Match Previews

As well as providing his best value bets every week, our NRL guru Steve Green also previews every NRL game for members. Here’s Steve’s thoughts for every Dragons game.

To get Steve’s previews plus his best bets each week, join NRL Tips now!

NRL Round 18: Manly v Dragons

Not much to say about this one, an absolute lottery of a match-up with the Dragons depleted due to the Vaughn BBQ suspensions and Manly missing Tommy T.

Manly were poor against the Raiders and although they will welcome back DCE, they are without quite a bit of their own talent for this one, including Jake T.

And I am not sure DCE is 100%, because his form has fallen off a cliff in the last month. He was again ordinary for the Queensland team on Wednesday night.

But Manly do welcome back J Shuster and he provides a huge boost to their back row stocks.

While the Dragons team is not that bad on paper, they are missing some real attacking fire power in the form of Ravalawa, Dufty and Lomax, while Ben Hunt looked to have ice on a very sore shoulder, so there is a chance he struggles to back up his man of the match performance.

Up front, not only are the Dragons missing their best forward in the form of Vaughan, but Alvaro has refused to sign the relevant documents needed to be brought back into the bubble, and Sims is backing up after an epic Origin performance, so the Dragons forwards could also struggle.

Manly should win this one comfortably, but I do not have enough confidence to back them at the line here and so will stay out of this one.

Predicted score Manly 25 – Dragons 10

NRL Round 16: Warriors v Dragons

While the loss of Aitken and Curran (due to exposure to a COVID case) is not great news, the effect of this double flow will be tempered by the inclusion of new signing DWZ on the wing and Townsend at halfback. With RTS at the back in the place of the injured Walsh, the Warriors line up still looks strong.

The Dragons also look much better, due to the inclusion of Lomax out wide and Duty at 1 and Bird back in the centres. This gives the Dragons a lot more attacking strike power, something they have sorely missed in recent weeks.

In the forwards, they welcome back McGuire and Fuimaono from lengthy suspensions and while it is handy to have these guys on the bench, the Dragons forward pack features quite a few guys that have not played a lot of minutes over the 5 weeks and they could struggle to match this big Warriors back.

The Warriors have struggled to score points in recent weeks, but I think the inclusion of Townsend will be a big boost. The Warriors halves have failed to control the game at key moments in 2021 and while Nikorima is a terrific ball runner, his game management is not his strength.

Playing at their adopted home in Gosford and with some new experienced signings joining the squad, I think the Warriors will bounce back into form this weekend with a clinical performance.

Predicted score Warriors 24 – Dragons 14

NRL Round 15: Dragons v Raiders

The Raiders played very well last weekend, but it was against a hapless Broncos, so it is no surprise the bookies are not sure what will occur here.

After a strong start to the season, the Dragons started wobbling due to injuries and suspensions, but with Dufty at the back firing, their attack started to look a lot sharper.

However their loss last weekend to the struggling Doggies showed that they still have a long way to go in their rebuild and there is mail around that Dufty will be replaced at the back by the young Tyrell Sloan.

Lomax is firming for a return, which will be a big inclusion, so there is a lot of uncertainty about how the Dragons will line up here.

As for the Raiders, it is pretty clear they will stick with the squad that played so well against the Broncos.

By completing their sets and defending well, the Raiders played to their strengths, with plenty of second phase play and strong runs by their outside backs.

Hodgson was controlling things brilliantly and Wighton has come back from Origin full of confidence. His running try was as good as an individual run as I have seen all year.

Both of these teams are highly variable at present and with so much uncertainty about how the Dragons will line up and what morale is like due to the likes of Norman and Dufty being shown the door, I have no idea how this match will pan out.

Predicted score Raiders 21 – Dragons 20

NRL Round 14: Dragons v Bulldogs

With Dufty back, as well as guys like Ravawala and Sims from an amazing Origin performance, this Dragons team is looking very strong.

Hunt and Norman played better against the hapless Broncos last weekend and that might be enough for them to get their mojo back.

As for the Doggies, while they look a little stronger with Marshall-King at 9, this is a big ask for a team that looks destined for the wooden spoon.

Every other team in the competition, even the likes of the Broncos, have a few star players that the team can call upon to pull out something special. For the Doggies, they do not have anyone close to resembling a strike weapon.

With Addo-Carr and Matt Burton coming next year, things will get better, but at the moment – this playing roster is simply not good enough.

I have been reluctant to back the Dragons much this year, and after a bit of a lull in form, I think they are going to be too good here and should cover the line.

Predicted score Dragons 32 – Bulldogs 14

NRL Round 13: Dragons v Broncos

I thought it was more likely that Dufty would return in Round 14 or 15, so his inclusion is not great news and the market has moved against us. With Dufty apparently making it through the captain’s run today, the line has gone from 5.5 to 7.5.

