DRAG(O)N A COWBOY | The St George-Illawarra Dragons have claimed a narrow win over the reigning prem...
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With Redcliffe fullback Ryan Cullen crossing for a hat-trick and being denied two more, the Mal Meninga-coached victors displayed some of the slickest football seen this year.
The win was established by rampant forwards Anthony Boyd, Jeremy Smith and Leigh Coghill, featuring in three of the four opening tries.
Aggressive Norths backrower Smith took defenders across the line for both of his four-pointers in the 2nd and 12th minutes, with Boyd laying the groundwork for the latter.
Boyd made another telling line break soon after, but livewire Cullen dropped the pass 10m out and unmarked.
Fortunately the error didn?t come back to haunt the City custodian, who added to a try in the 9th minute with more in the 42nd and 77th.
Remarkably Cullen had another chance to further his tally, only for referee Justin Eastwood to call back a forward pass from prop Danny McAllister.
With spots on the line for the Queensland Residents team - to play at Suncorp Stadium before State of Origin III ? plenty of feeling was evident from the kick-off.
Wearing a neck brace similar to Brent Tate?s, Country lock Neale Wyatt engaged in a brief scuffle with City second rower Jamie Russo. Shortly after, a total of three players required attention for head cuts, all at the same time.
Norths giant Rob Tanielu entered the fray with a shove to the face of his marker in the play-the-ball, sending his opposite man sprawling and surrendering a penalty in possession.
Country enjoyed a brief resurgence with a try to centre Balin Cupples before halftime and additional efforts by Martin Griese and Mark Henry just after the break.
Yet the closest the heavy favourites came was 38-16, a similar tale to last year?s 48-16 defeat in Barcaldine.
The local crowd was kept amused by Wynnum favourites Damien Quinn and Jimmy Ahmat, combining for 22 points on a drizzly afternoon.
Positives for the rural outfit were the uncompromising play of captain Ali Brown, the spirited defence of diminutive halfback Brent McConnell and the impact of Tom Learoyd-Lahrs.
Of the last six encounters, City has now won five and must be favoured to dominate selection for the Residents team, announced tomorrow (Sunday) morning.
CITY 58 (Ryan Cullen 3, Jeremy Smith 2, Jim Ahmat 2, Bob Blair, Shane Perry, Brandon Costin, Matt Lockyer tries; Damien Quinn 7 goals) leading COUNTRY 4 (Balin Cupples, Martin Griese, Mark Henry tries; Trent Leis 2 goals).
This article is courtesy of the QRL for more Queensland Cup news visit www.qrl.com.au