St. George-Illawarra broke their five-game losing streak, beating Canterbury-Bankstown on the Queen’s Birthday Monday.
The St. George Illawarra Dragons snapped a five game losing streak with an emphatic win over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Monday.
It was a Queen’s Birthday clash but the home side’s performance was anything but royal. On the other side of the field, the Dragons welcomed back their Origin players – including halfback Ben Hunt who was instrumental in the win, scoring a try and setting up another.
Raymond Faitala-Mariner opened the try scoring when he latched onto a Kieran Foran pass in just the second minute following a brutal Dylan Napa big hit, but that’s where the joy ended for Dean Pay’s men. Minutes later Hunt would exploit the Bulldogs’ shocking up-and-in defence – as has been the case all season – sending the returning Mikaele Ravalawa over out wide. Jack Cogger’s day ended early after a massive shot from Tariq Sims. The officials cleared the contact on the kicker, however Sims will sweat on the match review committee findings as replays suggested he accidentally caught the halfback in the jaw. Corey Norman, Jonus Pearson, Hunt and Zac Lomax all scored before the Bulldogs could muster up any kind of response when Foran crossed with 10 minutes to go. Ravalawa nabbed a double with a sensational effort in the corner and Lomax converted from the sideline to remain perfect with the boot.
Dragons halves lead the way
When they’re hot they’re hot. Corey Norman and Ben Hunt controlled the game brilliantly, almost always taking the right options and keeping the ball on a string with their kicking games. Between them they had a major hand in four of the six tries.
Can Dogs get any worse?
Surely the axe has to swing from Pay? The arrival of one of the game’s best fullbacks, New Zealand captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, will likely see a backline reshuffle. The forwards have a lot to answer for as well. Elliot and Faitala-Mariner have been very poor, while Martin is often starved of game time.
Dragons missed Graham
While they did the job, the Dragons forwards were missing that little something with captain James Graham out of the match. Napa terrorised the opposition early on with some big hits, particularly young guns Blake Lawrie and Jacob Host. Some Graham retaliation would have been welcome.
Destined for the spoon
The Bulldogs are all but certain to get the spoon. With no signs of improvement, an injury list mounting – which now includes Jack Cogger and Lachlan Lewis (syndesmosis) – there aren’t many games left for them to make their mark. It gets tougher against the Roosters this weekend.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12
Tries: Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Kieran Foran
Goals: Nick Meaney 2/2
Drop Goals: N/A
St. George-Illawarra Dragons 36
Tries: Mikaele Ravalawa (2), Corey Norman, Jonus Pearson, Ben Hunt, Zack Lomax
Goals: Zac Lomax 6/6
Drop Goals: N/A
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Christian Crichton 3. Marcelo Montoya 4. Will Hopoate 5. Reimis Smith 6. Kieran Foran 7. Jack Cogger 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 23. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Adam Elliot. Interchange: 10. Ofahiki Ogden, 14. Rhyse Martin 15. Danny Fualalo 17. Sauaso Sue
St. George-Illawarra Dragons: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Jonus Pearson 3. Euan Aitken 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 20. Ben Hunt 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Cameron McInnes 22. Paul Vaughan 21. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 11. Jacob Host. Interchange: 7. Jai Field 10. Korbin Sims 14. Jeremy Lattimore 15. Reece Robson