Dragons Demolish Dusty Cowboys

Brett Morris's rich vein of try scoring form continued on Friday night, scoring two tries in the Dragons crushing 33 points to 8 defeat of the hapless North Queensland Cowboys at Win Stadium in Wollongong.

After going into half-time well behind in both games so far this season, being 15 down didn't seem like a great deficit for the Cowboys. The Dragons didn't play into the Cowboys pattern however, running away with it at the end of the second half to make the scoreline even worse for the visitors.

The Dragons will go into a huge match with reigning NRL Premiers Melbourne next Friday night on a huge roll, winning three from three to start the season, setting up a potential top of the table clash, should the Storm account for Penrith tomorrow evening.

The Dragons were clinical, turning back all opportunities the Cowboys were afforded in the first half and putting on some well executed tries themselves. At the break the Cowboys had made not a single line-break while the Dragons were breaking the line at will.

The Cowboys finally got a try in the 67th minute through Ashley Graham but any hope of a fairytale finish dwindled when on the back of a drop ball Matt Prior put Morris over for his second of the night.

Off the next set of six the Dragons blew the score out even further, with a break down field set up by LeagueUnlimited Player of the Match Ben Hornby, finished off by Jason Nightingale with some clever work by Dean Young.

Johnathan Thurston played very well in a thoroughly outclassed side and now the Cowboys will hope to break their season duck next weekend at home against fellow Queenslanders, the Gold Coast Titans.

Strangely, Jamie Soward bounced the simplest conversion of the night off the upright after the siren, but the Dragons had thoroughly outplayed the Cowboys all night and that just served as a friendly reminder that they are human after all.

Match Details
St George Illawarra Dragons 33 defeated North Queensland Cowboys 8
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 3 - Friday March 26, 2010 8:35pm
Venue: WIN Stadium
Referee: Jared Maxwell and Gerard Sutton
Video Referee: Paul Simpkins
Touch Judges: David Abood and Gavin Morris
Crowd: 13267
Halftime: St George Illawarra Dragons 17 North Queensland Cowboys 2

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:

3 Points - Ben Hornby

2 Points - Jamie Soward (4 Conversions, 1 Field Goal)

1 Point - Johnathan Thurston (1 Conversion, 1 Penalty Goal)

St George Illawarra Dragons (33)
Tries: Matt Cooper, Ben Creagh, Brett Morris (2), Jason Nightingale (2)
Field Goals: Jamie Soward (1/1)
Conversions: Jamie Soward (4/5)

North Queensland Cowboys (8)
Tries: Ashley Graham
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Johnathan Thurston (1/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary 3 min: PENALTY GOAL
PENALTY GOAL North Queensland Cowboys
Penalty goal attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.
North Queensland Cowboys 2-0

7 min: TRY
TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Scored by Brett Morris. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 4-2

15 min: TRY
TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Scored by Matt Cooper. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 10-2

28 min: Jeremy Smith kicks ahead for himself, but the ball has too much on it, and it heads over the dead ball line.

From the restart, the Cowboys lose the ball early in the set.

28 min: Some beautiful passing ends up in Matt Cooper's hands, but he is dragged down just 8m short of the try line.

29 min: TRY
TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Scored by Jason Nightingale. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 16-2

35 min: The Cowboys get a penalty right in front of the posts, but instead of kicking for goal, Anthony Watts takes a quick tap and scores!!... or, he would have if the ref hadn't wanted it played from the right spot.

The resulting set is wasted. A golden opportunity for the Cowboys goes begging.

39 min: FIELD GOAL
Jamie Soward kicks a field goal right on half time - increasing the Dragons' lead heading into the break.
St George Illawarra Dragons 17-2

40 min: And both teams leave the field straight after that field goal. Brett Morris will be taking a well earned drink, having run for over 160m and 2 line breaks already. The playmakers Thurston and Soward have again had a hand in everything. The Dragons are on top but have had all the momentum and in light of this seasons trends one would be remiss to write off the Cowboys so far. Should be an exciting second half.

40 min: Players running back out for the second half. Can the Cowboys come back like they have in the past two weeks?

41 min: Cowboys penalty straight after half time, giving them good field position. Thurston's kick takes them to the Dragons' 40 metre line.

46 min: TRY
TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Scored by Ben Creagh. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 23-2

49 min: The Dragons are looking clinical here. The Cowboys are going to need some spark soon or this could end up embarrasing.

54 min: Just as they were building something the Cowboys attack comes apart with a forward pass on the last. Nothing going right for North Queensland at the moment.

58 min: Anthony Watts grubber forces Jamie Soward to play it dead. The Cowboys get a repeat set. Dragons not happy as they feel it went dead with no assistance from Soward.

60 min: Thurston is really putting everything out there, with the possible exception of Willie Mason, nobody seems interested in helping him out.

63 min: Ty Williams struggling with a leg injury. Looks like a real concern for the Cowboys while Dragons attack. As I type the Dragons allow them a reprieve with a knock on around halfway.

67 min: TRY Northern Storm
Ashley Graham scores after a mountain of possession. It had to happen eventually. Thurston converts from out wide. Dragons 23 lead the Cowboys 8. 13 left on the clock.
St George Illawarra Dragons 23-8

68 min: Ty Williams off with a sprained ankle. Cowboys to play last twelve with no interchange players.

69 min: Cowboys heavily on attack and just when they looked certain to score, Carl Webb puts down a Luke O'Donnell offload, killing any momentum.

72 min: Penalty to the Cowboys from right in front. Quick tap taken.

73 min: Rovelli pokes it into the ingoal on tackle three, Soward cleans up; grounding the ball. Line drop-out to come.

74 min: O'Donnell called held a split second before he makes an offload. Referee orders a scrum to pack down. Dragons feed.

76 min: TRY
Anthony Watts drops the ball on Cowboys 30 metre line. Matt Prior picks it up and takes off towards the tryline, shoving away John Williams before unloading the ball to Brett Morris on his outside to score. Yet another try to Brett Morris, not many will be that easy. Conversion successful for Soward.
St George Illawarra Dragons 29-8

80 min: TRY
Nightingale scores after good lead up work from Ben Hornby, putting Dean Young into space with a good inside ball. Young runs 40 metres before handing it off to Nightingale to ice the game, under the posts. Soward's kick from right in front is bounced off the upright and waved away amazingly.
St George Illawarra Dragons 33-8

80 min: Final score St George Illawarra Dragons 33 defeat the North Queensland Cowboys 8. The Dragons executed to perfection.

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