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2021 NRL Round 1, St George Illawarra Dragons 18 – Cronulla Sharks 32 Report

Craig Cauchi reviews an opening round derby. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 18

Tries: Adam Clune (47), Matt Dufty (53), Mikaele Ravalawa (72)

Goals: Zac Lomax (48, 55, 74)

CRONULLA SHARKS 32

Tries: Josh Dugan (3), William Kennedy (14, 65), Ronaldo Mulitalo (62), Aaron Woods (76)

Goals: Chad Townsend (5, 15, 64, 67, 77)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Chad Townsend (Cronulla Sharks)
2 pts – William Kennedy (Cronulla Sharks)
1 pt – Paul Vaughan (St George Illawarra Dragons)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

The Sharks started with an opportunistic try off of a last tackle kick when the Dragons failed to clean up a grubber from Chad Townsend. Matt Dufty and Ben Hunt both missed the ball leaving a clear run for Josh Dugan to ground the ball. It was a very similar feel to the Sharks second try when Will Kennedy was given a clear passage to his own kick when the Dragons’ defenders once again failed to get a clean grasp on it. The Dragons continued to put themselves under pressure with a silly mistake followed by a penalty gifting the Sharks two points. This came during the period Jesse Ramien was in the sin bin for a swinging arm.

HALF-TIME: St George Illawarra Dragons 0 Cronulla Sharks 14

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2nd Half

The Dragons were first to score after a brief period of back and forth footy. The try came off a mid field bomb with the Sharks back three allowing the ball to bounce. Adam Clune was the man on the spot to catch the ball and slide over the try line. The Dragons were a lot better with their handling and finally split the Sharks up the middle with Ben Hunt providing the room for Matt Dufty to burn the chasing Sharks defenders. The Dragons were denied a try after a review from the bunker and the Sharks marched down field and scored a try of their own through Ronaldo Mulitalo. The Sharks were back on attack after another error from the Dragons and they took advantage with a nice play off the scrum. William Kennedy was the beneficiary crossing for a double. Ravalawa scored out wide off a Ben Hunt cross field kick and Lomax’s goal closed the deficit to eight. Aaron Woods scored the final try of the match, barging over from close range and handing the Dragons a first round loss.

FULL-TIME: St George Illawarra Dragons 18 Cronulla Sharks 32

Injuries

Cody Ramsey (Dragons) – ankle – to be monitored.

Match Review Committee

Jesse Ramien (Sharks) – Grade 1 High Tackle (Reckless) – Early Guilty Plea taken – 3 match ban.
Aiden Tolman (Sharks) – Grade 1 – Dangerous Contact – fine pending.

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