All posts by RobBowen

Canberra Raiders defeat Sydney Roosters in grand final rematch

Canberra Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton

In the Grand Final replay from 2019, it was the Raiders who came away with the victory 24-20 over their fierce rivals.

Down on troops, the Raiders dug deep to end the Roosters 10-match winning streak at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

This was the Raiders first match at the historic venue since their first Grand Final appearance in 1987 and they showed why there are genuine premiership contenders with a gutsy display.

A key match-up in this mouth-watering encounter was the battle of the five-eighths.

Jack Wighton proved the difference with a great display for the Green Machine.

Early on, it was a battle of the big men in the middle trying to gain ascendancy and field position for their team.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Josh Papalii were very strong for their respective teams in the early exchanges even though Papalii left the game briefly for a HIA.

The first try of the match came from the Raiders prop forward Dunamis Lui after 11 minutes.

This was set up by a great run from Wighton who got a quick play the ball for Siliva Havili to use quick feet to off-load to Joseph Tapine.

Tapine delivered a good ball for Lui to crash over close to the posts.

Jarrod Croker converted the easy conversion for the Raiders to take the early lead of 6-0.

It did not take long for the Roosters to hit back and 4 minutes later Brett Morris who scores tries for fun crossed in the corner.

A Luke Keary pass found James Tedesco who then fooled Croker with a great right foot step threw a great ball to Morris who got the ball grounded in the corner.

Kyle Flanagan converted a great sideline conversion to tie the game up at 6-all.

It could have been 2 tries in 2 minutes for the Roosters but the Bunker correctly ruled a double knock on in the lead up.

A successful penalty goal to the Roosters for the Raiders being inside the 10 m on their goal-line gave the Roosters a 2 point lead.

Flanagan kicked the easy penalty goal to give the Roosters the lead for the first time in the game 8-6.

On the 30 minute mark and after a mountain of possession,Brett Morris scored his 2nd try for the match.

Flanagan threw a great cut out pass to find Morris to score his 162nd career try.

Flanagan missed the sideline conversion for the Roosters to lead 12-6 and this ended up being the half-time score.

Just like in the first half, the Raiders were the first to score in the 2nd half through Croker.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad put in a great left foot grubber into the Roosters in-goal and found open space.

Croker proved to be too quick to pounce on the rolling ball to score for the Raiders.

Croker converted his own try to tie the game up again. 12-all with over 35 minutes remaining.

From near the posts, Flanagan was never going to miss the kick and the Roosters take the lead back at 14-12.

4 minutes later and out of nothing, Williams scored a great individual try.

With great footwork and strength, he beat Jake Friend and Tedesco to score adjacent to the uprights.

Croker converted the easy conversion from in front for the Raiders to take the lead 18-14.

The Roosters did not drop their bundle and from a Raiders mistake, they scored through Matt Ikuvalu 3 minutes later.

Good lead up work by Keary and Tesdeco got the ball to Josh Morris who performed a great flick pass to give Ikuvalu his 6th try in the past 2 games.

Flanagan again converted the try for the Roosters to lead again 20-18.

A big turning point of the match was the Raiders successfully winning a challenge on an escort call.

They received the penalty close to their goal-line instead of defending their line after conceding points not long before.

From this the Raiders got down the other end from a Roosters error on half-way for a bulldozing Papalii to score underneath the goal-posts.

Papalii hit a great hole from a clever pass from Tom Starling to sprint 20m to score.

Croker converted the simple conversion for the Raiders to take a handy lead of 24-20.

The Roosters tried hard to get back good field position but unforced errors in their own end were not helping their cause.

The Raiders were able to hang on for a well-deserved victory over the 2 time defending premiers.

They were certainly up for this match even though they had 6 regular first grade players out.

Croker was very pleased after the match saying this was “one of the better wins in his whole time at the club especially with all our injuries and missing some leaders of our club”

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Jack Wighton

2 – Luke Keary

1 – Josh Papalii

Sydney Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary

St George Illawarra Dragons humiliate Manly Sea Eagles at home

St George Illawarra Dragons hooker Ben Hunt

The St George Illawarra Dragons and the Manly Sea Eagles were both under pressure leading into this game losing their past 2 games.

