A reborn St George Illawarra has won back-to-back games for the first time in 2007, and after crushing the Canberra Raiders 58-16 at WIN – amazingly the Dragons are only 4 points out of the NRL Top 8.
The St George Illawarra Dragons skipped out to a 22-10 lead early on – after getting plenty of ball and running with a strong breeze at their backs in the first half, before tearing away late; with a six try second-half romp – bringing back memories of years gone by where the Dragons were able to rip through teams with ease and put on plenty of points.
The Raiders have had their problems with injuries and were without injured Queensland enforcer Neville Costigan as well as workhorse captain Alan Tongue, and they soon lost forwards Scott Logan and Josh Miller to injuries during the first half.
Canberra actually took the lead for a time early on, when a hole opened up for badboy Todd Carney to sneak through under the posts. Carney converted his own try to give the ACT men a good platform at the start.
More sloppy defending, this time from the Raiders – allowed St George Illawarra to draw level, as Simon Woolford linked up with Justin Poore who in turn sent fellow prop Dan Hunt in for his first try of the season. Woolford pumped to get the jump on his old club.
Jamie Soward continues to impress for the Dragons since relocating from the Roosters. The Roosters must be frustrated that all their halves (Soward, Lewis and Watts) are all in first grade at other NRL clubs and all playing well.
Soward got a try of his own after 20 minutes, capitalising off a neat run-around play to create space in the Raiders line and touchdown for the Dragons.
The Raiders were continually put under plenty of stress and at one stage having to defend three straight sets on their own line, and they eventually cracked as Chase Stanley took full advantage of a perfect kick from Ben Hornby to score in the left hand edge.
The Dragons then scored a great team try, with the ball going through eight sets of hands as the ball was sent wide to the left and then the right before Ben Ellis crossed beside the posts.
The first half finished in controversial circumstances, as Canberra’s Ryan Hitchcliffe scampered over from dummy half and was awarded a try despite the halftime siren actually sounding before the play-the-ball.
The Raiders went on the attack early in the second term but it was the Dragons who pushed further ahead, with Soward grabbing an intercept and sending speedster Josh Miller clear to run 80 metres and to the line.
Carney then scored his second try in style, passing to a hard-running Marshall Chalk who made a bust before throwing the ball back inside to the unmarked halfback.
The Dragons held a commanding 34-16 advantage when Ellis threw a great ball to a charging Poore close to the line.
The scoreline blew out as Beau Scott scored a long-range try after a great break by Hornby, and pivot Rangi Chase found the line twice before Matt Cooper crossed to complete the thrashing.
Tries: Chase 2, Hunt, Soward, Stanley, Ellis, Miller, Poore, Scott, Cooper
Conversions: Soward 9
Tries: Carney 2, Hitchcliffe
Conversions: Carney 2