Williams has chance to cement halfback spot

St George Illawarra are hopeful first-choice halfback Michael Witt will avoid surgery on his dislocated shoulder, after naming Sam Williams in his place for the clash against the Warriors.

Witt's shoulder popped out trying to haul in a Gareth Widdop bomb during the second half of the Dragons' caning of the Tigers. Medical staff put it back in place on the field.

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But Witt will skip the trip across the Tasman to take on his former club, opening the door for Canberra recruit Williams to stake a permanent claim on the No 7 jersey.

The Dragons have indicated they will try to rehabilitate Witt without forcing him to go under the knife. No time frame has been set on his return to the field.

Jack de Belin will also not head to New Zealand after suffering a severe cork against the Tigers, described by the club's performance director, Andrew Gray, as one of the worst he had seen. Bronson Harrison, who was 18th man against the Tigers, comes into the squad for de Belin.

Tyson Frizell will again start at prop after being a late switch to the front row last week, freeing skipper Ben Creagh to revert to his damaging best on the left edge.

Josh Dugan (round five) and Jack Stockwell (round three) are set to return on schedule from their respective injuries.

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