TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 21: Gareth Widdop of the Dragons looks on before the start of the round 19 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the St George Illawarra Dragons at 1300SMILES Stadium on July 21, 2018 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Dragons skipper Gareth Widdop could headline three inclusions for St George’s final next week.

The Dragons moved into sixth position following Saturday’s win over Newcastle and look to be hosting Brisbane in an elimination final, while Wayne Bennett’s team can claim home-ground advantage with a win by 23 points or more today.

As well as Widdop (shoulder), the Dragons could also welcome centre Euan Aitken (hamstring) and winger Jason Nightingale (elbow) back from injury next week.

Coach Paul McGregor has admitted that Widdop is the only certainty of the trio to return.

“We get Gaz back next week, so our attack will improve straight away. So defensively we need to get that right,” McGregor told reporters.

“We would’ve liked to have scored them opportunities we created and not turn over the possession we did, but we were good enough to defend it, which is the most important thing.

“(Aitken is) a good chance, too. And Jase is a chance as well. We’ll find out a little bit more about them two guys later in the week. But Gareth will do everything this week at training.”

McGregor added that he was confident with his side’s form in recent weeks, particularly their defence against the Knights, to suggest that they have overcome their form slump.

“You saw some of it today with our D. We wanted to really get back to being a strong defensive side, which we were for 16 rounds. We haven’t been that of late,” McGregor said.

“Today was a part of that. We found it at different stages.

“We’ve got to be better, there’s no doubt about that, but next week is a different competition. She’s knockout footy, so both teams are level.

“We’ve also beaten all the teams that are in there, so why not?”

 

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