St George Illawarra Dragons prop Paul Vaughan

St George Illawarra Dragons fans are overcoming deja vu tonight as Corey Norman has won his team their second win of the season with a field goal, this time in golden point over the Newcastle Knights.

The affair was very different from the Brisbane Broncos defeat however, as Kalyn Ponga looked to have been driving his team to a victory with the number 1 back on his jersey.

The evening started slowly as the Dragons took the first points through a penalty goal.

The two teams went back and forth for the rest of the night.

Intensities were high as both teams were looking at a 1 win, 3 loss tally and the likes of Ponga stepped up to try and ensure that didn’t happen.

10 minutes in, Ponga delivered a near perfect pass to a wide open Edrick Lee for the first try of the evening.

With one pass, Ponga’s confidence at fullback was exemplified and he looked to have killed the five-eighth experiment for good.

The Knights, in control, suffered a huge momentum shift after Tyson Frizell (who returned substantially early from injury) stripped the ball from Mitchell Pearce to pounce on the try line between the posts.

Just 5 minutes later, Ponga got his team on the board again with an assist for a flying Hymel Hunt to go in untouched.

Holding on to a 2 point lead, Newcastle looked comfortable, however, the Dragons kept clawing their way back in.

After a potentially harsh forward pass call on what would have been a try, the Dragons managed to regather the ball to replicate the same play on the other side of the field.

This time courtesy of Matt Dufty putting Mikaele Ravalawa in for his second career try.

With 15 minutes to go, Kalyn Ponga jumped at the opportunity to even the game up converting a penalty goal from a head high tackle on birthday boy Mitchell Pearce from Tariq Sims.

From there, the match was neck and neck as the two struggled with the intensity which was only amplified by an incredibly vocal 19,105 fans at McDonald Jones Stadium.

3 missed field goals shared between the two teams – 1 by Pearce, 1 by Norman and 1 by Ponga.

The game clocked over into golden point and the intensities were skyrocketed even more.

The first 5 minutes flew by with Pearce and Norman failing field goal attempts again, both only slightly.

The second half saw both teams derail as exhaustion well and truly kicked in. Ben Hunt, attempting a 40/20 on third tackle, kicked the ball dead granting the Knights a 7 tackle set and the game on a silver plater.

Unfortunately for the home crowd, their team was unable to capitalise on the gift and the Dragons received the ball in good field position.

5 tackles in and 42 metres out proved third time lucky for Norman who kicked the winning field goal for his team once again and truly finding a place in the hearts of the Red V faithful.

Norman drew strong praise from Dragons coach Paul McGregor for his insistence in wanting the ball at the big moments.

“He’s a joy to coach because he’s an energetic kid that takes footy serious, but in and around that, he can have a bit of fun as well,” McGregor said.

“He wants the footy at important times, and that’s what your better playmakers do.”

Knights coach Nathan Brown was proud of his side’s effort but the lack of execution concerns him.

“Our effort was tremendous,” Brown said.

“Even against Penrith, going down 16-14, we probably weren’t quite as good as we were the week before against Cronulla, but I don’t think anyone would be critical of that.

“The challenge now is we’ve got to back up against Manly and come out and put in a good one on Saturday.

“That’s going to be a challenge … against Manly, who are playing some good footy.”

NRL News Man of the Match

3. Paul Vaughan

2. Kalyn Ponga

1. Tim Lafai

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