Bulldogs star Kieran Foran says his side must be wary of a wounded St. George Illawarra Dragons team, insisting they’ll need to be their best if they’re to win when the sides meet in the NRL’s fifth annual Queens Birthday clash on Monday afternoon at ANZ Stadium.
Foran was quick to squash any suggestion that this is a good time to play the Red V, despite a recent run of results that has seen them lose five straight games, including a 45-12 drubbing at the hands of the Newcastle Knights in Round 10.
He was in the stands when the sides last met back in Round five, and still has vivid memories of the 40-4 defeat he saw his side endure at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium that day.
“They walloped us last time we played them, we’ll have to be at our best and make sure we really turn up to try and get the win.”
The visiting Dragons will be boosted by the return of Corey Norman from a fractured cheekbone, which sets up a mouth-watering clash between the two five-eighths.
Norman boasts six try assists and a further six linebreak assists from his eight appearances this season, and provides a creative threat his opposite number is all too aware of
“That’s a big in for them. He gives them a lot of experience and a lot of creativity. He’s someone we have to look to shut down.”
Meanwhile Norman’s halves partner Ben Hunt is likely to back up for the despite playing a full 80 minutes in Wednesday’s State of Origin opener at Suncorp Stadium.
Hunt was busy as ever in the Maroons 18-14 triumph, making 53 tackles, including 30 in the first half. He is set to slot straight back into the team alongside fellow Dragons, Paul Vaughan and Tyson Frizell, who both turned out for New South Wales.
Also expected to pull double duty is Canterbury prop Dylan Napa.
He performed admirably off the bench in Game One, and could’ve had a try when he dived onto a loose ball in the in-goal area, only to be denied by the video referee for a knock on.
“We’re expecting them (Hunt, Vaughan and Frizell) to back up, they’ll have a few days to recover and I’m sure they’ll be ready.”
On Dylan Napa, Foran said “Spoke to Deano this morning, he said he pulled up good. I’m sure he’ll be resting that body up over the next couple of days, getting himself right for the captain’s run then right to play on Monday.”
When discussing his recent return from injury, Foran declared he is 100% healed, and expressed excitement at being back and playing regular football but admitted he’s yet to find his form.
“The ankle’s starting to feel really good now. I’ve got no worries with it.” he said
“It’s nice to be playing week in week out footy and hopefully try and hit some form.”
It was originally expected that Foran would miss up to three months of football when he suffered a serious ankle injury in Round 3 that required surgery.
However, the former New Zealand international made his miraculous return after just six weeks out, and has been a key cog in Dean Pay’s side ever since alongside young halfback Jack Cogger.
Match: Bulldogs v Dragons
Round 13 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium
- LIVE PASS