Halves Key To Charity Shield

Source: Mark Evans/dailytelegraph.com.au
Sam Burgess is keen to put aside his defenction to rugby in the Charity Shield. Source: Mark Evans/dailytelegraph.com.au

Gareth Widdop, the talented Englishman signed from Melbourne Storm, and ex-Canberra Raider, Sam Williams, have the chance to develop their halves partnership at St George Illawarra in the annual Charity Shield match against Souths at WIN Stadium in Wollongong. The two recruits are part of a flashy backline which boasts regulars Josh Dugan, Brett Morris and Jason Nightingale, along with promising youngsters Gerard Beale and Dylan Farrell. The Dragons have picked a full-strength squad for what is the 31st edition of a glorified pre-season trial. The pack includes captain Ben Creagh and Blues interchange Trent Merrin, with Dan Hunt making his return from off-season surgery via the bench.

Souths have their halves issues as well. Halfback Adam Reynolds has been ruled out late because of a knee injury. That comes just days after young gun Luke Keary tore his pectoral muscle in the Auckland Nines. While Reynolds is only a short term problem, Keary will be sidelined for five months. Though he’d been earmarked to play lock, skipper John Sutton is likely to return to the halves to partner Dylan Walker.

The Bunnies also have to put aside the Sam Burgess defection to rugby headlines behind them. The tough Englishman will be released by Souths at the end of the season to pursue a dream of representing England at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Super-star Greg Inglis plays his first game of 2014.

The Dragons have won the Charity Shield 16 times, while the Rabbitohs have been successful on 10 occasions, including last year 28-10. There have been 4 draws.

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