In the end, the Dragons  completely outplayed the Sea Eagles to win 34-4 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

Des Hasler’s Sea Eagles were missing key personnel but are in a form slump they have not been in since 2010.

The Sea Eagles were their own enemy with numerous unforced errors in their own half to put themselves under pressure.

That is to take nothing away from the Dragons.

This was perhaps their best performance of the season.

Going off the Dragons past matches against the Sea Eagles, they would have been very confident leading into the match.

The Dragons came into the game winning 4 out of the past 5 meetings between the 2 teams.

The Dragons had plenty of good performers tonight but Ben Hunt and Mikaele Ravalawa were standouts for the Red V men.

The 8th minute was the only time the Sea Eagles troubled the scoreboard through a try to Joel Thompson.

He hit a great hole at pace from a pass from Daly Cherry-Evans for the Sea Eagles to take an early lead.

Reuben Garrick missed the conversion for a 4-nil lead to Manly.

The next 20 minutes was a battle through the middle with each team trying to assert their authority on the contest.

The first team to crack after the period was the Sea Eagles with the Dragons big man Josh Kerr powering over to score from short range.

This was set up through a nice short ball from the new Dragons dummy half Hunt.

Zac Lomax converted the try for the Dragons to take the lead 6-4.

Only 3 minutes later the Dragons were in again. This try came against the run of play.

It started from a Cherry-Evans break who tried to off-load the ball.

Lomax intercepted the pass who found the flying Matt Dufty on the outside.

His blistering pace was too much for Joel Thompson and Dufty raced 50m to score.

Lomax missed the conversion to take the Dragons lead out to 10 points to 4.

The Dragons were not only on top on the scoreboard but the pressure they were building with very high completion rates.Th

This made it very hard for the Sea Eagles to mount any pressure themselves.

It took 13 minutes into the second half to see the first points scored.

Jorge Taufua was sin binned for taking out Matt Dufty on a kick and chase.

Lomax kicked the penalty goal to extend the Dragons lead to 8. Dragons leading 12-4.

The Sea Eagles unforced errors again came back to bite them at the half-way mark of the second half.

Through a slick passing movement and a flick pass from Lomax,  Ravalawa beat his defenders to score in the corner.

Lomax kicked a great conversion from the sideline to extend the Dragons lead to 18 to 4.

Lomax was at it again 12 minutes later through another intercept from a Cade Cust pass.

He sprinted 55 metres to beat Brendan Elliott to score.

Lomax missed the opportunity to convert his own try but it took the score out to 22-4.

5 minutes later, Corey Norman  didn’t want to miss out on the action to score another four-pointer for the Dragons.

Norman retrieved the ball from a perfect kick and bounce from a Adam Clune kick to record a great team try by the Dragons.

Lomax again converted the try for the Dragons to skip out to a 28-4 lead.

With only a minute left on the clock, Norman was again in the thick of the action.

From a mid-field bomb he put up, Lomax battered the ball back to find Euan Aitken to find the stripe to score.

Lomax kicked the conversion to give the Dragons a 30 point winning margin and to give them a great confidence booster moving into the coming weeks.

Paul Vaughan agreed that this victory is “building blocks for the upcoming matches and a step in the right direction”.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Ben Hunt

2 – Mikaele Ravalawa

1 – Zac Lomax

St George Illawarra Dragons winger Mikaele Ravalawa

Storm strike late to down Roosters in golden point thriller

Melbourne Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes

In one of the games of the season, a penalty goal in golden point proved the difference as the Melbourne Storm defeated the Sydney Roosters.

With a rivalry forming between the two sides recently, the game started with a very high intensity and teams were going set for set.

Both teams were battling hard for field position and it was the Roosters who would pounce first.

Justin Olam made an error by knocking on 30 m out from his own goal line.

Wiley veteran winger Brett Morris was very quick to retrieve the loose ball to off-load a great ball to Flanagan to race over to score.

