The Dragons come home with the two points on Friday night.
To kick off the Friday matches for round 15, the St. George-Illawarra Dragons hosted the North Queensland Cowboys at WIN Stadium. Both teams needed a positive result tonight to help their finals football quest. The Cowboys opened the scoring with a penalty goal from in front after only 11 minutes. The Dragons continued their slow start, trailing 10-0 as Tom Opacic and Scott Drinkwater crossed for tries in the 16th and 28th minutes respectively. Drinkwater – who signed for the Cowboys from Melbourne this week – scored on his club debut, hopefully a great start to a great career for the young fullback. The Dragons replied with just four minutes left in the opening term as Mikaele Ravalawa scored his eighth try of the season.
The Dragons came out firing after halftime. It only took the home side six minutes to score as fullback Matt Dufty has his try converted to give the Dragons the two-point lead (12-10). The hosts extended their run of unanswered points to 22 as Euan Aitken and Jacob Host scored tries in the 67th and 72nd minute to put the Cowboys out of the contest, leading 22-10. The Cowboys – still determined to stay in the match -scored in the 74th minute through Tom Opacic. Jordan Kahu missed the kick, meaning the Cowboys trailed by eight with five minutes to go, which was the final margin. The Dragons are now two points outside the top eight and the Cowboys are now four points outside the top eight, but they have a bye next week.
Scotty Drinkwater now a Cowboy
22-year-old Scott Drinkwater made the switch from Melbourne to the tropics of North Queensland earlier this week. His Cowboys club debut was just his second NRL appearance after making his debut for the Storm last season. The fullback fit right in with 127 run metres, 1 line break, 1 try assist and 7 broken tackles.
Jason Taumalolo continues to be a wrecking ball
Cowboys forward Jason Taumalolo continued his incredible season, piling on 237 run metres. The forward continues to play big minutes – with 74 in tonight’s game. He’s leading the league in average run metres per game at 199 metres per game: 27 metres per game above Ken Maumalo, who is second in the competition for average metres gained.
Morgan questionable for Game Three?
Michael Morgan came off with a HIA during the start of the second half after a shot from Tariq Sims kept the five-eighth down for a few minutes and he did not return. This concussion could potentially impact Morgan’s availability for State of Origin game three in a week and a half.
Dragons halves take over
Corey Norman and Ben Hunt guided the team to a victory against the Cowboys after a strong second half performance that saw the Red V score three tries to one in the second half. The halves combined for 145 metres, 3 try assists, 1 line break assist and 2 forced drop outs. Hooker Cameron McInnes also helped his halves with 75 run metres tonight and 6 runs out of dummy half.
St. George-Illawarra Dragons 22
Tries: Mikaele Ravalawa, Matthew Dufty, Euan Aitken, Jacob Host
Goals: Corey Norman 3/4
Drop Goals: n/a
North Queensland Cowboys 14
Tries: Tom Opacic (2), Scott Drinkwater
Goals: Jordan Kahu 1/4
Drop Goals: n/a
St. George-Illawarra Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jonus Pearson 3. Euan Aitken 20. Lachlan Maranta 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 17. Luciano Leilua 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Jacob Host 12. Tariq Sims 13. Tyson Frizell. Interchange: 8. Blake Lawrie 14. Jeremy Latimore 15. Reece Robson 16. Korbin Sims.
North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Jordan Kahu 4. Tom Opacic 5. Enari Tuala 6. Michael Morgan 7. Jake Clifford 8. Scott Bolton 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Shane Wright 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14. Reuben Cotter 15. John Asiata 16. Corey Jensen 17. Francis Molo.