St George Illawarra are ready to embrace the intimidating cauldron of Suncorp Stadium’ in a bid to overcome their horror recent record at the venue.
The Dragons go into Sunday’s elimination final against Brisbane needing to win at the venue for the first time since April 2009 to keep their season alive, having dropped their past 10 at the ground.
None of the Dragons’ 17 for this weekend’s match have won at the ground wearing the Red V, nor have any of them won a finals match for the club.
However, Gareth Widdop James Graham, Tyson Frizell and former Bronco Ben Hunt are among seven players to have won at the ground for either other clubs or at representative level.
“I don’t find it a difficult ground to play out of, it’s more enjoyable, it’s what you play rugby league for,” Frizell said.
“The Queensland crowd are very supporting of their side, especially a Queensland side.
“A lot of boys haven’t experienced it or finals football. It’ll be really exciting to go up there and play our first finals game.
“They’ll be going in there as favourites after our performances, we’ve been written off by a lot of people. It’ll be nice to go up there to their environment and home game.”
Both teams enter the game in contrasting form, with the Dragons having fallen from first to seventh after six losses in nine games, while Brisbane has won their past three.
That form reversal cost the Dragons what appeared an almost certain final, and sent them packing to the old Lang Park site.
While halfback Hunt has played 92 times at the ground in first grade, young winger Jordan Pereira will fulfil a dream by just running out on the ground after having only joined the Dragons from the Queensland Cup midway through 2017.
The 25-year-old has been named to start on the wing, however Jason Nightingale is still considered some chance of returning from an elbow injury and potentially force a backline reshuffle.
“Getting to play at Suncorp Stadium is something that I played at most of all the local footy grounds around Brisbane and I would always look at it and think,” Pereira said.
“I want to play there, that would be pretty cool. So hopefully this weekend I can get the opportunity to do that.”