NRL Match Review: St George Illawarra Dragons 27 North Queensland Cowboys 24
Tries: Jason Nightingale 3, Charly Runciman, Adam Quinlan
Goals:Gareth Widdop 3/5
Field Goals:Gareth Widdop
Tries:Antonio Winterstein 2, Tariq Sims, Curtis Rona, Jason Taumalolo
Goals:Ethan Lowe 2/5
A Jason Nightingale hat-trick earned the St George Illawarra Dragons a hard-fought two points in a thrilling match at WIN Jubilee Oval tonight in front of a little over 12,000 fans.
The match celebrated the career of Dragons great and rugby league immortal Reg Gasnier, and his number three was retired for the game.
Both sides traded unconverted tries in the opening 10 minutes before the Dragons pulled ahead with a 14th-minute try to winger Jason Nightingale.
A mix-up by the Cowboys as they tried to defuse a Dragons kick resulted in a simple try to fullback Adam Quinlan in the 26th minute and Gareth Widdop converted to make it 14-4.
A late try kept the Cowboys snapping at the heels of the Dragons going into half time as Antonio Winterstein touched down in the 39th minute, converted by Ethan Lowe for a 14-10 half time scoreline.
The opening 10 minutes of the second half was all the Cowboys who posted tries to Tariq Sims and Curtis Rona to open up a 20-14 lead and give their fans hope of a first away win of 2014.
But the Dragons hit back in the 58th minute through Nightingale, converted by Widdop to tie the game up at 20-all with 20 minutes to play.
Nightingale secured his first career hat-trick in the 72nd minute to edge the Dragons in front and a Widdop field goal made it 27-20 with just six minutes left.
The Cowboys managed a late try to Jason Taumololo to make it 27-24, as they remain winless on the road in 2014, while the Dragons continued their great form with their third consecutive victory.
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