At the start of the season, you probably would not have expected it to be the case but the St George Illawarra Dragons have moved to the top of the NRL ladder, after a 31-12 win over the New Zealand Warriors.
Picking up where they left off, it took until the second half for the Dragons to really hit their stride, as a four-minute stanza in the half set up the win for the club.
It continues what has been a tremendous start for the Dragons, especially with so many of their key players firing on all cylinders early, something that many fans are pleased to see.
Scoring 25 unanswered points is something that Dragons coach Steve Price was pleased with and the overall performance of his side was also something he was happy about.
“To go in 12-6 [at the break] with the amount of possession that the Warriors had, I was quite happy with that,” said Price.
“As you saw, we scored 25 unanswered points and I was quite pleased with that and especially with that goal-line d in the middle of the second half.”
“When we were under the pump there, the boys stood tall and it was a great display.”
The same cannot be said for the Warriors who after starting the game in such a promising fashion, simply fell apart and allowed the Dragons to run over the top of them.
With the game played at Eden Park in New Zealand, the Warriors hoodoo at the ground continues.
With a lot to improve on moving forward, even Matt Elliott was struggling to find any sort of positive to take out of the game.
“There were some other minutes which hurt us as well to be honest with you â€“ I didn’t even think our first-half performance was where we had set ourselves to be,” Elliott said bluntly.
“Our will to compete in the game at the moment could be questioned. I know we are a much better team than that.
“We have really worked hard from a fair distance out, believe it or not, on these first six games being a real key for us. Last week was a disappointment and I guess this one matches up.”
The slow start – that is, losing their first two games – should come as no surprise to anyone, as the club are notoriously slow starters but despite that, Warriors captain Simon Mannering lamented his side lack of attacking spark.
“The Dragons scrambled really well. We created a lot of good opportunities I thought, but it seemed like that last pass wasn’t there. But that’s no excuse for letting in far too many points in the second half.
“Those first two sets [of the second half] just showed that we weren’t willing to apply it, which was probably the most disappointing thing. I felt we were more in it than the first game, but we just didn’t have that fight after half time.”
3. Brett Morris
2. Jason Nightingale
1. Simon Mannering