However, I like the approach Coach Walters has taken to his team selection. Gamble is in for Milford, while the bench is stacked with young, hungry and athletic forwards that have excelled in the QLD Cup (Hetherington, Palasia, Bullemor and Robati). These guys will bring the energy the Broncos need and I think they have the edge over a DeBelin who will be down on match fitness and guys like Alvaro, who have shown the age in recent weeks.

I also like that Coach Walters is debuting Selwyn Cobbo. The big fullback has been a monster in the QLD Cup and I am much happier that he is getting a shot on the wing over the sluggish Corey Oates. Coach Walters has shown he is picking on form and enthusiasm, something the Broncos have needed to do for a long time now.

With Asiata, Flegler, Pangai and Lodge, they still have plenty of experience, while they welcome back their captain Alex Glenn. Glenn has not been good for a while now, but after a long lay off, hopefully he has got his body right and he can recapture some of the form that once had him as an elite backrower.

Against the Storm last week, the Broncos had the better of the Storm in the opening 20 minutes, but a few dropped balls by the Broncos let the Storm off the hook and the Storm then capitalised on their chances.

While the Dragons have a bit more attacking strike power now with the likes of Ravawala and Dufty back in the team, the form and confidence of Hunt and Norman is still an issue.

And although their back three are all dangerous players, the centre pairing of Beale and Williame have not played a lot of NRL footy in centres in recent times, so I do think the Dragons attack will continue to struggle without the attacking prowess of guys like T Sims and Z Lomax on the edges.

I think the Dragons are gritty enough to get the win here, but this Broncos team will throw plenty at them and should keep it close enough to cover the line.

Predicted score Dragons 21 – Broncos 20

NRL Round 12: Tigers v Dragons

Two teams that are pretty hold and cold, with the Dragons showing plenty of grit to nearly beat the Sharks last weekend.

Wests were outplayed by the Warriors, with their defence again proving to not be good enough – conceding over 30 points for the 8th time in 11 games in 2021

While the Dragons attack might be lacking plenty of punch with the continued absence of Dufty, Lomax and Ravawala, their defence is much stronger than Wests, having kept their opponents to under 20 points in 7 of their 11 games in 2021.

Coach McGuire has made another bold call, by naming James Roberts on the wing, shifting Talau to centre and dropping Joey Leilua.

I like this move, because the problem for Roberts at centre in 2021 is that he is never able to get in space and use his blistering speed.

The Dragons depth has really been tested here, with Geard Beale plucked from the QLD Cup and put into the centres and Brayden Williame playing on the wing, due to injuries to the Feagai brothers.

On the bench, the Dragons have a few young guys that are only playing their second first grade game. In total, this Dragons squad has only 107 caps for the 2021 season – compared to Wests, whose squad has a combined 162 caps for the 2021 season.

So even with all of Coach McGuire’s chopping and changing in 2021, this Wests squad is a lot more settled than the team the Dragons have had to put on the park this weekend.

Predicted score Tigers 26 – Dragons 12

As well as providing his best value bets every week, our NRL guru Steve Green also previews every NRL game for members. Here’s Steve’s thoughts for every Broncos game.

To get Steve’s previews plus his best bets each week, join NRL Tips now!

NRL Round 9: Dragons v Bulldogs

The Dragons losing Zac Lomax is a big blow to a team that is starting to show some really worrying signs.

Earlier in the season the Dragons looked to be playing tough, error-free footy… but in recent weeks their form has really dropped off. From Round 5 to 8 (the past month) the Dragons have the second-most missed tackles, the fifth-most line breaks conceded and the fourth-most run metres conceded. But worst of all, they have the least amount of metres made.

With Ravalawa and Pereira still missing, they are losing a lot of go-forward early in their sets, and the likes of Vaughan and Lawrie are having to do their hit ups without any momentum. Ramsay is also in doubt, meaning this could be a very understrength Dragons backline.

Norman also looks to be straying from the gameplan at times and falling back into the habit of making poor decisions, while the strong early season form of guys like Fuimaono, Kerr and Alvaro is dropping off.

While the Doggies stats are nothing too flash, they once again showed some heart to stage a mini fightback against the high-flying Eels last weekend.

After a strong game for the Mounties, there is a very good chance that Luke Lewis is promoted back into the top grade and this will allow Alvero to push out to the centres and strengthen their backline further.

I do not think the Dragons have done enough to be such heavy favourites for this one and I think the Doggies offer a little bit of value at the line.

Predicted score Dragons 22 – Bulldogs 16

Steve Green is back with NRL Tips in 2021. With all of Steve's best bets and full previews of every NRL game, it's the only way to bet the NRL. Join now to start beating the bookies!


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