Flanagan converted his own try for the Tricolours to take the early lead and put the Roosters up 6-0.

Flanagan then became a bit of a villain, with an errant pass picked off by Josh Addo-Carr who saw open space and ran 45 m to score.

Addo-Carr continued his great strike rate of scoring tries at Suncorp. He has now scored a try in his last 6 matches there and his 10th career try at the venue.

As Smith converted to make it six all, the intensity and physicality was reminiscent of an Origin match.

Despite pressure on Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, he rose to the challenge every time.

The Roosters offloads were creating havoc for the Storm defensive which allowed Luke Keary to weave his magic.

The Roosters resiliency in defence suffocated the Storm attack at times and it proved important late in the first half.

Veteran Roosters centre Josh Morris crossed for his 140th NRL try.

Keary nailed a cross field kick form Daniel Tupou to take out of the air.

The high-flying Tupou offloaded a pass around the back of himself for Morris to show great body strength to score in the corner.

Flanagan slotted the goal from the sideline to take the Roosters out to a 12-6 lead.

Heading into the break with the Roosters up 12-6, the match was evenly poised to be a spectacle.

The second half began and it was Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner with an speculative pass in his own half.

The pass was intercepted by Tom Eisenhuth who got the ball to Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes.

Hughes evaded some Roosters defenders and ran 40 m to score for his team and draw first blood in the second half.

Cameron Smith again converted to tie the game up at 12-a-piece.

As the team’s big men tried to stamp their authority on the game, the physicality intensified.

Showing just how good they have been in their careers, Brett Morris scored for a total of 300 NRL tries between he and his brother.

Aback line shift and a great pass from Angus Crichton saw Morris score in the corner to record his 160th NRL try.

Flanagan was great with the boot  and converted the try to put the Roosters up 18-12.

Josh Morris would then bag his second on the back of great lead-up from Keary and his brother Brett.

The play started from his brother Brett who made a great run to get Keary over the advantage line to find Josh Morris out the outside to score.

Flanagan missed the conversion for the Roosters to lead 22-12 with 30 minutes to go.

From the restart, the Storm got a penalty for a player being taken out.

A few tackles later, Hughes scored a double after a good pass by Cameron Smith and a lead up run by Brandon Smith.

Hughes used good footwork to score under the posts, Smith slotted the conversion and the Roosters led 24-18.

A Daniel Tupou error late on would prove costly and ultimately levelled things up.

The dropped ball was scooped up by Hughes who threw a basketball type pass for Paul Momirovski to score the Storm’s 2nd try in 3 minutes.

He beat Josh Morris with a right foot step and also beat Keary close to the line for the Storm to take the lead 24-22 after Cameron Smith converts the goal after the ball coming off the upright.

With the game drawing to a close, a bad defensive decision by Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu to tackle a player without the ball was penalised.

Flanagan was ready to step up to the plate and made no mistake, slotting the penalty to make it 24-all.

With a minute remaining on the clock, the Roosters got in good field position from a Tedesco run.

Keary, the Clive Churchill medallist from last year’s Grand Final slotted a field goal from 32m out.

This was his 4th career field goal and 3rd against the Storm.

From the kick-off restart, Tupou jumps up to retrieve the ball, lost it and the Storm retrieved the ball for one final crack.

An unlikely hero in Ryan Papenhuyzen was there when it mattered, slotting a pressure field goal to force golden point.

This was the first field goal of his career.

In the end, the Roosters were their own worst enemy when it mattered most.

A Boyd Cordner error in his own half coupled with a silly penalty given away by Jake Friend and it would be all she wrote.

From right in front, Smith slotted the easy penalty goal for the Storm to take the win 27-25.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy praised his side’s effort and resiliency.

“It makes me real proud of them,” Bellamy said.

Having said that, had we been beaten by 10 points, I still would have been fairly proud of them.

“We got 10 behind against a team that has been head and shoulders above every other team since the break.

“So it would have been easy for our blokes to say it was going to be too hard.”

Despite an ankle injury to Daniel Tupou, Keary knows the side has the players in their arsenal to still compete.

