Dragons comprehensive in eliminating

Finals 2006 Week 2
St George Illawarra Dragons 28 v Manly Sea Eagles 0
at Aussie Stadium
Referee: Paul Simpkins
Crowd: 30,907

Match Summary:

The St George Illawarra Dragons have come out convincing 28-0 winners tonight, eliminating the Manly Sea Eagles whilst managing to keep them scoreless in front of 30,907 fans at Aussie Stadium.

The scoring opened in the 20th minute with a try to Dragons winger Brett Morris. This came after a physical opening section where both teams, particularly the victors, had attacking opportunities but failed to convert them. A penalty goal in the 26th minute after a blatant Steve Menzies foul gave the Dragons an 8-0 half time lead. A spate of video referee decisions before the break had many Dragons fans feeling robbed, one of which involved the man in the box adjudicating on a 40/20 kick.

The second half began the way the game itself ended - all the Dragons. A quick try after the break to Ben Hornby took the Dragons out to a 12-0 lead and they went on from there. Rookie Daryl Millard and his star centre partner Matt Cooper scored within minutes of each other to put the game beyond doubt. Man of the Match Brett Morris put in a sensational try within only minutes remaining, giving the Dragons a comfortable 28-0 victory.

The Dragons now have a clear and confident path to a preliminary final showdown with the Melbourne Storm, both teams now only one game from Grand Final glory. Manly will now look to 2007 without their best player Ben Kennedy.

St George Illawarra Dragons: 28
Tries: Matt Cooper, Ben Hornby, Daryl Millard, Brett Morris(2)
Goals: Aaron Gorrell 3/3, Wes Naiqama 1/1, Mathew Head 0/2
Manly Sea Eagles: 0

By the Clock:
Welcome to the second week of the finals... Tonight: 5th place Manly coming off a painful five-point loss will face the NRL's "best team on paper" - St George Illawarra, who are coming off a sensational victory over Brisbane. A few minor changes for St George Illawarra see Head join the bench, Creagh drop to the bench also, while Timmins goes into the starting lock position. Manly's changes see Steve Bell out and Paul Stephenson called up into the side.
Jersey Flegg saw a victory to the Dragons in extra time - 24-20 over Manly, in what many will be hoping is repeated in First Grade.
Premier League (Dragons v Canberra) score coming soon.
Kickoff in First Grade just 10 minutes away... it could possibly be delayed by major traffic snarls around Sydney.

The teams onto the Aussie Stadium arena... Sudden death finals football begins tonight! Kickoff just a minute away!

0 min: KICKOFF. We are underway at Aussie! First set to Manly.

2 min: PLAY UPDATE First Penalty of the game to Manly. They have the ball now just over the halfway line.

3 min: PLAY UPDATE Saints absorb the early pressure on the line and construct a brilliant set, the resulting kick pinning Manly deep in their own half.

4 min: PLAY UPDATE Manly lose the ball in their own half and now we see the Dragons on the attack.

9 min: PLAY UPDATE Saints go wide but Orford manages an intercept... which he drops. Neither side ends up with the goods, Dragons back with the ball in their own half.

11 min: PLAY UPDATE Sensational pressure from the Dragons is all absorbed by Manly, and halfback Orford, from a resulting 20 tap, tries the up-field kick tactic. Saint George are smart to the ploy and retain possession before the ball goes out. King (MAN) now penalised for a high tackle and Dragons on the attack.

13 min: PLAY UPDATE More pressure absorbed by Manly. Brilliant stuff in defence and now they'll work it away from their own 20. Scores remain 0-all.

15 min: PLAY UPDATE Manly on the attack for the first threatening time today. A fair bit of turnover in possession however, costs Manly any points.
INJURY Jason King (MAN) appears to have headed up the tunnel with an injury.

20 min: VIDEO REFEREE Decision pending - Possible Dragons try to winger Brett Morris...

TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Morris crosses out wide after some tricky work from his inside men to get the ball out wide where no Manly defence opposed him. Gorrell converts and the Dragons hold the lead.
Dragons 6-0

22 min: INJURY NEWS Jason King appears to be back out and available to play again after suffering ligament damage around 7 minutes ago.

26 min: PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons
St George-Illawarra with a penalty now as an offside play is called against Steve Menzies. Gorrell easily converts the penalty for an eight point lead.
Dragons 8-0

29 min: PLAY UPDATE Saints force a line dropout and another set of six as a result of trapping Brett Stewart in goal.

33 min: PLAY UPDATE Dubious call - a 40/20 ruled against by the video for going dead in-goal. A very contentious decision after the Dragons scrum had already been called. Manly drop the ball from the scrum and Saints go back on the attack anyway.

34 min: VIDEO REFEREE Decision pending... possible Dragons try to Brett Morris!
NO TRY. Morris is denied, the video ref citing an obstruction against Bickerstaff (STG), giving Manly a relieving penalty.

38 min: PLAY UPDATE Saints with the ball and two minutes remaining after a big hit from Menzies... then a niggle from Travis Burns. Looking set to go to the break with an eight-point buffer.

40 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons
Barrett misses a field goal attempt on the halftime siren.
Dragons 8-0

HALFTIME: St George Illawarra 8 Manly Warringah 0
The Dragons go into the break with plenty of confidence here at Aussie Stadium. Manly seemed to self-destruct in the back-end of the first half, while the Saints capitalised on every opportunity and were unlucky to miss out on a few extra points through some contentious decisions. Manly will be looking to simplify their footy in the second half and maintain possession, which they currently have only had 44% of compared to the Dragons 56%.

41 min: KICKOFF Second half underway. Mathew Head is on for the Dragons. Early penalty to Saints too for a Manly offisde call.

43 min: VIDEO REFEREE Decision pending... possible Dragons try to Ben Hornby!

TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Hornby gets the try after the video ref rules he didn't commit a double movement. Head from around 10m in from touch... misses the conversion. Saints now up by 12 points.
Dragons 12-0

50 min: PLAY UPDATE Dragons looking dominant so far this half, although Manly seem to be having success exploring the Dragons edge defence and have almost come up trumps a number of times now. Saints still lead by 12.

58 min: PLAY UPDATE Both teams playing some back and forward footy at the moment, nothing too special, but the physical intensity has lifted markedly. With each minute, Dally M Captain of the Year Ben Kennedy's career looks closer to ending tonight.

65 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Some wide ball work, and Dragons centre Daryl Millard is in and Manly's season is appearing to be over. Conversion from Head is unsuccessful.
Dragons 16-0

67 min: VIDEO REFEREE Decision pending... possible Dragons try to Matt Cooper!

TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
The Saints put Manly away with a try to Matt Cooper off an Ashton Sims kick. Naiqama takes his first shot of the night and gets it through. The Dragons are up 22-0 and with only 12 minutes remaining appear poised to face Melbourne at Telstra Stadium on Saturday.
Dragons 22-0

CROWD: 30,907 at Aussie Stadium

75 min: PLAY UPDATE The Dragons just wrapping up proceedings and Manly not truly threatening at all in this second half. Now playing for confidence the Saints, readying themselves for the Storm next Saturday.

77 min: VIDEO REFEREE Decision pending... possible try to the Dragons' winger Brett Morris.

TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
This comprehensive victory is capped by a double for Brett Morris, who has been absolutely on fire tonight. Gorrell converts, and 28-0 appears to be how we'll finish Manly's season here.
Dragons 28-0

FULLTIME. St George Illawarra Dragons 28 Manly Sea Eagles 0.

Manly held scoreless in a fantastic performance by the Dragons, and a sad goodbye for the great Ben Kennedy. The Dragons will now face off against the Storm next Saturday at the majestic Telstra Stadium. Plenty of players had blinders for the Saints, while Manly never really inspired.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Brett Morris (Dragons)
2 - Luke Bailey (Dragons)
1 - Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles)