2020 NRL Charity Shield Preview

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Glen Willow Stadium in Mudgee will play host to its third Charity Shield game on Saturday night as the Rabbitohs and the Dragons meet in front of a sellout crowd.

South Sydney is chasing its eighth consecutive Shield win after thumping the Dragons 36-24 last year, while the Dragons will be hoping to build on their 38-12 victory over Newcastle in last week’s preseason hit out.

Don’t look now, but the home/away season is only a fortnight away, so this game should hold plenty of feeling with both sides looking to find some form.

As a result, this is a tricky matchup to try and predict, but we’ve gone and done all the hard work for you in our complete Charity Shield Preview below.

South Sydney Rabbitohs

  1. Latrell Mitchell
  2. Dane Gagai
  3. James Roberts
  4. Braidon Burns
  5. Campbell Graham
  6. Cody Walker
  7. Adam Reynolds (C)
  8. Junior Tatola
  9. Damien Cook
  10. Thomas Burgess
  11. Jaydn Su’A
  12. Cameron Murray
  13. Liam Knight
  14. Patrick Mago
  15. Hame Sele
  16. Alex Johnston
  17. Keaon Koloamatangi
  18. Bryson Goodwin
  19. Corey Allen
  20. Bayley Sironen
  21. Troy Dargan
  22. Blake Taaffe
  23. Jack Johns
  24. Tom Amone

Cody Walker missed last weeks All-Star game after undergoing offseason surgery and he still looks a 50/50 chance to suit up on Saturday.

Wayne Bennett won’t be too worried though after his side won 28-24 against Parramatta last week thanks to an impressive two-try performance from Jaxson Paulo.

Of course, the real man to watch on Saturday is Latrell Mitchell. South Sydney’s newest recruit looked a little quiet during the All-Star Game last week spending more time at centre than he did at fullback, but you can expect plenty from him on Saturday as he wears the green and red for the first time.   

Bennett will now be looking to get some game time into his star players with a Round 1 match against the Sharks only two weeks away. Dane Gagai and James Roberts are both available to play, but the same can’t be said for Ethan Lowe, who is still battling a knee injury.

Overall, the Bunnies are far from full strength with Walker less than 100% plus Liam Knight and Troy Dargan are still nursing lingering injuries.

Even so, Mitchell, Gagai, Roberts and Cameron Murray still give the Rabbitohs an edge in class against a Dragons team that finished 14th on the ladder last year.

St George Illawarra Dragons

  1. Euan Aitken
  2. Eddie Blacker
  3. Billy Brittain
  4. Adam Clune
  5. Jackson Ford
  6. Tyson Frizell
  7. Tyrell Fuimaono
  8. Jacob Host
  9. Ben Hunt
  10. Tim Lafai
  11. Blake Lawrie
  12. Zac Lomax
  13. Issac Luke
  14. Trent Merrin
  15. Corey Norman
  16. Jordan Pereira
  17. Mikaele Ravalawa
  18. Jason Saab
  19. Tristian Sailor
  20. Tariq Sims
  21. Paul Vaughan
  22. Brayden Williame

The Dragons closed out the 2019 season with only two wins from their final five games, but they did end things on somewhat of a high note with a 24-16 victory over the Titans.

St George picked up where they left off with a 38-12 win over Newcastle in last week’s trial game despite a long list of injuries.

Coach Paul McGregor was forced to start a half-strength side with James Graham and Trent Merrin both inactive, but he can’t complain about the effort Jordan Pereira produced scoring four tries in the second half.

The Dragons will know recent history (and the odds) are against them here and they’d certainly feel more confident knowing Graham was listed to play.

The Englishman’s omission means he’ll start the season without any preseason games under his belt, but there is good news on the Merrin front as the 30-year-old lock will make his return to St George after departing in 2015.

Much like last week though, McGregor still needs to rely on someone stepping up with a big performance.

Merrin’s inclusion is a welcome sign, but the Dragons would probably fancy themselves more of a chance if hooker Cameron McInnes was available to play.

Best Bet

Injuries are really making things tough at St George, which is not only a worrying sign on Saturday, but also looking ahead to Round 1.  

The Rabbitohs are getting a -6.5 head start here and it’s very difficult to see this game turning out any other way.

Bennett will be asking for a big performance in Latrell Mitchell’s debut, and the Bunnies should have somewhat of an advantage up forward with Dragons prop Josh Kerr on the sidelines.

Despite the result last week, Souths struggled for possession and looked a little underdone against Parramatta.

With Mitchell on the field and Cody Walker potentially returning, this should be a more convincing performance.

Tip: Back the Rabbitohs to Cover the Line (-6.5 Points) @ $1.90

Tips, recommendations and commentary are for entertainment only. We provide no warranty about accuracy or completeness. You should make your own assessment before placing a bet.