Benji leads Dragons to victory

The St. George Illawarra Dragons have easily accounted for an injury depleted Cronulla Sharks pack with a 30-0 drubbing at WIN Stadium (Wollongong) in front of as 12,079. It was to be a tough ask for the Sharks as they remained without the services of 13 regular NRL players, effectively fielding a NSW Cup side.

Benji Marshall has had his fair share of critics over the years and they have continued to find voice since his return from Rugby Union. However, tonight, albeit against a State Cup side, his skills shone which saw three try assists tallied.

Josh Dugan stepped up as he hunts for a return to the State of Origin arena as he, through the hands of Benji Marshall, posted a hat trick of tries (23rd, 32nd and 60th minute).

The Dragons had slumped over recent weeks but their structure has been rebuilt under the guidance of new head coach Paul McGregor. The structure has seen the confidence return to the game of Gareth Widdop who helped his side close out a victory as his skills provided Gerard Beale with two tries.

Dragons supporters and the team themselves will take confidence from the victory as it's a step in the right direction for a club who has struggled over the past month. Meanwhile the Sharks will continue to battle through this injury period, however as we turn the half way point of the season, ached at the bottom of the ladder their season could be well and truly over.

Cronulla will enjoy the bye, and the guaranteed two competition points in Round 14. While the Dragons head north to the foot of the mountains to battle the top of the table Penrith Panthers.


Match Details
St. George Illawarra Dragons 30 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0
Venue: WIN Stadium
Crowd: 12079
Halftime Score: St. George Illawarra Dragons 18 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Benji Marshall
2 points - Gareth Widdop
1 point - Josh Dugan

ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (30)
Tries: Peter Mata'utia, Josh Dugan (3), Gerard Beale (2)
Field Goals:
Conversions: Gareth Widdop (3/6)
Penalty Goals:

CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS (0)
Tries:
Field Goals:
Conversions:
Penalty Goals:


LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

LATE MAIL: Cronulla Sharks - Luke Lewis and John Morris have been ruled out for the Shire boys.Issac De Gois and Michael Lichaa into the lineup in their place.

LATE MAIL: St. George Illawarra Dragons - Dan Hunt & Bronson Harrison are out of the team tonight. Michael Cooper starts for Dan Hunt and Tyson Frizell starting in place of Trent Merrin who moves to the bench. Craig Garvey called into the side for Mitch Rein.

Welcome to LeagueUnlimited's LIVE coverage from a cold WIN Stadium in Wollongong as the Dragons host the Cronulla Sharks in the second Super Saturday fixture. Let's see if we can get you through this game as the teams struggle to climb the NRL ladder in 2014.

We are minutes away from kick off here at WIN Stadium as the teams get the final message from their coaches in the sheds. The Dragons won the coin toss and will kick off in the first half.

1: UNDERWAY as the Dragons kick off.

1: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Daniel Holdsworth makes an unforced error.

Daniel Holdsworth has made a meal of the catch as he aimed up from the kick off, the mistake gives the Dragons possession first up deep in the Sharks half.

2: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Daniel Holdsworth makes an unforced error.

The Sharks once again unable to gets hands on a ball, Jacob Gagan with the error as he jumped up to get the catch on a cross field kick. Scrum for the Dragons 10 metres out

4: Forward pass called as the Dragons shifted to the left of the field looking for a hole runner. Sharks finally get possession through a scrum feed.

6: Nathan Gardener is planted in goal by Joel Thompson as he took a floating Widdop last tackle kick shy of the try line. Line drop out gives the Dragons a repeat set.

7: The errors continue as a floating pass short goes to ground and the Sharks through Michael Gordon gives on the loose ball, Cronulla have possession deep in their own half.

8: Jason Nightingale has knocked on for all money but missed by the officials, the Dragons go 80 metres in the set but Josh Dugan's pass back in field is dived on by the Sharks.

9: Blake Ayshford charged at his former Wests Tigers team mate in Benji Marshall...and surprise surprise another error. Glue wouldn't go astray tonight with the errors piling up. Dragons with possession in their own half.

12: Tinirau Arona is caught with the ball on last tackle as the Sharks attempted to keep it alive, nothing doing for the Sharks as they hand possession over on their own 30 metre line.

13: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Peter Mata'utia. Kick to come.

Peter Mata'utia is gifted the opening four-pointer as Adam Quinlan darted into a hole off a Benji Marshall short pass to then throw a floating pass to his unmarked winger.

14: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop unsuccessful.

Gareth Widdop with the conversion attempt from the sideline on the eastern sideline hooks the ball and it's waived away

15: First penalty of the game, held in the ruck is the call. Gareth Widdop finds the sideline and the Dragons march up to the half way line.

17: Another forward pass as the Dragons shift, Craig Garvey comes up with the mistake as he shifted across to Lesson Ah Mau

18: Fa'amanu Brown puts up a towering bomb on the last tackle and Adam Quinlan takes it comfortably as Daniel Holdsworth strolled towards him. Dragons with possession middle of their own half

19: UNFORCED ERROR ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Jason Nightingale makes an unforced error.

Jason Nightingale through he had already scored as he had open space in front of him, the pass as been left behind and the Sharks have a scrum on half way

21: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Michael Gordon makes an unforced error.

Michael Gordon hands the ball straight to Trent Merrin has he failed to take the short pass. Dragons with possession deep in their own half.

