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26 Apr 2018 2:33
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    NRL Dragons facing State of Origin drain

    They might be undefeated through the first five NRL rounds but St George Illawarra face a State of Origin drain they haven't felt since 2011.

    - article from

    Brad Fittler
    Brad Fittler

    NRL premiership pacesetters St George Illawarra face a potential State of Origin drain they haven't felt since their 2010 title breakthrough.

    Paul McGregor's side are unbeaten through five rounds but a possibly rocky representative period looms, with seven Dragons players working themselves well into the State of Origin frame.

    Ben Hunt and Tyson Frizell are considered certainties for Queensland and NSW respectively, while hooker Cameron McInnes, Jack de Belin, Euan Aitken and Paul Vaughan are on the cusp of Blues selection, and Tariq Sims is considered an outside chance.

    If they do supply seven players for Origin, it will be the joint venture's biggest representation since 2011, the year after they beat the Sydney Roosters in the grand final, when they had seven Blues and one Maroon in their line-up.

    On top of this, Englishmen Gareth Widdop and James Graham and Kiwi Jason Nightingale are likely to be on duty in the Denver Test on June 23.

    Asked if Hunt was ahead of Michael Morgan in race to be Queensland No.7, Graham said: "I love playing with Ben. I haven't played with any of the other potential halfbacks. He's done a great job with us.

    "He's been there before. He ticks a few of the boxes.

    "Ben's a quality player. He's up there with the best halfbacks in the competition. Queensland have a got a bit of a whole to fill. I'd be proud as punch if he did it."

    After being restricted by a shoulder injury last year, Aitken has rocketed into the Origin frame following stellar form in the first five rounds.

    He made people take notice when he showed up Greg Inglis to score in last Friday's win over South Sydney and was seen talking to Blues coach Brad Fittler in the sheds afterwards.

    "I don't know about that one," Aitken said about his Origin chances.

    "I've just got to keep playing some good footy and hopefully that does the talking."


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