NRL Charity Shield

The 37th annual Charity Shield match takes place on Saturday night, with the Dragons taking on the Rabbitohs at Mudgee.

NRL Charity Shield 2020: Dragons

The Dragons were the surprise packet of the Nines tournament. Although they went down in the final to the Cowboys, they showed they have a squad that has surprising depth and some real up and coming stars. They then backed this up with an impressive trial win against the Knights. Their outside backs finished their chances, and Lomax looked great at fullback.

They’ve named a strong squad here, missing only James Graham (rested) and Josh Kerr (knee injury). While this stretches their front row stocks, the Dragons forward pack is still very powerful with Origin stars like Vaughan, Frizell and Tariq Sims. I like what I’ve seen of Jackson Ford and Tyrell Fuimaono will relish the opportunity of playing against his old club. He’s always impressed me and looked very fit at the Nines.

But the real reason the Dragons look a different team in 2020, I believe, is Shane Flanagan, with the disgraced ex-Sharks coach was thrown a lifeline by the NRL and the Dragons. The word is that he’s really hardened up the Dragons defence and whatever you think of his tactics, Flanagan is a very effective NRL coach.

NRL Charity Shield 2020: Rabbitohs

As for Souths, they look very strong for this match – and deserve the six-point favouritism the bookies have given them.

With Latrell, Roberts, Gagai, Graham and Walker, they’ll be very hard to contain out wide. Cook and Reynolds are always dangerous around the middle and despite concerns about their forward depth, I think they have some forwards that will really shine in 2020.

Murray is a genuine superstar while Tatola, Tom Burgess, Su’A and Liam Knight are all very good forwards. Mago and Sele will prove to be great off-season pick-ups, while Keaon Koloamatangi, Bayley Sironen and Jack Johns are young guys with big futures.

Based on last year’s form, Souths will win this by about 6 to 8 points… however, I think the Dragons will have improved dramatically over the off season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one go down to the wire.

I think this will be high quality, exciting game. While only a trial, the Charity Shield is often played at a very high intensity with both clubs wanting to win.

Souths have dominated recent encounters and while I think they will get the job done again here, I have had a small wager on an 80 minute draw (this is not a formal bet for my members… just letting you know what I’m on). Wayne Bennett-coached teams always defend well and the Dragons have shown some great defensive resolve in 2020 already (in their trial and at the Nines).

NRL Charity Shield 2020: Predicted score

Souths 20

Dragons 18

NRL Charity Shield 2020: Recommended bets

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