Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
St George Illawarra 26 def. Brisbane Broncos 12
The St George Illawarra Dragons have defeated the Brisbane Broncos by 26-12 in front of a solid home crowd at Wollongong this afternoon.
The Dragons took the field with fullback Clint Greenshields back in reserve grade, allowing Hornby to slot into the custodian role. Mark Gasnier divided his time between five-eighth and centre pushing Trent Barrett to halfback, where he ran the show comfortably.
A penalty goal in the second minute to relief kicker Gasnier saw the home side take an early lead, but the Dragons began the game in an otherwise slow fashion, allowing the Broncos to post the first try to veteran Broncos prop Shane Webcke in the 6th minute. Both teams then settled in for a heavy battle in the forwards and it wasn?t until late in the half that the Dragons began to flex their muscles.
A good try to lock Andrew Price for the Dragons in the 32nd minute put the Broncos on notice before Ben Hornby posted the home side?s second just prior to the break, with Aaron Gorrell sliding both conversions between the posts.
But Brisbane returned from the sheds full of steam with winger Darius Boyd finding his way to the line in the 46th minute to trail by only two. But the Broncos didn?t trouble the scorers again, despite several near misses including a certain try bombed by Justin Hodges as a wayward pass to Darren Lockyer went begging.
The Dragons scored good tries to Gorrell in the 54th minute and Sam Isemonger, locking up the game for the Dragons when he found his way to the line with 10 minutes to spare.
It was a victory that was needed by St George Illawarra after yet another lethargic start to the season. They re-signed coach Nathan Brown during the week, and with speculation surrounding the futures of Mark Gasnier and Trent Barrett, today?s win was a timely boost for the club. They will head into next week?s clash against the Knights at WIN with added confidence.
The Broncos will be disappointed with the defeat as they had begun to build some steam in the competition with wins over Parramatta and Cronulla following their first week touch-up by the Cowboys. They host the Rabbitohs at home next week, presenting a good opportunity to return to the winners circle.
St George Illawarra Dragons: 26
Tries: Aaron Gorrell, Ben Hornby, Sam Isemonger, Andrew Price
Goals: Mark Gasnier 1/1, Aaron Gorrell 4/4
Brisbane Broncos: 12
Tries: Shane Webcke, Darius Boyd
Goals: Michael Ennis 2/2
Referee: Sean Hampstead
By the clock:
Windy Wollongong has put on a terrific day.
1 min: NEWS And we're underway in the first half!
2 min: PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons
The Dragons take an early lead through a penalty from the Broncos.
8 min: NEWS Both teams in for a real arm wrestle here with the forwards exchanging pleasantries in the early stages.
13 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
Webcke, the big Broncos prop, barges over the chalk to score a good try. Former Dragon Ennis converts and Brisbane take the lead.
24 min: NEWS The video referee denies the Dragons a try after a push in the back to Boyd allows Millard to scoop up the ball and race away close to the line.
32 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Young forward Andrew Price busts his way through the Broncos defences and levels things up down here at Win Stadium. Gorrell converts well and he puts the home side in front.
39 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Hornby, playing at fullback for the first time in a while, breaks through to score for the Dragons as they build on their lead. Gorrell converts and the Dragons head to the sheds in the lead.
40 min: NEWS Halftime: A rugged encounter down here at the 'Gong with plenty of bash and barge up the middle. The Dragons hold a good 8-point advantage as they cut the oranges, but the Broncos are sure to come out firing in the second stanza. Promises to be a great contest in the 2nd half.
41 min: NEWS Play restarts here in the second half!
46 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
Brisbane winger Boyd flies through for a try after a great backline movement. Ennis adds the extras and there's only 2 points in it again.
54 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Sneaky hooker Gorrell makes his way over the stripe to keep the Dragons in front. He converts and the lead is 8 points again.
70 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Good lead-up work by Barrett and Matt Bickerstaff sees Sam Isemonger storm through a gap and score what should be the match-winner. Gorrell convert and the Dragons lead by 14.
75 min: NEWS Crowd - 13,708
80 min: NEWS The Dragons record a good victory here in Wollongong against some a tough Brisbane outfit.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Aaron Gorrell (Dragons)
2 - Mark Gasnier (Dragons)
1 - Michael Ennis (Broncos)