
  • Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Josh McGuire
    Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Sam Verrills
  • Prop for Dragons is number 10 Jack De Belin
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Billy Burns
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Nat Butcher
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tyrell Fuimaono
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
  • Lock for Dragons is number 13 Tariq Sims
    Lock for Roosters is number 13 Isaac Liu

Interchange

  • Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Jayden Sullivan
    Interchange for Roosters is number 7 Sam Walker
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Josh Kerr
    Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Egan Butcher
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Daniel Alvaro
    Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Fletcher Baker
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Jackson Ford
    Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Ben Thomas

Reserves

  • Reserve for Dragons is number 19 Poasa Faamausili
    Reserve for Roosters is number 20 Brad Abbey

Match Officials

  • Referee: Chris Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
  • Touch Judge: Matt Noyen
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Sitili Tupouniua and Nat Butcher have been named in the second row, while Isaac Liu lines up at lock in place of Victor Radley. 

Lachlan Lam, Egan Butcher and Fletcher Baker are joined by Ben Thomas on the interchange bench, while the extended bench includes Ben Marschke, Tuku Hau Tapuha, Brad Abbey and last week's debutant Naufahu Whyte

St George Illawarra have made a number of changes to their side, with fullback Matt Dufty returning to the side and Jack Bird reverting to the centres, while Josh McGuire takes his place at hooker in for the injured Andrew McCullough. 

Key Match Up: Adam Keighran vs Zac Lomax 

Two goal-kicking sharpshooters will line up in the centres against one another this weekend when Adam Keighran and Zac Lomax come face-to-face on the edge.

Over the last three weeks, Keighran has found a home in the centres after coming off the bench, deputising at hooker, lock and the halves in 2021 so far. 

In that period, he's been reliable with the boot with eight goals - including the match-winner last week - with a try assist and a linebreak to his name as well. 

Lomax, a full-time centre and goalkicker, has posted similar numbers in that time as well, with six goals and a try assist and linebreak too. 

With both sides playing in matches with close scorelines in recent weeks, don't be surprised if the kicking prowess of these two makes the difference come fulltime on Sunday. 

What They Said

"We’re under no illusions. They’re still sitting in their own little spot and they’re competing for those last couple of spots." - Dale Copley

“I made a couple of mistakes in that game which I’d like back, but in the end, you’ve got to move on. You’ve got to do your best for the team and I’ll be bigger and better next week and learn from those mistakes." - Sam Walker

“We just need to keep building upon what we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks. I think we’ve really laid a good platform and played our own style." - Nat Butcher

Your Verdict

While the Dragons may be struggling since the relocation to Queensland, there are never any guaranteed victories in the NRL and the Tricolours will be certainly on their game as they take another step closer to the finals. 

Tickets are still available for the match, so for those in and around Toowoomba, be sure to purchase yours here and cheer on the Red, White and Blue on Sunday afternoon!