NRL Expert @JennaBrooks
NRL Talking points: Dragons suffer first defeat
Last Updated: 24/04/18 4:44pm
Jenna Brooks has the latest from the NRL as the Dragons suffer their first defeat, the Eels get their first win of the season, plus Manly in the spotlight again.
St George Illawarra suffered their first defeat of the season. They lost 20-12 to the Warriors in New Zealand on Friday.
The defeat isn't the best preparation for the Dragons, who face an extremely short turnaround when they take on the Roosters in one of the biggest regular season games on the NRL calendar, the traditional ANZAC Day fixture.
Head coach Paul McGregor has named an unchanged starting side ahead of the clash, with the Dragons being the only club not to have changed their starting 13 this season, using just 18 players in total and McGregor admits he hasn't seen anything like it in all his time in the game.
"We've got different personnel, a lot more experience and we've got two very experienced players and a No 7 in James (Graham) and Ben (Hunt)," McGregor said.
"And our guys are a lot more experienced individually too. Our forwards are all around that 26-27 age, which is a really nice age of seasoned players.
"Having the same people week after week and the repetition we've done prior to this week is really important.
"So I think it's a combination of everything. It's not just one thing. But we're in a better situation than we ever have been in my three years as coach."
The Roosters are seventh on the ladder, having had a mixed start to the season, with four wins from their eight games.
The Dragons have won two of the last three ANZAC Day meetings between the two sides.
Just days after returning from suspension, Sam Burgess has been handed another two-match ban after entering an early guilty plea for his high hit on Canberra's Aidan Sezer during South Sydney's 42-22 win.
Burgess, who was playing in his first game back from a two-game suspension, will miss the Rabbitohs' match with Brisbane, which is live on Sky Sports Action at 10.50am on Thursday, and their Round Nine game against the Knights.
Burgess told Fox Sports he didn't think there was anything in it, and Rabbitohs captain Greg Inglis believes his team-mate shouldn't change his playing style.
"Sammy's come out and said to us that he does have to fix a few technical things, and he knows that, but we love the way Sam plays," said Inglis.
Sam's brother George is also in trouble with the judiciary, and accepted an £800 fine after his high tackle on Luke Bateman.
In the same game, former Bradford and Catalans second-rower Elliot Whitehead also had something to answer for after being cited for dangerous contact on England team-mate Tom Burgess, which caused a melee between the sides.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart accused Burgess of laying down in his post-match conference. Whitehead took an early guilty plea for dangerous contact, but won't miss any game time.
Manly fined, Eels win
Parramatta secured their first two points of the season with a 44-10 demolition of the Manly Sea Eagles.
However instead of the Eels being in the spotlight for the victory, it is the Sea Eagles who are getting all the attention.
Daly Cherry-Evans was terrible in the Manly loss with four penalties and three errors but it was his altercation with team- mate Jackson Hastings on the training paddock midweek that garnered most attention.
Cherry-Evans was fined £5,500 for the incident, but stated specifically in the post-match press conference it had nothing to do with the side's loss, and "the matter was dealt with internally" and "there was no lingering awkwardness" between him and Hastings.
The issue stems from an incident that saw a group of five Manly players attend a strip club and breach a team curfew after their Round Five defeat to the Titans. All players involved will be issued with a formal breach notice and a fine of £800.
On the flip side, the Eels took a physical training session midweek and the controversial dumping of Beau Scott and Kane Evans to secure their first win.
Mitchell Moses was a stand out with 16 points and three try assists, and according to coach Brad Arthur it was a reflection of the effort Moses has been putting in all season.