Vodafone Warriors burned by Dragons
Saturday 25 August 2012 7:30 PM
NRL ROUND 25 RESULT
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 38
(J Nightingale 2, W Matthews, C Stanley, J Miller, B Creagh, M Cooper Tries; J Soward 5/6 Goals, B Hornby 0/1 Goals.)
VODAFONE WARRIORS 6
(S Johnson Try; J Maloney 1/1 Goals)
At WIN Stadium.
Despite a valiant effort, the Vodafone Warriors have fallen to the Dragons 38-6 at WIN Stadium on Saturday night.
“There was a lot of effort for not much reward,” Micheal Luck said after the game. “We just struggled to stop them tonight.
“We started okay, and brought the game level toward the end of the first half, but we just weren’t good enough tonight for the 80 minutes.”
With plenty of pride on the line for both clubs, the Vodafone Warriors and St George Illawarra Dragons came out firing in the early exchanges. Both sides were looking to complete their sets early to gain the territorial ascendancy, but with defence dominating the attack during the initial stages, the match developed an unexpected defensive feel.
However, after the heavy-hitting opening, the Dragons were first to put points on the scoreboard, with Will Matthews scoring his first try for the Dragons off a Jamie Soward cross-field kick. Soward then added the extras to bring the scoreline to 6-0 after 15 minutes of play.
The Warriors then responded, after some brilliant lead up work put them in great field position. James Maloney was the instigator of the Vodafone Warriors reply, with a perfectly placed cross-field kick to Manu Vatuvei batted down into the arms of a waiting Shaun Johnson to score. Maloney then evened up the scores with a well struck conversion at the 29th minute mark.
The scores did not stay even for long though, with the Dragons hitting back almost immediately through Chase Stanley in the 33rd minute. Stanley did it all himself with a great jinking run over 30 metres to take the score to 12-6 after Soward converted the try.
As the half wore down, a Soward field goal attempt hit the post in the final minutes, falling harmlessly into the arms of the alert Vodafone Warriors. The visitors, then had a chance of their own, but when the Dragons defence held firm, the sides went to the sheds with the Dragons leading 12-6.
Who was your Man of the Match? Vote in the Provan Summons Award here.
A brisk start from the Dragons saw them have the best of the running to start the second half. The Vodafone Warriors defended brilliantly, but after a heavy collision between Vatuvei and Matthews brought a stop to play, the Dragons capitalised quickly, with Jason Nightingale out-leaping Carlos Tuimavave to score the Dragons third try. Soward missed the conversion leaving the score at 16-6.
With Shaun Johnson leaving the field for the remainder of the match with an eye injury, Alehana Mara tried to spark the Vodafone Warriors with a great one-on-one strip giving his side their first chance of the second half.
However, when that attack failed, it was Nightingale who struck again, scoring his double down the left edge off a Ben Creagh offload. Soward put the conversion between the posts bringing the score to 22-6 with 25 minutes remaining.
The score then continued to mount, with Josh Miller scoring a rare try after Brett Morris streaked down the right touchline to put the Dragons in position. Miller ran a nice line off Trent Merrin, taking the score to 28-6 after 64 minutes.
Ben Creagh was next to score for the Dragons, before turning provider, with a crafty flick pass setting up Matt Cooper for a well deserved try to top-off a 38-6 victory.
Best for the Dragons were Dan Hunt, Jason Nightingale and Trent Merrin, while Best for the Vodafone Warriors were Carlos Tuimavave, Micheal Luck and Feleti Mateo.
Vodafone Warriors: Shaun Johnson (Eye).
Dragons: Will Matthews (Head).
C Tuimavave, B Tupou, B Henry, L Brown, M Vatuvei (c), J Maloney, S Johnson, R Packer, A Mara, J Lillyman, F Mateo, E Taylor, M Luck.
Bench: P Godinet, U Ta'ai, K Hurrell, B Matulino.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
J Nightingale, B Morris, C Stanley, M Cooper, D Vidot, J Soward, B Hornby (c), D Hunt, M Rein, T Merrin,W Matthews, B Creagh, J Miller.
Bench: M Prior, D Young, L Ah Mau, J de Belin.
In the NYC match the Warriors beat the Dragons 30-28.
The Warriors host the Raiders at Mt Smart Stadium in Round 26 with kick-off at 4:00pm Sunday.