21: Back to back penalties for the Dragons. The latest for a cannonball tackle against Chris Heighington. Dragons attacking on the goal line.

22: VIDEO REFEREE For the Dragons, Josh Dugan claiming points here as he reached out for the line

22: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Josh Dugan. Kick to come.

Josh Dugan gets the second Dragons four-pointer as he reached over the try line and planted it on the white wash after taking a short pass from Benji Marshall.

23: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop successful.

Gareth Widdop has no issues with the conversion attempt this time as he slots it 10 metres in from the western sideline.

25: Penalty to the Sharks, seemed to be a knock on by the penalty comes for a foot in the work. Jack de Belin the player to knock the ball free in the ruck. Cronulla kick ahead and attack 10 metres short of the half way line.

26: Fa'amanu Brown places a great cross field kick but the Sharks failed to chase and gave an easy catch for the Dragons fullback in Quinlan. St. George Illawarra working it off their own 10 metre line.

28: Michael Gordon fumbles the horrid kick from Brown and the Dragons take the new set on their own 20 metre line. Cronulla's last tackle kicking game has been poor tonight.

29: Penalty to the Dragons as Cronulla concede while attacking deep in the Dragons red zone.

30: Benji Marshall puts in a well-weighted kick and Nathan Gardener is trapped in goal. Line drop out for the Dragons to give them a repeat set.

32: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Josh Dugan. Kick to come.

Josh Dugan takes the short pass again from Benji Marshall on the right side and he slipped into a gap of the defence and cracks over for his second try.

33: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop unsuccessful.

Gareth Widdop hits the uprights from the western sideline and it's missed.

37: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Gerard Beale. Kick to come.

Gerard Beale is gifted points as the Sharks defence failed to slide over with a floating pass from Gareth Widdop. Easy points for the Dragons crafted by a run from Benji Marshall

38: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop unsuccessful.

Gareth Widdop is unable splits the uprights from the eastern sideline and the score remains

39: Kick from the Dragons is deflected off the legs of the Sharks but ruled not to be played at. Scrum feed for Cronulla 15 metres short of the half way line.

40: HALF TIME here at WIN Stadium in Wollongong, despite the siren failing to sound we have the Dragons taking a 18-0 lead into the sheds.

41: Second half is UNDERWAY here as the Cronulla Sharks kick off and trail the Dragons by 18 points.

45: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Jacob Gagan makes an unforced error.

Jacob Gagan under pressure as the Joel Thompson came flying through as he took the catch, however the ball is dropped. Scrum for the Dragons 20 metres out.

47: Jason Nightingale has been unable to take the chip kick on last tackle and Benji's kick lands in the grandstand. Sharks hand over.

47: Penalty to the Sharks, strip is the call as the tackle saw the ball come free. Sharks attack on half way

48: Josh Dugan fumbled the ball in goal, looked to be a knock on but managed to get out into the field of play. Daniel Holdsworth's kick wasn't the greatest as the Sharks fail to build pressure

50: Nathan Ayshford has been forced over the sideline as he charged to the corner but six Dragons defenders muscled up and shifted him over in the corner. Scrum for the Dragons 10 metres off their own try line.

53: End to end stuff in the last few minutes, Dragons have possession from a Holdsworth last tackle kick on their 30 metre line.

56: Kick from Cronulla is too big and it's a free 20 metre tap for the Dragons.

58: Nathan Gardner is planted in goal again as the Dragons chasers push up and Craig Garvey lead the kick chase.

60: Bryce Gibbs and Ben Creagh having words after a call of dropped knees in the ruck.

60: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Josh Dugan. Kick to come.

Josh Dugan claims try number three again off Benji Marshall as the half back provided the chip over the top of the Sharks defence.

61: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop successful.

Gareth Widdop with the conversion attempt slots the extras to make it a 24 point lead for the Dragons

64: Gerard Beale flying out for the short kick off the boot of Gareth Widdop but it just beats him over the sideline. 20 metre tap for the Sharks.

66: Fa'amanu Brown looking for a gap as he darted into a hole with some good footwork but on last tackle he can't get into space. Change over 10 metres out for the Dragons.

66: Benji Marshall's last tackle kick is too big, Nathan Gardener watches it go dead and earns a zero tackle, 20 metre tap

68: The Dragons unable to get a clean pick up from a loose ball and the Sharks pack down a scrum 20 metres out from the Dragons try line.

68: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Michael Gordon makes an unforced error.

Michael Gordon with a thru-ball between his legs and the mistake comes. Scrum for the Dragons 10 metres off their try line.

73: Jason Nightingale with great hands picks up the bouncing kick and scoops up possession deep in his own half.

74: Chris Heighington knocks down a pass and the zero tackle call comes for the Dragons who attack just inside the half way line.

75: VIDEO REFEREE for the Dragons as Gerard Beale claims his second try. Looking at the sideline as he slid over after taking an offload from Gareth Widdop.

75: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Gerard Beale. Kick to come.

Gerard Beale is awarded his second four-pointer for the Red V tonight as he slides over in the corner off a brilliant offload from Gareth Widdop

77: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop successful.

Widdop nails the conversion to make it a 30 point flogging over the Sharks

80: FULL TIME here at WIN Stadium in Wollongong has seen the Dragons easily account for an strengthened team of the Sharks, 30-0.

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