Young Dragon Charly Runciman switched for epic contest

The Dragons' Charly Runciman will be up against the Sea Eagles' celebrated backline. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

The Dragons' Charly Runciman will be up against the Sea Eagles' celebrated backline. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Young Dragons winger Charly Runciman is expecting the toughest test of his fledgling career as his side look to contain an in-form Sea Eagles backline that, with 47 tries, is the most potent in the NRL.

Runciman has been named in the No 2 jersey in the Dragons' last five games but has switched with centre Gerard Beale to great effect on the left edge to shoulder the bulk of the defensive load.

With the likes of Peter Mata'utia and Dylan Farrell running around for the Illawarra Cutters this week, coach Paul McGregor has shown a lot of faith in the St John's Dubbo junior's defensive abilities.

Runciman has also picked up three tries in four games this season, but this week he faces attacking supremo Daly Cherry-Evans, Jamie Lyon and Peta Hiku on the Sea Eagles' right edge.

Hiku and Lyon have scored 16 tries between them and Cherry-Evans has contributed two, but with 11 try assists.

Throw in fullback Brett Stewart, with six tries for the season, lurking out the back and it promises to be a stern test for the 20-year-old in just his 11th top-grade appearance.

He might give away 239 games in NRL experience to Lyon - who debuted in 2000 when Runciman was just seven - but he said he's looking forward to coming up against a man he admired growing up.

"It's going to be a great test, especially for some individuals who are going to need to work extra hard, including me," Runciman said.

"I've got a fair job this weekend with Daly and Jamie Lyon there [on the right]. He's a great player and there's no better opportunity for me to test myself against such a great centre.

"He's always been a great player, but it's about me stepping up to the challenge this weekend, which I'm really looking forward to.

"There's no better person to step up and try to play to well against."

The Dragons will start as underdogs against the competition leaders, but an upset win at Kogarah on Monday night could put them into the top eight for the first time since round six.

Runciman said the Dragons were seeking to step up again after winning four of their past five games to return to finals contention.

"It will be a big test but I'm pretty sure we're up to it," Runciman said.

"We've been building over the last month to six weeks now, and we're just trying to improve each week on our systems and what we've been doing well and what need to improve on.

"They're a great side but it's similar to the last couple of weeks -we've just got to be better each week. That's all we can ask for."

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