The season proper is racing toward us. Next up on the pre-season schedule is the Rabbitohs and Dragons in the NRL Charity Shield.
NRL Charity Shield: Summary
- Souths have a very strong team on paper and if this was an NRL match, they should be 10-point favourites.
- Because it’s a trial game and because Dragons players will be looking to impress their new coach and win a spot for Round 1, the Dragons are not without a chance here.
- I would have Souths favourite by no more than 4 points, as I think guys like Walker and Latrell will be given limited game time as they are backing up after a big All Stars performance. Coach Bennett will not want to wear them down before the season has even started.
NRL Charity Shield: Preview
Souths are big favourites to continue their recent dominance of the Charity Shield this weekend, with the bookies posting up a line of -8.5 on Souths. The Dragons have not won a Charity Shield match since 2012.
Considering I think Souths are the team to beat in 2021 – and considering the Dragons have looked ordinary in their two trials so far this year – I can understand the odds here.
However, it should be noted that this will be the first time Coach Griffin will have his best players on the field playing under his game plan. So I think the bookies are getting a little carried away posting such a big line in a trial game.
The Dragons team features the likes of Dufty, Lomax, Bird, Hunt and Vaughan. They’re are all quality players that will lead from the front. The likes of Tariq Sims, Trent Merrin and Corey Norman will all know their spots in the best XVII are under pressure. Guys like Jayden Sullivan, Jaiden Hunt and Kaide Ellis will know that their pre-season trial form has been strong enough so far to be in with a shot for a Round 1 spot.
While the Souths team does look strong, there is every chance that Coach Bennett pulls Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell, Alex Johnson and Damian Cook from the field early on Saturday. With new recruits like Moga, Mansour, Marshall and Arrow named on the reserves, it is very likely that we will see Souths players heavily rotated on Saturday night.
Coaches are not concerned about winning these fixtures. They want to see their squad get match fitness, see how some of the newer guys handle the speed of the game and test combinations.
The two trial losses suffered by the Dragons can be all but ignored. They featured entirely different teams. I’m expecting the Dragons players to come out and impress their new coach with a strong performance here.
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) February 23, 2021
NRL Charity Shield: Betting advice
On paper, Souths should be solid favourites . So the bookies have it about right if this was a Round 1 encounter. But it’s a trial match with extended squads. I am leaning towards having a small bet on the Dragons at the plus 8.5 on offer.
NRL Charity Shield: Predicted score
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