“We have dealt with this the last few years where we have had people out all the time,” Keary said.

“Last year we got out full squad for the first time on grand final day,” Keary said.

“To lose the two boys last week with ACLs was devastating for them but you can’t dwell on it.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Jahrome Hughes

2- Luke Keary

1 – Brandon Smith

Sydney Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary

Gutsy Eels sink gallant Raiders in golden point thriller

Parramatta Eels fullback and captain Clint Gutherson

With both premiership contenders coming off losses last weekend the Parramatta Eels and Canberra Raiders were looking to bounce back to the winner’s circle.

Coming into this game, both clubs had played each other 58 times over the 38-year period and each team had accrued 1193 points.

A close game was always on the cards if history was to go by.

There was going to be plenty of good match ups right across the park in this encounter and it was a tense and physical battle early on to back this up.

Josh Papalii and Junior Paulo were very strong for their respective clubs early on trying to get momentum going for their team.

The Raiders were not making life very easy for themselves in the early exchanges due to a number of unforced errors coming out of their own end.

The Eels drew first blood in the 4th minute through a try to Ryan Matterson.

Mitchell Moses created space through some decoy runners who got the ball out to Clint Gutherson.

An easy draw and pass put Matterson over for the first try of the match.

Moses converted the try for a 6-0 lead for the Eels.

Paulo’s front row partner Reagan Campbell-Gillard was making plenty of metres up front to help the Eels gain good field position.

It could have been further disaster for the Raiders 4 minutes later if it wasn’t for a Moses knock on from his kick he tried to retrieve.

Marata Niukore who was filling in for the suspended Nathan Brown was denied a second Eels try by the bunker.

The bunker was busy early on, again denying the Eels of a 4-pointer due to a Dylan Brown knock on with 15 minutes on the clock.

With 15 minutes gone in the game, the Raiders still hadn’t been able to attack Parramatta’s 20m zone.

Moses’ great passing game and quickness around the field was creating problems for the Raiders.

Papalii who was very strong and busy early on got a reward in the 18th minute to score a try untouched.

A forward pass earlier on put pressure on Parramatta’s defence.

From a quick play the ball not long after and a clever pass by Josh Hodgson, the Raiders were on the scoreboard.

Jarrod Croker kicked the easy conversion to tie the game up at 6-all.

This was Canberra’s first attacking opportunity in Parramatta’s attacking 20m area so far in the game.

Papalii who was Canberra’s best forward early on went off for a head injury assessment.

The Raiders were now starting to get on top due to the Eels starting to make errors and putting themselves under pressure.

30 minutes in and after some classy play by Nick Cotric on the wing, Englishman Elliott Whitehead scored for the Green Machine.

A kick in-field by Cotric was fielded nicely by Jack Wighton who drew and passed for Whitehead cross.

Jarrod Croker again slotted the conversion to take the Raiders out to a 12-6 lead.

3 minutes later, Maika Sivo had a try disallowed due to a Shaun Lane knock on.

Not long after, Matterson was penalised for his tackle on Corey Horsburgh.

From this, Horsburgh left the ground with an ankle injury but not before having plenty to say to Matterson and the crowd on his way off.

Just a minute later, Parramatta’s chief playmaker Moses went down with a calf injury.

Papalii returned to the field for the Raiders after passing his head injury assessment.

On the stroke of half-time, the Eels received a penalty due to a high tackle on Daniel Alvaro.

Hodgson was placed on report for this tackle.

Gutherson who was filling in with the kicking duties due to Moses’ injury slotted the penalty goal for the Raiders to take a 12-8 lead into half-time.

Jordan Rapana wasthen penalised for a high tackle on Sivo.

From the next set, interchange forward Ray Stone crossed for his first NRL try.

He ran a great line off a perfect pass by Reed Mahoney.

Gutherson converted the easy conversion for the Eels to take back the lead 14-12.

The first 20 minutes of the second half was following the same trend of the first half with heavy collisions between both teams and going set for set.

