St George Illawarra Dragons 34
Tries: Brett Morris 3, Jason Nightingale 2, Josh Dugan, Peter Mata’utia
Goals:Gareth Widdop 3/7
Canberra Raiders 16
Tries:Jordan Rapana, Jarrod Croker, Josh Papalii
Goals: Jarrod Croker 2/3
For the first time in 14 seasons the St George Illawarra Dragons have come away from Canberra with the two points, following a commanding 34-16 demolition of the Raiders today.
Despite the loss of skipper Ben Creagh due to a hamstring injury before the game, the Dragons put in a powerful performance to keep their season alive.
The Raiders kicked things off after just 3 minutes when Josh Papalii ran onto an inside pass to score, converted by Jarrod Croker.
The Dragons hit back after 7 minutes when stand-in skipper Brett Morris snuck down the short side from dummy half on the last play and caught the Raiders defence napping. Gareth Widdop missed the conversion attempt and the home side led 6-4.
In the 18th minute the Dragons grabbed the lead when quick hands saw Morris cross for his second try. This time Widdop converted to make it 10-6.
With 9 minutes left in the half, brilliant footwork by Raiders five eighth Anthony Milford saw him slice between Leeson Ah Mau and Jack Stockwell before setting up Jordan Rapana for his first try in Raiders colours. Croker’s conversion made it 12-10.
Early in the second half the Raiders made it 16-10 through Croker, but the Dragons replied via former Raider Josh Dugan; Widdop drifted across the field before linking up with his centre who stepped inside Edrick Lee to slam the ball down.
In the 55th minute a slick back line move by the Dragons saw Peter Mata’utia score out wide. Widdop again couldn’t add the extras but the Dragons led 18-16.
This became 22-16 when a pin-point Benji Marshall kick over Edrick Lee landed in the arms of Jason Nightingale who scored. Widdop converted and the Dragons led by 8 points after 62 minutes.
The Dragons sealed the win when Morris spectacularly scored in the 74th minute, somehow grounding the ball in the corner despite the rest of his body being well outside the field of play. Widdop’s conversion made it 30-16.
Nightingale’s second try in the 79th minute capped off an historic match for the Dragons who ended one of the game’s most enduring droughts with an impressive display.