Dragons-Sharks derby maintained: Soward - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons-Sharks derby maintained: Soward

Darren Walton 18/03/2011 04:53:26 PM Comments (0)

Try telling St George Illawarra playmaker Jamie Soward that the reigning NRL premiers' match against neighbouring wooden spoon favourites Cronulla on Monday night will lack its usual derby edge.

The clubs have been bitter rivals ever since Cronulla's entry to the competition in 1967.

But their latest showdown shapes as a mismatch after the hapless Sharks' abominable showing against Canberra in last week's opening round.

Soward, though, insists the world club champion Dragons are wary of an ambush.

"We get up for every game, but there's special clashes during the year and obviously the Sharks at Shark Park is one of those," Soward said on Friday.

"They probably see it as big brother, little brother. We don't see it like that at all.

"We just see it as two teams that are closely situated together and (who) always produce a good clash.

"Whatever positions the teams are in, they always put on a good clash and Shark Park - it's always a tough venue.

"The derby is well and alive."

With Soward - who was red-hot in St George Illawarra's opening-round win over Gold Coast - partnering skipper Ben Hornby in the halves, the Dragons have significant edge in experience over Cronulla's scrum-base duo of Albert Kelly and Wade Graham.

But Soward said the Dragons had good cause to keep close tabs on Graham in particular.

"We've seen Wade make the transfer from Penrith to Cronulla and he carved us up here last year, so we'll be wary of him," he said.

"He's a big sort of fella and he'll probably turn into a back-rower, maybe, but he's very skilful."

The Dragons have an injury cloud over prop Dan Hunt, who finished Friday's training session with his foot in an ice bucket.

Hunt missed a large chunk of last season with an achilles tendon injury, but Soward was coy when asked about the front-rower's latest concern.

"I think he's got a blister," Soward said.

"He's got a bad case of the blisters on the bottom of his feet, so I think they're icing it back.

"Resting him all week. Hopefully he'll play Monday."

In brighter news for Dragons fans, star hooker Dean Young on Friday revealed he was on track for a surprise round-four return against Newcastle after missing the start of the season with a knee injury.

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