Clinical Canberra Douse Dragons' Fire

The Canberra Raiders have maintained their incredible recent record against the St George Illawarra Dragons with a comprehensive 22-14 victory at WIN Stadium this afternoon in front of 14728 fans.

The first half was a willing affair and only two tries were scored in the 40 minutes as defence dominated attack.

The game started in dramatic circumstances for the Dragons as forward Dan Hunt ruptured his achilles tendon in the warm up which saw 18-year-old Alex McKinnon called onto the bench after playing in the Toyota Cup match prior to first grade.

Despite running into a strong southerly in the first half, Jamie Soward put the Dragons on the attack in just the 8th minute with a superb 40/20 kick, but from the ensuing scrum the Dragons knocked the ball on as they looked to get some combinations working with their make-shift side.

The Dragons team assembled 17 players with four debutants. The first grade squad minus nine players courtesy of their strong representation in the State of Origin (four players in NSW, two in QLD) plus injuries to Jeremy Smith, Beau Scott and Hunt.

The Raiders opened the scoring in the 21st minute through back-rower Glen Buttriss after Terry Campese drifted across field and caught some lazy defenders on the inside. Campese's successful conversion gave the Raiders an early 6-0 lead they would keep until in the shadows of halftime.

With halftime approaching, Jason Nightingale scored the Dragons first try of the afternoon as he dived over out wide. Some quality lead up work caught the Raiders defence out wide short. Soward's conversion from out wide was unsuccessful and both sides went to the break with the Raiders leading 6-4.

The Dragons started the second half in scintillating fashion through winger Kalifa Fai-Fai Loa who came into the starting lineup when Beau Scott was ruled out. Kyle Stanley scored from the ensuing set of six in the opposite corner to put the Dragons in front for the first time, but their lead was to be short-lived.

A major turning point occurred a few minutes after the restart when Michael Lett dropped a clearing kick from Terry Campese with no defenders around him for 30 metres. From the scrum, the Dragons would not touch the ball again for a five-minute period which would set up the victory for Canberra.

Tries to Joel Thompson, Josh Dugan and Jarrad Croker blew the game wide open as the Raiders raced out to a 22-8 lead. The Dragons would score one more try through Trent Merrin, but it was not good enough as the Raiders maintained the 8-point deficit until the full-time siren.

Canberra registered yet another victory over the Dragons in a remarkable statistic that will continue for a long time to come.

Next week, the Dragons host the Eels for the first time at WIN Jubilee Stadium this year on Friday night, while the Raiders go into a well-earned weekend off.

Match Details
St George Illawarra Dragons 14 were defeated by Canberra Raiders 22
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 11 - Sunday May 23, 2010 3:00pm
Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Referee: Steve Lyons and Tony De Las Heras
Video Referee: Sean Hampstead
Touch Judges: Adam Devcich and Ricky McFarlane
Crowd: 14728
Halftime: St George Illawarra Dragons 4 Canberra Raiders 6

Tries: Jason Nightingale, Trent Merrin, Kyle Stanley
Conversions: Jamie Soward (1/3)