The Eels were now on a roll with Michael Jennings crossing for the Eels yet again.

Gutherson started the play who got the ball to Lane.

A great around the corner pass give Jennings his 151st NRL try.

Gutherson again slotted the conversion for the Eels to take the biggest lead of the game. 20-12.

5 minutes later, Sivo was over in the corner.

This came from the pressure the Eels were putting on the Raiders from a strip call earlier in the set.

Gutherson was again was in the thick of the action who delivered a great ball to Sivo who went over untouched in the corner.

Sivo crossed for his 26th try in his 32nd NRL game.

The slick play started from a great long ball from Mahoney. Gutherson was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt. 24-12 to the Eels.

The Raiders were not going to give in and George Williams delivered a pin point kick for Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to score close to the posts with only 5 minutes remaining on the clock.

This was Williams 5th try assist via a kick this season and 7th overall for the Raiders.

Croker again slotted the conversion to bring the game back to a converted try gap. 24-18 to the Eels.

From the kick off and on tackle two, the Raiders shifted the ball wide to Whitehead who was only 30 metres out from their own line.

A great show and go put Whitehead into open space.

Like all good fullbacks do, Nicoll-Klokstad was able to support Whitehead.

Croker converted the try to have the game all tied up at 24-all and to set up a grandstand finish.

This was the score after 80 minutes.

The statistics for golden point favoured the Raiders.

Canberra had won 10 of 18 and Parramatta had recorded 4 out of 15 matches.

Sivo was placed on report within 2 minutes of Golden Point for a high tackle.

Wighton missed the first attempt at field goal 3 minutes in.

Clever play by Gutherson resulted in the Eels getting a 20m restart from the missed field goal attempt.

Parramatta were able to get up the other end of the field and with plenty of time to slot the 1 pointer Gutherson missed his attempt as well.

An ambitious Williams tried to get the win for the Raiders with a field goal from 50m out but it fell way short.

Moving into the second stanza of golden point Wighton knocked the ball on from trying to retrieve the ball to put the Eels in perfect field position.

Cool as a cucumber, Gutherson slotted the match-winning field goal to give the Eels a 25-24 win in a very entertaining game.

This continues the Raiders inconsistent form during this season.

“With Moses going off injured, it certainly made life harder for the Eels but “a win is a win at this time of the year” Gutherson said.

“Our middle forwards really stood up tonight and were outstanding especially when Moses went off injured” Gutherson continued.

One of the middle forwards who certainly lifted his team was Regan Campbell-Gillard.

His form this year after changing clubs from the Penrith Panthers has been outstanding.

“It is a really confident environment to play in” Campbell-Gillard said.

“This is certainly showing in his form at the moment.”

Despite the loss, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart praised his side’s never-say-die attitude.

“I’ll never debate that they’ll never give in, I’ve said that for years,” Stuart said.

“But you can never win a game in the first half but you can lose them.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Clint Gutherson

2 – Reed Mahoney

1 – George Williams

Parramatta Eels fullback Reed Mahoney





Panthers win a thriller to score rare win against the Storm

Penrith Panthers hooker Apisai Koroisau

The Penrith Panthers were up against it coming into this game by winning only twice in the last twenty matches against the Melbourne Storm.

They prevailed, with a 21-14 victory lifting the mountain men to third on the premiership ladder.

The Panthers overall record against the Storm didn’t read any better with just a 23% winning record against Craig Bellamy’s men.

The only record that was in the Panthers favour was they had won their past 7 games at Campbelltown.

A key match-up in this game was the battle of the hookers.

Cameron Smith versus Apisai Koroisau. The winner of this battle would go a long way to determining the winner.

The game started at a very fast pace with minimal errors. The early exchanges were very physical and very high completion rates.

Marion Seve who was filling in for Josh Ado-Carr who was with his partner for the birth of their baby was under pressure very early on mainly due to Cleary’s sensational kicking game.

The Panthers opened the scoring at the 17th minute through a try by Stephen Crichton.

Finding the stripe would have been a confident booster from his unhappy game last week against Waqa Blake from Parramatta.

