The Northern Territory news Mon 22 Jun 2015
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+ MONDAY JUNE 22 2015 JUSTFOOTY 2 Dragons bad Mondays RAGONS \~ ~l/RoosTERS ~ Tonight, Allianz Stadium, 7pm (Fox Sports 1) 0 Ben Cummins, Gavin Morris 0 DRAGONS($Z.&5) AESTtime 1 Josh Dugan 2 Eto Nabuli J Euan Aitken 4 Peter Mata'utia 5 Jason Nightingale 6 Gareth Widdop 1 Benji Marshall I Leeson Ah Mau 9 Mitch Rein 10 Mike Cooper DTyson Frizell U Will Matthews 1J Trent Merrin Interchange 14 Jake Marketo 15 Ben Creagh 16 Jack de Belin 11 Heath rEstrange 20 Rory O'Brien ROOSTERS(S'l.50) 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2 Daniel Tupou J Brendan Elliott 4 Blake Ferguson 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6 James Maloney 7Mitchell Pearce 8 Dylan Napa 9 Jake Friend (c) 10 Sam Moa TI Boyd Cordner 12 Aiden Guerra 1J Isaac Liu lntel'dlange 14 Jackson Hastings 15 Mitchell Aubusson 16 Kane Evans 11 Sio Siu a Taukeiaho 19 Suaia Matagi NICK WALSHAW ST GEORGE Illawarra Dragons have been dubbed the "Bob Geldof' of rugby league. Why? Because their premiership hopes hinge on one vital question: Tell me why I don't like Mondays? Despite sitting third on the NRL ladder, the Dragons head into Monday Night Football having won only two of their past 11 encounters at the start of the working week. Indeed, of their four losses this year, all have occurred on a Monday night. According to Fox Sports Statistics, the Dragons' 18 per cent success rate is poorer than every team except Wests Tigers, whose one win from seven games puts them at 14 per cent. Worse for the Red V, their rivals at Allianz Stadium tonight, the Sydney Roosters, have the best Monday record of any NRL rival over the same period. Quizzed on what could be causing their serious case of Mondayitis, Dragons playmaker Gareth Widdop replied: "No idea. "But I also know we won't be reading anything into that. "Monday, it's just like any other day. So while those figures certainly aren't great, that's just how it has worked out. "I can assure you we prepare exactly the same for every single game." Apart from hampering the Dragons, Monday Night Football is also proving something of a headache for theNRL. The poor attendances are provid ing a flat atmosphere for players, fans and TV audiences. As a result, Fox Sports is leading a push to move the clashes to regional venues,-such as Mudgee, Dubbo and Bathurst. However, the lack of atmosphere isn't bothering the boys from Bondi Junction. Since coach Trent Robinson assumed control in 2013, the Roosters have won seven from eight Monday games, giving them an 88 per cent success rate. Despite the massive gap between the two sides, Widdop insisted the hoodoo had not been discussed this week. "Not at all," he said. "Obviously the atmosphere can definitely be down on a Monday night. "You've also spent the entire SHAUN Kenny-Dowall is on track to become the greatest tryscorer in Roosters history. Currently boasting 103 tries, l<enny-Dowall needs only one more against St George lllawarra tonight to move into second place alongside powerful 1970s winger Bill Mullins. Should he continue averaging 11 tries per year, as he has done since his 2007 debut. SKD will reach club great Anthony Minichiello's record haul of 139 tries by 2018. The tattooed Kiwi would still be only 30. But first. he must try and crack the best defensive side inthe NRL. The Dragons are sitting third and have conceded only 155 points this year - the least of any NRL team. 1 Speaking yesterday, Roosters coach Trent Robinson said that while his team had taken a "big step forwa rd" against the Warriors last start when l<enny-Dowall scored a crucial try just before the break they would need to go up a level against a Dragons outfit that is "going really well". weekend watching footy and waiting for your games, so that makes it a bit different. "But those two things, they shouldn't have any impact on whether we win or lose. As a player, that's all out of your control, so it's not your focus. We just have to worry about the things we can control. "We don't have any more breaks now. This is the beginning of our run home now and we want to start well." While the Roosters have won both Monday night games this season, they will start only slight favourites, ahead of a Dragons side that has con~ ceded only 155 points, the best of any team in the competition. Widdop and Benji Marshall have also developed a strong halves pairing in which they combine often throughout a game. Elsewhere, Kenny-Dowall is also becoming a favourite with punters this year when it comes to the first try-scorer market. Already this year he has bagged the first try four times. "And he's easily the most popular to do it again in Monday Night Football," TAB spokesman Matt Jenkins said. "Shaun's paying $10 but we're already holding twice as much on him than fellow Rooster Daniel Tupou. who is the $8 favourite." The Roosters will also be hoping for another strong performance from centre Blake Ferguson. who scored the match-winning try on his return from injury against the Warriors last week. Ferguson has now scored 19 tries in his past 19 games, including four in his past three for the tri-colours. Robinson wants banned Rooster Jennings to strut stuff in Origi~ NICK WALSHAW ROOSTERS coach Trent Robinson has urged NSW to pick embattled centre Michael Jennings for Origin III, saying of his argument with police: "It's a fairly small thing". Jennings (pictured) has been dumped from the Roosters team to play St George Illawarra on Monday night after being arrested and charged with hindering police early on Vl NTNEOlZOlMA Saturday morning. While the Roosters are also likely to fine the 27-year-old, who received man of the match honours against Queensland last Wednesday, Robinson remains convinced Blues coach Laurie Daley should pick him for the July 8 decider. Asked if Jennings should be retained by NSW, only a year after Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce missed an entire series for his own boozy night out, Robinson said: "Definitely. "This is an issue because it's an Origin player who went really well the other night. But I think being stood down from an NRL game and being fined is enough punishment. "To be clear, the disagreement with police is an issue. But he wasn't in the middle of doing anything wrong. "There wasn't an incident that caused him to get in trouble. Nothing he was doing was wrong when he got questioned. We don't agree with (what Jennings did) but it's a pretty small thing. I'm sure Mick will be ready to play game three." It's understood Jennings, his younger brother Robert and a third man were returning home after a night out when stopped by a police in a car park in Parramatta about 2.30am. It is alleged the friend was kicking a boom gate and, when police confronted them, Michael Jennings reacted in an aggressive manner. Jennings will appear in court on July 20 charged with hindering police and offensive behaviour. Coach Robinson said that while he was "disappointed" his Origin star chose to drink three nights before a game, he insisted the one-game ban was sufficient for incident that was out of character. "He's been exemplary for us," he continued of Jennings. "But the choices he made weren't in line with us playing on a Monday night. The team comes first here and Michael knows that." . , Robinson revealed Jennings would be replaced by young speedster Brendan Elliott. + +