Williams and Widdop to steer Dragons


Sam Williams gets a chance to tighten his grip on the No 7 jersey. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Sam Williams gets a chance to tighten his grip on the No 7 jersey. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Coach Steve Price has given the biggest indication yet that Sam Williams will wear St George Illawarra's No 7 jersey when the NRL season begins after naming him at halfback for the Charity Shield.

The 22-year-old will partner Gareth Widdop in the halves in the Dragons' final preseason fixture with Michael Witt and Josh Drinkwater left out of the 19-man squad.

Gerard Beale will also get his first match against NRL level opposition in nearly 12 months after tearing his ACL early in the 2013 season.

He was named in the centres alongside off-season recruit Dylan Farrell, who will play his first match against his former Rabbitohs teammates.

Ben Creagh will skipper the team in his first preseason hitout of 2014 after being named alongside Jack de Belin in the front row.

Veteran prop Dan Hunt will make his return from off-season knee and shoulder surgery from the interchange bench and is itching to get on the paddock after spending much of the preseason in the rehab group.

"I always look forward to the Charity Shield each year but given it will be my first game with the new squad I am even more excited," Hunt said.

"This match is always played with great intensity, it is like a premiership game.

"Souths have an outstanding squad and everyone in our squad knows that it is the last opportunity to put your hand-up for selection in round one and I can't wait to rip in on Saturday night."

Saturday's match will be the first time the annual fixture has been played outside of Sydney and Hunt, a Dapto junior, is excited by the chance to play a Charity Shield in front of a Wollongong crowd.

"It is fantastic that the game is in Wollongong. Our members and fans will love the opportunity to see this quality game so hopefully we can pack WIN Stadium out and ensure a great atmosphere," he said.

Squads for the Charity Shield clash at WIN Stadium, starting at 5pm:

Dragons: 1 Josh Dugan, 2 Brett Morris, 3 Gerard Beale, 4 Dylan Farrell, 5 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop, 7 Sam Williams, 8 Jack de Belin, 9 Mitch Rein, 10 Ben Creagh (c), 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Leeson Ah Mau, 13 Trent Merrin. Interchange: 14 Kyle Stanley, 15 Jack Stockwell, 16 Mike Cooper, 17 Bronson Harrison, 18 Tyson Frizell, 19 Dan Hunt.

Rabbitohs: 1 Greg Inglis, 2 Nathan Merritt, 3 Beau Champion, 4 Bryson Goodwin, 5 Lote Tuqiri, 6 Dylan Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 George Burgess, 9 Isaac Luke, 10 Sam Burgess, 11 Ben Te’o, 12 Chris McQueen, 13 John Sutton (c). Interchange: 14 Apisai Koroisau, 15 Dave Tyrrell, 16 Thomas Burgess, 17 Luke Burgess, 18 Ben Lowe, 19 Joe Picker, 20 Joel Reddy, 21 Kyle Turner, 22 Alex Johnston, 23 Kirisome Auva’a, 24 Nathaniel Neale.


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