The St George Illawarra Dragons have come from three converted tries down to score a 34-28 victory over the Newcastle Knights at UOW Jubilee Oval.
The opening half was an eventful one with a hot opening 10 minutes for the Dragons being outweighed by a frozen next 30 minutes with the home side opened up a 10-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes before conceding 28 unanswered points.
The Knights looked dangerous early but after a mistake in attack the Dragons and it was down the left where the Dragons were at their hottest whenJason Nightingale crossed way too easily for Knights fans liking. The Dragons veteran then got his 100th career try with some great vision from Gareth Widdop who put the ball on the toe out to the left for the veteran instead of looking inside at the men backing up but it was all good for the Dragons who went out 10-0.
The Knights then turned on their style running out 28 unanswered points which included a hattrick to NRL cult hero Nathan Ross. The first of the Knights tries came through Nathan Ross when at the 20th minute mark got through some flimsy defence from the Dragons to get his first. Just three minutes later we were off to the bunker to check for another Knights try and yet again it was for Nathan Ross who was claiming points for the Knights. The bunker stuck with the onfield decision from Adam Gee and the Knights took the lead by two points.
The opening 10 minutes was a distant memory for the Knights as they worked in more points as Lachlan Fitzgibbon showed his strength and future potential for the Knights when he crossed the line and slammed the ball down to extend the lead out to 8 points. Nathan Ross brought up a third try after a Dragons error in the Knights half saw the Rossdog race 65m down field to score a third try and it was 22 unanswered points for the Knights at this stage. The Knights extended the lead again when Brendan Elliott was at the end of a Sione Mata'utia long ball to score and extend the lead. The Knights then took a penalty goal when they had all the momentum and could've extended the lead even more.
The second half and was just a longer version of the first 10 minutes for the Dragons with the Knights struggling to stop an onslaught from the Dragons which saw the Dragons race in their own 22 unanswered points in the half. The opening try for the Knights came after six minutes when Gareth Widdop found space in behind the Dragons line when Joel Thompson chased through Widdop's grubber to score an easy try for the home side. Josh Dugan showed why he is one of NSW's top players when he got through to the tryline with four defenders on him to slam the ball down and score his try.
The gap was closed just short of the hour mark when the Dragons scored their third inside 20 minutes with the first half defensive woes for the Knights returning when Gareth Widdop found space for Jason Nightingale who got his third of the afternoon. The comeback was completed when Kurt Mann also had to fight to the line and did so successfully with his own 4 pointer.
The Knights were given a late reprieve with a Dragons effort knocked back by Ashley Klein in the bunker but the Knights attack didn't have the potency of the first half and it was all done with the Dragons scoring a 32-28 come from behind victory. Next week the Dragons head up to the Gold Coast for the early Friday game meanwhile the Knights return home to take on the Wests Tigers in what many have billed "Spoonbowl"