Warrington Wolves 12-18 St George Illawarra Dragons
Tries: O’Brien, Atkins
Goals: O’Brien (2)
Tries: Frizell, Thompson, Dugan
Goals: Widdop (3)
St George Illawarra Dragons put the NRL 1-0 ahead in the World Club Series with a narrow 18-12 victory over Warrington Wolves.
Playing in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, the Dragons got off to the best possible start with a try from Tyson Frizell coming off their first set. Gareth O’Brien responded for Warrington with a superb solo effort before Joel Thompson put the Australian side back in front.
A try from Ryan Atkins before the break and a penalty from O’Brien after half-time meant the scores were level at 12 apiece going into the final 20 minutes, but a try from Josh Dugan gave the Dragons victory.
A knock-on from Warrington’s Ashton Sims gave his former club the ball during the Wolves’ opening set in the game and caused immediate pressure on their line. Tyson Frizell broke the line 10 metres out and made a diagonal run to the corner to open the scoring. Gareth Widdop converted to put the visitors 6-0 up.
Warrington responded 10 minutes later through Gareth O’Brien. The half-back broke the Dragons line on halfway before deceiving Josh Dugan with a dummy to go over. O’Brien converted his own try to bring the scores level.
Just five minutes later and St George Illawarra were back in front. Joel Thompson was quickest to react to Widdop’s grubber-kick to beat the scrambling Joel Monaghan. The video referee confirmed the try and Widdop converted.
A moment of controversy then followed on 28 minutes when a high shot from Eto Nabuli on Warrington’s stand in full-back Kevin Penny could have warranted a card. The Wolves took advantage of the penalty as Ryan Atkins shrugged off three tacklers to force his way over the line. O’Brien missed the conversion meaning the home side trailed 10-12 at the break.
Having taken no disciplinary action on Nabuli’s high tackle, when Benji Marshall made a similar high shot on O’Brien after the break, only a penalty was awarded. The Warrington stand-off opted for goal and brought the scores level at 12-12.
Marshall then showed his quality on 63 minutes, producing a kick back on the inside when everyone was anticipated a high-ball into the corner. Daryl Clark fumbled the ball which was then pounced on by Dragons full-back Josh Dugan. Widdop made no mistake from the boot to extend the visitors lead to 12-18.
Warrington did their best to get back into the game, but resilient defending from the Dragons kept the Wolves out and put the NRL 1-0 up in the three-game series.