Koroisau started a play down the left hand side through his fast dummy half work to find Jarome Luai who threw a great cut out ball to Josh Mansour.

An easy draw and pass put Crichton over untouched adjacent to the posts. Cleary converted the easy conversion to have the Panthers up 6-0.

The Panthers off-loads in the first 25 minutes were making life very hard for the Storm and they were well on top mainly through the tempo of Koroisau’s play out of dummy half.

High completions continued late into the first half with both teams over 87% in a very high quality and physical contest.

On the stroke of 31 minutes and after conceding a six again call, the Panthers defence cracked.

A smart Cameron Munster pass fooled defenders and Felise Kaufusi crashed over.

Smith made easy work of the conversion to lock the game up at 6-all.

This was the first real opportunity the Storm had down on the Panthers line and the rewards came.

The Storm were starting to gain back the momentum they had lost for the past 30 minutes.

Viliame Kikau went down with a looked to be a shoulder injury which could have been devastating for the Panthers but he remained on the field.

With 2 minutes remaining until half-time, Smith was penalised for taking out Cleary on a kick chase.

With not much time on the clock, Cleary decided to take the easy penalty kick at goal.

He slotted this kick for the Panthers to take the lead at half-time 8-6.

The second half started off in the same vein as the first half with the game continuing at a great pace and teams being very physical.

The good form continued for the Panthers as they crossed the stripe on the 50th minute through Brian To’o.

To’o was having a great night so far with plenty of run metres and being safe under the high ball.

It was a great pass from Isaah Yeo to Cleary who got the ball out to To’o who then grounded the ball.

Cleary converted the try again for the Panthers to take the biggest lead of the game out to 14-6.

5 minutes later with some Cameron Munster magic, Brenko Lee scored a 4 pointer for the Storm.

A double pump followed by a bullet cut out pass give Lee a very simple run to the line.

Smith again converted the try to give the Panthers a slim 14-12 lead.

Munster was the Storm’s most dangerous player so far in this game.

With 2 try assists, he was keeping the Storm in the game.

A forced error by the Panthers in their own half put them under pressure and the Storm were looking to score back-to-back tries.

In the ensuing tackles, the Storm received a penalty for ruck interference and Smith decided to take the penalty kick at goal.

He was successful and this locked the game up again. 14-all with 20 minutes to go.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona was having a big second half for the Storm after a quiet first half.

From nothing and on the last tackle, a Clearly bomb saw Kikau run through like a man on a mission to take the ball out of the air to score.

Cleary again converted to have the Panthers leading 20-14.

The Storm would of loved to have Josh Addo-Carr in their side tonight as Seve was always under pressure and not having a happy night due to Cleary’s exceptional kicking game.

This wasn’t helping the Storm’s chances.

With 5 minutes remaining in the game the Storm give away an unnecessary penalty which ended up giving the Panthers great field position.

The Ice Man Cleary then slotted a field goal under pressure to give the Panthers a handy 7-point lead.

The Storm had repeat sets in the Panthers attacking half but they were unable to crack the resilient and tough defence of the Panthers.

Liam Martin was given 10 mins in the sin bin with 1 minute remaining for repeated infringements but this didn’t affect the Panthers in any way.

The Storm were not at their best tonight but the Panthers showed they can match it with the top teams in the competition.

“Penrith out played and out enthused us. They were more interested in the game then us” Bellamy said.

The win will be a great confident booster for this Penrith side leading into the coming weeks and they will be a very happy camp tonight.

“We are very happy to get the win tonight especially over the Storm” Koroisau said.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Apisai Koroisau

2 – Cameron Munster

1 – Nathan Cleary

Melbourne Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster

Dragons find their fire to down local rivals Sharks for maiden victory

St George Illawarra Dragons fullback Matt Dufty

The St George Illawarra Dragons avoided joint venture history by defeating the Cronulla Sharks 30-16 at Campbelltown Sports Ground this afternoon.

The Dragons were staring down the barrel at 0-5 to start the season but the neutral venue and the earlier start due to the CO-VID19 worked wonders.

