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Nightingale to fill in as Dragons fullback

NZN 4/04/2017 Steve Zemek

St George Illawarra have put their faith in Jason Nightingale to keep their attacking fires burning as they face a test of their NRL credentials over the next month.

Nightingale has been named at fullback in place of injured NSW and Australian star Josh Dugan who suffered a hamstring strain in Sunday's win over Wests Tigers.

Nightingale's three-try effort in the same game was enough to convince coach Paul McGregor he was the man for the job.

The Dragons have reversed their reputations as an impotent attacking force this year, firing out of the blocks in second spot and boasting the most points scored after five rounds.

Dugan is only expected to miss two weeks but his absence will be poorly timed with his side facing a test of their mettle with crunch games against Manly on Saturday and North Queensland the following week.

They face a tough period over the next month with games against all four fellow top-five sides with clashes with Sydney Roosters and Melbourne to follow.

Meanwhile the Cowboys are facing an injury dilemma of their own with hooker Jake Granville out for six weeks with a broken leg.

Ben Hampton will wear the Cowboys No.9 while Kalyn Ponga has been named on an extended bench as cover for Lachlan Coote who is in doubt with a calf complaint.

Malakai Watene Zelezniak will make his debut Penrith as one of three players brought into the side by Anthony Griffin along with Dylan Edwards and Michael Oldfield.

The trio have been drafted in after skipper Matt Moylan, Peta Hiku and Waqa Blake were dropped for disciplinary breaches and Tyrone Peachey was ruled out with broken ribs.

Canterbury's Moses Mbye has returned from suspension however Matt Frawley - who filled in during their win over Brisbane - has been retained on an extended bench and will place pressure on the No.7.

Jacob Liddle will start in the Wests Tigers No.9 jumper in place of the injured Matt Ballin in what will be new coach Ivan Cleary's first game in charge.

Titans centre Konrad Hurrell will make a timely comeback for the injury-hit outfit, who will field Tyronne Roberts-Davis at fullback for his cousin Tyrone Roberts (knee).

South Sydney prop George Burgess - who this week returns from suspension - continues to be on the outer and is not named in Michael Maguire's 17. He has been included on an extended bench and could yet come into the side to take on Penrith.

Kane Evans will be available for Sydney Roosters for their clash with Brisbane and will be a direct replacement for injured prop Dylan Napa (ankle).

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