IT IS now or never for St George Illawarra, when they play a depleted Gold Coast side yet to taste victory in Wollongong tomorrow night.
As the Dragons welcomed Matt Prior back from suspension, the Titans will be without State of Origin II man of the match Greg Bird (pectoral) and former St George Illawarra prop Luke Bailey (rib). Star centres Jamal Idris and Beau Champion are in doubt with ankle injuries.
In-form Dragons prop Dan Hunt has called on his teammates to turn their recent run of poor form around.
‘‘[We’ve got to improve] our discipline and our starts,’’ Hunt said. ‘‘It can’t get simpler than that. We’re close. We’ve just got to keep chipping away.’’
The Titans are yet to win any of their three encounters at WIN Stadium — their most recent a 16-10 loss in 2009.
But they have found form in recent weeks winning four of their past five games.
‘‘If we start like we did in the second half [against Canterbury] we’ll go a long way in the competition but you can’t play one half of football,’’ Hunt said.
‘‘Trying to get back from 28 points is too hard to do.’’
The Dragons are boosted by the inclusion of Prior who will start from the interchange bench in his return from a five week suspension.
Chase Stanley gets a chance to push for a regular starting spot, taking the place of younger brother Kyle in the centres.
Kyle will miss at least three weeks with a groin injury.
‘‘[Last week] was frustrating more than anything with penalties and dropped ball,’’ Hunt said.
‘‘You can’t give away that possession and field position.’’
A desperate St George Illawarra side needs to snap out of a tumultuous period where they have won just one of their past six matches.
Sitting four points outside the top eight, another loss could see the Dragons fall out of touch of a finals finish with the season having passed the midway point.
Jack De Belin has been named on the interchange bench in place of Jeremy Latimore.
The match kicks off at 7.35pm tomorrow.