NRL Preview 2020: St George Illawarra Dragons

This St George Illawarra Dragons side is pretty top heavy. Their pack, on paper, looks pretty impressive and certainly has a huge amount of experience within it. A front row of Paul Vaughan, Cameron McInnes and James Graham is huge while the back row features the talents of New South Wales trio Tariq Sims, Tyson Frizell and Trent Merrin, fresh from his one-year stint in Super League with Leeds Rhinos.
While the forward pack has plenty of experience, the back five suffer with a lack of it.
The centre pairing of Euan Aitken and Tim Lafai is talented and is where they do possess the most experience but the back three is a different story. Coach Paul McGregor seems weary of playing Matt Dufty at fullback so Zac Lomax could well deputise off the back of his contract signing while the club have an abundance of promising young wingers in the likes of Jordan Pereira, Mikaele Ravalawa, Jason Saab and Tristan Sailor, the son of former Wigan star, Wendall.
Despite Gareth Widdop leaving for Warrington Wolves in the summer, their halfback pairing of Corey Norman and Ben Hunt is more than capable and will look to work off the back of their big pack allowing the younger stars to shine with their pace and skill.
Brayden Wiliame will be looking to force his way into the side, probably in the centres, if any injuries occur after his move back home from Catalans.

Coach: Paul McGregor
Paul McGregor (above) has been in charge of the Dragons since Steve Price left the role back in 2014 making him one of the longest serving coaches in the division.
During his tenure, the Dragons have always threatened to succeed but have fallen short except last year where everything seemed to go wrong for them, finishing 15th with only the Titans below them.

Star Player: Tariq Sims
Tariq Sims (pictured, top) shone in an otherwise poor Dragons side last year.
He played in the second State of Origin game, a 38-6 win over Queensland for New South Wales.
He did suffer injuries during the campaign, but his quality always shone through.
Sims is the brother of former Warrington and Toronto star Ashton and Brisbane forward Korbin.
A powerful back row forward, Sims is always a handful for defenders and loves a try.

Rugby League World Predicts: 14th

First published in Rugby League World, Issue 467 (March 2020)