RUGBY league’s great rivals the St George Illawarra Dragons and South Sydney Rabbitohs will battle it out in the 30th annual Charity Shield match at Stadium Australia on Friday 22 February.
Tickets for the rugby league classic are now on sale through Ticketek. Click here or call 132 849.
The Dragons hold a 16 – 9 (four draws) advantage over the Rabbitohs in Charity Shield and the 2013 fixture will be the pre-season highlight before the NRL season swings into action on Thursday 7 March.
Souths kick-started their 2013 campaign with a strong 38-12 victory over the Papua New Guinea Residents XIII in their first trial at Redfern Oval.
They will now return home to Stadium Australia with their sights fixed on lifting the Charity Shield for the first time in three years.
“This will be my second Charity Shield and I really enjoyed the experience and atmosphere last year,” Souths coach Michael Maguire said at a press conference at Stadium Australia.
“We only get a limited number of opportunities to see the boys perform together as a group in the pre-season, which is why a game of the intensity of the Charity Shield is important to us.
“This game is a wonderful concept which is demonstrated by the fact we are playing the 30th Charity Shield in a few weeks time. 30 years is a long time in Rugby League and the Charity Shield has stood the test of time.”
The Rabbitohs will be bolstered by the return of local junior Beau Champion, who has signed with the club on a two year deal.
Following Greg Inglis’ successful move from centre to fullback, Champion will add valuable experience to Souths’ backline. The 26-year-old has played 95 NRL games including 70 for Souths.
The Dragons were 18-12 victors in last season’s Charity Shield encounter, scoring three tries en-route to the their successful silverware defence with Matt Cooper, Jamie Soward and Daniel Vidot all crossing in the win.
For the Rabbitohs, it was one of their first games under new coach Michael Maguire and the Bunnies went on to finish just one game short of a grand final berth in their greatest season since 1971.
Dragons coach Steve Price said of the historic 30th encounter: “The Charity Shield is always a competitive match and this time around it will be the last hit-out for us before the 2013 Telstra Premiership kicks-off.”
“The entire team will be nearing the end of their pre-season preparations and this match-up against our traditional rivals will provide the perfect platform for them to step-up and be noticed.
“Past encounters on the field between the two teams have always been tough and I believe it will be no different this time around.”