Dragons secure second successive minor premiership

JSt George have won their second straight minor premiership under coach Wayne Bennett after a hard-fought 26-18 win over the Newcastle Knights at Energy Australia Stadium.

The Dragons burst out of the blocks taking a 22-0 lead just after the restart, only to see the Knights slowly claw their way back to make the score 22-18 at one stage with over 20 minutes to go.

As the Knights looked for the try that would put them in the lead, it was an unlikely source that scored the winning try in five-eighth Jamie Soward who has been relatively quiet over the course of the year.

The game was a sell-out as Newcastle fans wanted to pay tribute to retiring skipper and Knights legend Steve Simpson in his final game at Energy Australia Stadium.

With the Knights needing to win to keep their very slim finals hopes alive, they played some brilliant footy and some fantastic conversions from the sideline by skipper Kurt Gidley was the key in bringing them closer to the Dragons score, only to have it snatched away at the death.

Despite the poor second half, Dragons coach Wayne Bennett wasn’t worried as in the end, his team secured the minor premiership.

“It is great honour and recognition for the players for their efforts to win minor premierships in back to back years,” Bennett said.

“They lost their way a bit in the second half and (we) took our eye off it, before getting the momentum back in the last 10 minutes.

“I am not too worried about the second half, the Knights played pretty well and didn’t deserve to be behind 22-0, but we gave them some possession and made some silly errors but I was pleased with the way we closed the game out.”

Newcastle coach Rick Stone was adamant his side would come out victorious under their near comeback as the crowd willed the Knights on.

“I thought we were going to go on and score another but after getting back into it we just lacked a little bit of patience,” Stone said.

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