St George Illawarra Dragons 32
Tries: E Aitken B Marshall J Nightingale J Thompson G Widdop tries
Goals: G Widdop 5/5 conversions, 1/2 penalties
Canberra Raiders 18
Tries: S Boyd J Papalii I Soliola
Goals: J Croker 3/3 conversions
The St George Dragons have shown their Premiership credentials by thrashing an in form Canberra Raiders side 32-18 at WIN Stadium on Sunday afternoon, in front of 13,102 fans.
With a heavy share of possession (57%), the Dragons found their attacking groove, putting an end to their critics questioning on whether the side could score enough points to truly threaten the competition. Not only did the Red V cross for 32 points, they way in which they scored their tries showed they can be an attacking force.
The game was not with out controversy, with the Canberra side denied first points due to a double movement ruling on captain Jarrod Croker, which coach Ricky Stuart labelled “a try any day of the week.” The decision effectively made a 12 point turn around, as the Dragons went and scored down the other end almost immediately when Gareth Widdop planted a Benji Marshall grubber for a six nil lead after four minutes.
10 minutes later the Dragons were on the attack again and able to cross the stripe through Jason Nightingale following a Marshall 40/20.
Trailing 12-nil, the Raiders needed to hit back, and they found their way over the try line through Sia Soliola in the 22nd minute of play, the big second rower crossing from a Mitch Cornish short ball.
But the dragons weren’t about to let the Canberra side back in to the game kicking a penalty before crossing for another try in the 31st minute through centre Euan Aitken following a Mitch Rein bust and a wonderful Tyson Frizell offload.
Just as they looked out again, the Raiders again stayed within reach of the Dragons, when Shannon Boyd managed to stretch out and score a minute from half time despite heavy attention from defenders. Despite dominating the first stanza, the Dragons maintained just a eight point lead at the break.
The Canberra side struck early in the first half to put the pressure on their hosts, with Josh Papalli crashing over just three minutes into the second half, cutting the margin to two points.
The home side weren’t about to let their lead go though, and like he did in the previous encounter between the two sides, ex Raider Joel Thompson turned the screws on his previous club. The Dragons’ second rower cashed in on a Jordan Rapana lost ball to take the lead back out to eight.
Not happy to just maintain the margin, the St George side again pressed the visitors line and the halves combined for another try, this time Widdop kicking for Marshall to score from the grubber and claim a convincing 32-18 win.