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The Dragons' post-Paul McGregor era started well with a win over Brisbane and they take on another struggling Queensland side this week.

The Gold Coast have shown signs of promise in Justin Holbrook's first season in charge, with halfback Jamal Fogarty developing as a leader – captaining the side in the absence of the suspended Kevin Proctor last week – and AJ Brimson showing flashes of his brilliant best since returning from injury.

But the Dragons will start favourites after back-to-back wins, with Ben Hunt's switch to hooker and the rapid improvement of Matt Dufty at fullback giving Dean Young's side a new lease on life in attack this season. 

The Rundown

Team news

Dragons: Dean Young has confirmed his side will be 1-17 against the Titans, with hooker Billy Brittain to remain on his bench with the interim coach planning to play him at hooker at some point to give Ben Hunt a break.

Back-rower Jackson Ford and Brittain replace Korbin Sims (calf) and Paul Vaughan (suspension) on the bench. 

Jayden Sullivan and Max Feagai were omitted from the reserves list 24 hours before kick-off. Eddie Blacker and Tristan Sailor were cut an hour before game time.

The Dragons have won their past five games against the Titans.

Titans: The Titans are 1-17 with coach Justin Holbrook deciding not to take the chance on winger Anthony Don (rib cartilage) this week. Halfback Jamal Fogarty is back training after a knee to the ribs, while forward Keegan Hipgrave should be fine despite ankle ligament damage.

Ash Taylor returns in the halves with Tanah Boyd dropping to the reserves. Tyrone Peachey is named at lock for the suspended Moeaki Fotuaika with Erin Clark recalled on the bench. 

Mitch Rein replaces Nathan Peats at hooker and Beau Fermor starts in the second row with Keegan Hipgrave reverting to the pine.

Treymain Spry and Darius Farmer were cut from the extended bench on Thursday. Boyd and Don were the last two players cut an hour before kick-off.

The Titans have not won in Sydney since round 11 of 2019.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Matthew Dufty
    Fullback for Titans is number 1 Alexander Brimson
  • Winger for Dragons is number 2 Jordan Pereira
    Winger for Titans is number 2 Corey Thompson
  • Centre for Dragons is number 3 Euan Aitken
    Centre for Titans is number 3 Brian Kelly
  • Centre for Dragons is number 4 Zac Lomax
    Centre for Titans is number 4 Young Tonumaipea
  • Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
    Winger for Titans is number 5 Phillip Sami
  • Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey Norman
    Five-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Ashley Taylor
  • Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Adam Clune
    Halfback for Titans is number 7 Jamal Fogarty

Forwards

  • Prop for Dragons is number 8 Blake Lawrie
    Prop for Titans is number 8 Jarrod Wallace
  • Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Ben Hunt
    Hooker for Titans is number 9 Mitch Rein
  • Prop for Dragons is number 10 Josh Kerr
    Prop for Titans is number 10 Jaimin Jolliffe
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Tyson Frizell
    2nd Row for Titans is number 11 Sam Stone
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Jacob Host
    2nd Row for Titans is number 12 Beau Fermor
  • Lock for Dragons is number 13 Cameron McInnes
    Lock for Titans is number 13 Tyrone Peachey

Interchange

  • Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Kaide Ellis
    Interchange for Titans is number 14 Erin Clark
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Trent Merrin
    Interchange for Titans is number 15 Sam Lisone
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Jackson Ford
    Interchange for Titans is number 16 Keegan Hipgrave
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Billy Brittain
    Interchange for Titans is number 17 Jai Whitbread

Match Officials

  • Referee: Henry Perenara
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
  • Video Referee: Beau Scott
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Key Match-Up

Matt Dufty v AJ Brimson: With 11 tries, nine try assists and 11 line-break assists Dufty has a strong case to be regarded as the NRL's most improved player in 2020. His pure speed and evasive running game is well known but his bullet cutout passes to wingers have been his greatest strength this season, giving the Red V some genuine strike power on both flanks.

He goes up against another talented fullback in Brimson, who was sorely missed by the Titans for the first 11 rounds this season but is making up for lost time. Capable of breaking the defensive line himself or creating space for others, Brimson is the chief weapon for a Gold Coast side that has struggled in attack for too long.

Stat Attack

He spent the bulk of last season on the wing and was set to be the Dragons' fullback this season, but instead Zac Lomax has thrived in the centres – finishing last week's win over Brisbane as the leading point-scorer in the Telstra Premiership. His 10 tries and 47 goals amount to 134 points through 15 matches.