Paul McGregor rang the changes to his side which got beaten last week by the struggling Bulldogs.

The changes nearly paid off within the first 5 minutes with Matt Dufty crossing the stripe.

Unfortunately for the luckless Dragons, the try was disallowed due to Zac Lomax taking a defender out of play in the lead up.

The Sharks had a few players returning from injury had plenty of intent early especially through Toby Rudolf.

They were able to work their way down to the other end to score the first points of the match on the 7th minute mark.

A slick pass by the returning Townsend and an around-the-corner pass by Josh Dugan gave Mawene Hiroti a try on debut.

Dugan was very dangerous early on against his old club.

The try was unconverted by Johnson by but the Sharks lead 4-0.

The Dragons didn’t drop their heads which they may have been guilty of in previous weeks.

Instead, they registered their first points in 86 days or 310 minutes of football on the 14 minute mark.

A rejuvenated Dufty threw a great long ball, left to right for the flying Fijian Mikaele Ravalawa.

Zac Lomax converted for the Dragons to take a 6-4 lead.

On 21 minutes and from a mid-field scrum, a great set play got the Sharks second try through Sione Katoa.

He proved too quick on the outside of his defender to plant the ball inside the corner post.

Shaun Johnson slotted the conversion for a Sharks 10-6 lead.

With the Sharks now on a roll and a possible 10 point lead coming, they were penalised for an obstruction by the video referee.

Shaun Johnson couldn’t add to his try tally but it would have been a good confidence builder for him.

Tension started to flair with the inexperienced Adam Clune taken out late by Briton Nikora.

A penalty was sufficient by referee Henry Perenara .

Not long after, Dufty was at it again and his speed got him over the goal-line.

This started from a 1-on-1 strip.

It was Corey Norman who was shifted to five eighth supplied Dufty with a brilliant ball for him to score adjacent to the uprights.

Lomax converted for a 12-10 lead to the Dragons.

On the stroke of half-time, the under siege Ben Hunt, playing in a possibly new position, wrestled his way to the white stripe.

From a dummy and go and 5m out from the Sharks goal-line, he proved too strong for the defenders to prevent him from scoring.

Lomax converted and the Dragons went into the break leading 18-10.

The 2nd half was almost a repeat of the first half with the Dragons continuing on the first 40 minutes.

With their 20/23 completions in the first half, it provided a great platform moving into the second half with Dufty again proving to be a handful.

The luck was not going the Sharks way as they had a try disallowed to Wade Graham due to him being in an off-side position.

The first try of the second half came in the 63rd minute through Cameron McInnes.

This came from a Ben Hunt pass and he was too fast and strong for the tired defenders to score underneath the posts.

Lomax made the easy conversion to make it 24-10.

Most people would of thought this was game over but the Sharks had other ideas.

From an unsuccessful challenge by the Sharks in the 67th minute, it then didn’t take them long to get their first try in the second half and to make a game of it.

Wade Graham scored from a 1-on-1 restart.

He ran a great line off a pass from Shaun Johnson to crash over.

Johnson converts to make the game 24-16.

Norman might catch the eye of the Match Review Committee due to a trip on a Sharks player.

From this next set of six, it showed the Dragons attitude for this game was much improved from previous weeks.

This was epitomised by a sensation try-saving Tyson Frizell try to stop Katoa from scoring.

The Dragons kicking game and control throughout the game was exceptional.

The pressure and field position caused the Dragons to wrap the game up right on full time with a second try to Ravalawa in the corner.

Again, it was Dufty’s great long ball which fooled the Sharks defenders.

Loma,  who was perfect with the ball all afternoon, converted to take the final score to 30-16 in the Dragons favour.

With Hunt’s move to hooker proving quite the masterstroke, Dragons coach Paul McGregor refused to say if it was long-term.

“He’s a great person, Benny, he understood the reason behind it,” McGregor said.

“We had a good conversation before I announced that side.

“It was just more about him relaxing a little bit and going out and enjoying his footy.

“It’s what the team needs now and that’s the decision we make week to week.”

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