Tries: Glen Buttriss, Joel Thompson, Josh Dugan, Jarrod Croker
Conversions: Terry Campese (3/4) players of the match:
3 Points - Terry Campese (3 goals)
2 Points - Josh McCrone
1 Point - Josh Dugan (1 Try) Live Commentary And welcome here to WIN Stadium in Wollongong for this afternoon's Round 11 encounter between the Dragons and Raiders. In team news, the Raiders have Travis Waddell that will come into the side, while the Dragons have lost Beau Scott and Dan Hunt who will be replaced by Kalifa Fai Fai Loa and Alex McKinnon.
3 min: Both sides have successfully completed their opening sets of tackles with the ball.
3 min: The Dragons have lost the ball working the ball away from their own line. The Raiders on the attack.
4 min: Some quality scrambling defence from the Dragons has seen them come away with the ball after Thompson was bundled toward touch before throwing a speculative pass back on the inside which was gleefully accepted by the Dragons.
4 min: Soward caps off a solid set of six by the Dragons as he finds touch 10 metres out from the Raiders try line.
8 min: Not much separates both sides after 8 minutes of action, but Soward has just kicked a fabulous 40/20 into the wind and the Dragons get their first chance to open their account for this afternoon.
9 min: The Raiders have repelled the Dragons after a knock-on as the Dragons pressed for the opening try of the afternoon.
13 min: Nightingale and Lett get the Dragons out of trouble as Campese uses the strong southerly that is at the Raiders back almost to perfection as the ball stood up in the in-goal, but the Canberra kick-chase was disappointing.
15 min: Dugan throws a speculative pass which sails over the sideline, much to the delight of the Dragons fans that have again packed WIN Stadium.
17 min: Soward launches a spiralling bomb which is taken brilliantly by Dugan and from the ensuing play-the-ball the Raiders gain their first penalty of the game as the Dragons are caught offside.
18 min: Buttriss is hit in a solid tackle which sees the ball spill loose and the Dragons get another chance to register first points.
20 min: Campese's bomb is pin-point perfect as it comes down half a metre in the field of play and Lett is driven back to the in-goal which will see the Raiders go on the attack.
21 min: TRY
TRY Canberra Raiders
Scored by Glen Buttriss. Conversion attempt by Terry Campese successful.
Campese sets up a brilliant, albeit simple try as he turns Buttriss back on the inside, scoring the try untouched.
Canberra Raiders 6-0
23 min: The Raiders complete their set of six after registering points and put the ball down the other end which sees the Dragons working the ball down the centre of WIN Stadium.
27 min: The Dragons are awarded their first penalty of the match, which is gleefully accepted by the partisan Dragons crowd.
28 min: Soward's grubber trickles over the deadball line and the Raiders get a free 20-metre walk as they work the ball back up field.
29 min: Dugan knocks on a Campese around-the-corner offload. The idea was good, the execution was lacking unfortunately for the Raiders.
30 min: Priddis darts out of dummy half, trying to catch the markers offside, but is caught just short of the Canberra tryline on the fifth tackle.
32 min: Soward's grubber kick sits up in the in-goal, weighted perfectly and Dugan bats the ball over the deadball line. The Dragons now have their first back-to-back set of the match.
34 min: Soward knocks on a pass that was down near his ankles as he attempted to shift the ball out wide.
34 min: Penalty Raiders. Nightingale penalised for slowing the play-the-ball down.
38 min: TRY
TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Scored by Jason Nightingale. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful.
Nightingale caps off a Jamie Soward break to score over in the corner to open the Dragons point-scoring record for this afternoon. Some quality lead-up work, including a "harbour bridge pass" and a fabulous flick pass culminates in a scintillating try.
Canberra Raiders 6-4
40 min: And we're underway through a scintillating run through Fai Fai Loa! The Dragons are then awarded a penalty as the Raiders are trying to slow the quick play the ball down.
43 min: TRY
TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Scored by Kyle Stanley. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful.
Kyle Stanley starts the second half off in the best possible way for the Dragons. Jarrad Croker misses a simple tackle as Stanley dives over in the corner to put them in front for the first time this afternoon.
St George Illawarra Dragons 8-6
44 min: Young dives on a ball that ricocheted off a Raiders player which could have been dangerous for the Dragons. Nick Emmett looks as though he may be injured.
44 min: Emmett is helped from the field with what appears to be a lower back injury.
45 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Canberra try. The Dragons have knocked the ball on and Vidot has swooped on the loose ball, racing 50 metres to score untouched. Checking a possible double knock on.
45 min: NO TRY. Joel Thompson is ruled to have knocked the ball out of Nightingale's grasp and the Dragons have been awarded a penalty for Vidot being offside when he picked up the loose ball.
48 min: Soward dribbles the ball into the in-goal and Monaghan had no option than to pick up the ball and be forced in-goal as the Dragons defence converged.
49 min: The Raiders defence has held and a disappointing kick from Soward sees Picker with the ball. Picker is injured.
50 min: Lett has knocked Campese's downfield kick on with no one for about 50 metres near him. The Raiders will look to make the Dragons pay for that error here.
51 min: TRY
TRY Canberra Raiders
Scored by Joel Thompson. Conversion attempt by Terry Campese successful.
Bronson Harrison doubles around to the short side, and delivers a short pass to the big centre who slightly angles his run and crashes over 10 metres in from touch.
Canberra Raiders 12-8
54 min: Penalty Raiders. The Dragons are penalised for having their hands in the play the ball.
55 min: TRY
TRY Canberra Raiders
Scored by Jarrod Croker. Conversion attempt by Terry Campese unsuccessful.
Croker scores the second Canberra try in two minutes courtesy of a hard, straight run, to blow the game open.
Canberra Raiders 16-8
58 min: TRY
TRY Canberra Raiders
Scored by Josh Dugan. Conversion attempt by Terry Campese successful.
The Raiders have scored another try! McCrone is cutting the Dragons to pieces out wide, with the help of Campese and Dugan has raced 40 metres untouched to score under the posts.
Canberra Raiders 22-8
58 min: The Raiders look as though they will keep their incredible recent record against the Dragons in tact unless the Dragons can score quickly to close the gap and give their fans some hope.
60 min: The Dragons let Campese's bomb bounce and Monaghan is bundled into touch as the Dragons defence raced to cover.
61 min: Penalty Dragons. The Raiders are penalised for again having hands in the play-the-ball. The Dragons need to score soon to give themselves an outside chance of victory.
63 min: TRY
TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Scored by Trent Merrin. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.
Merrin dives over from close range to bang the ball down and give the Dragons some heart and possibly get the crowd back into the contest.
Canberra Raiders 22-14
67 min: Soward's chip kick doesn't come off, giving the Raiders the ball back in good field position.
69 min: Penalty Dragons. The ball is ruled to have been stripped by a Canberra defender which may have been a tough call.
69 min: Thorby knocks the ball on on the first tackle, which may be justice for the Raiders.
71 min: Penalty Dragons. Again a hand on the ball from the Raiders and they will again go on the attack to close the gap with minutes to play.
73 min: Green knocks the ball on. Should he have held it, the Dragons may well have scored in the corner.
75 min: The Dragons haven't kept count of the tackles and Michael Greenfield has been caught with the ball on fifth tackle. The Raiders will look to put the result beyond any doubt here.
77 min: Time has run out for the Dragons and the Raiders will register yet another victory over the Dragons.
78 min: Penalty Dragons. The Dragons receive their sixth second half penalty but it is all too little for them now.
78 min: Monaghan bats the ball dead and the Dragons will finish the match with the ball, but cannot come away with a victory this afternoon.
80 min: Soward kicks for the winger once more this afternoon, but the ball will go over the deadball line and the Raiders will come away from Wollongong with a well-deserved two competition points.

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