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The Dragons stood strong against a determined Warriors outfit this afternoon, claiming a 29-4 win at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, proving their maturity today in a stunning performance despite a drab second-half.
It didn't take long for the Dragons to break through and after a mere 4 minutes they had the opening score. Jamie Soward's boot proved to be a rapier as he continually irritated the Warriors with his kicking and a kick for Kevin Locke resulted in Brett Morris scoring the first of his two tries.
Surprisingly, the Warriors hit back almost immediately with a try to Joel Moon who linked wonderfully with his forwards. Steve Price proved to be the architect with a nicely-timed offload.
At 4-all with nearly a quarter of the match gone, the Dragons made their intentions clear. It didn't matter how they did it, but they were going to get points on the board. Soward again used his boot to hurt the Warriors with a penalty goal and a 6-4 lead.
More interplay between the forwards and backs set up Chase Stanley for a run into the corner and a solid 18-4 lead heading into half-time.
The Warriors came out hungry in the second-half, but the Dragons showed immense composure to shut them down. Darius Boyd proved to be of immense worth on several occasions, performing some wonderful tackles, supporting his halves well and positioning himself perfectly for many aerial raids.
After all of the possession the Warriors had in the opening 15 minutes of the second-half their hearts and heads finally sunk as a poor kick 1 metre out from the St George line was plucked by Jamie Soward and he motored away to score for a 22-4 lead.
The final quarter seemed eternal as both sides kept running it back with limited imagination. Jamie Soward broke the deadlock on 76 minutes with a field-goal and then used his boot in the most creative way possible. Soward chipped for himself and found Darius Boyd in support for a well-deserved try and a well-deserved 29-4 win in New Zealand.
Match Details St George Illawarra Dragons 29 def New Zealand Warriors 4 Round 20 - Sunday July 26th, 2009 02:00pm Venue: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland Referee: Gavin Badger & Ashley Klein Touch Judges: Steve Chiddy & Gavin Morris Video Referee: Paul Simpkins Crowd: 13,507 Halftime: Warriors 4 Dragons 18
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Talk about the game as it happens - Warriors v Dragons forum discussion - click here!
Welcome to a sunny Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. It's the Warriors hosting the Dragons. We've already had two upsets this round with the Panthers outlasting the Cowboys last night and the Eels trumping the Bulldogs. Is there another upset on the cards here? We'll bring you all the action just shortly.
WARRIORS: 1. Wade McKinnon 2. Kevin Locke 14. Patrick Ah Van 4. Joel Moon 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Isaac John 7. Stacey Jones 8. Sam Rapira 9. Ian Henderson 10. Steve Price (c) 11. Simon Mannering 12. Ben Matulino 13. Micheal Luck (vc) Interchange: 16. Lance Hohaia 17. Jacob Lillyman 18. Russell Packer 19. Jesse Royal DRAGONS: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Brett Morris 3. Beau Scott 19. Chase Stanley 5. Wendell Sailor 6. Jamie Soward 7. Ben Hornby (c) 8. Justin Poore 11. Dean Young 10. Michael Weyman 14. Dan Hunt 12. Ben Creagh 13. Neville Costigan Interchange: 9. Nathan Fien 17. Jarrod Saffy 20. Nick Emmett 21. Jon Green
1 min: Kick-off and the Dragons will be running with the Sun behind them! As Costigan takes it up.
3 min: Matulino is driven back as the Warriors make it up to the 30. Jones chips into some space as Sailor takes it calmly and feeds it in-field. To Stanley who's taken down beautifully.
4 min: Last tackle for St George on the attack. Soward aims for Locke's wing and it's contested by the Dragons! It's on the deck and Morris swoops on it! He dives over! But we'll go upstairs.
4 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Great start for the Dragons after a lovely kick from Soward. The Dragons will take an early lead. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 4-0
5 min: Chase Stanley loses the ball in his own half. Poor play-the-ball there and the Warriors have a great opportunity, 10 metres inside the St George half.
6 min: Stanley hammers John who tries to offload. 3rd tackle, 28 metres out as Price hits it up. It's offloaded to Mannering and he cracks the pace on! He needs to feed it inside! He finds Moon and Moon will go in! We'll go upstairs again.
8 min: Rapira takes it up to the 20 metre line on the first. Great run. McKinnon tries to swat Scott away from him. They take it up to the halfway line and Jones kicks mid-field to try and catch Sailor out of position. Sailor lets it bounce in front of his goalposts but he takes it. Great set from the Warriors as the Dragons ruck it out.
10 min: Henderson finds Jones who in turn finds Price. Jones kicks on the last 38 metres out. Great kicking early on from Jones as it pops up short of Morris but he takes it well.
12 min: Soward kicks on the last just outside his 40 and it finds the touchline. The Warriors will feed the scrum around their 20.
14 min: The Warriors move it wide and Matulino loses it on the last inside his own half.
15 min: Hornby uses Boyd and he's smacked hard by Mannering. Soward grubbers and it sits up well. McKinnon gets tackled in his in-goal and the Warriors will kick a drop-out.
16 min: Poore takes it up and almost breaks through! He gets his team a penalty though so his run wasn't in vain. Rapira is penalised for holding on and the Dragons will take a shot at goal to take the lead back.
17 min: PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons Soward takes advantage of his opportunity and nails an easy kick over to give the Dragons the lead once more. St George Illawarra Dragons 6-4
18 min: Hornby chips 5 metres inside the Warriors half and it finds Vatuvei who runs it back.
19 min: Last tackle here for the Warriors inside the St George half. John kicks and Soward takes it but slips over! He flicks it out to the Boyd! Who tries to get outside but finds a man in Sailor on the burst. Helter Skelter there from the Dragons!
20 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Stanley finds some space as he knocks Locke away! Costigan's in support! Does he have the pace? No! But Morris does! In he goes for his second right under the bar! Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 12-4
21 min: Soward kicks on the last, trying to pin McKinnon down in his in-goal. It goes dead though and the Warriors will tap on their 20.
23 min: Jones kicks on the last and tries to get it to come off the posts but it goes dead as Sailor watches. The Dragons will have a tap on their 20.
24 min: The Dragons lose it inside their own half from the tap after Fien throws an awful pass. Chance here for the Warriors.
26 min: Warriors on the attack. Henderson gets his team a penalty 4 metres out but they lose it on the ensuing play!
27 min: Another penalty here this time to the Dragons. Off-side here against the Warriors.
28 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Creagh runs it up straight and offloads to Stanley who bursts away! In he goes for the corner! Beautiful interplay from the forwards and the backs! Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 18-4
30 min: Fien kicks from outside his 40 metre line from dummy-half and it goes out just short of the Warriors' 20 metre line. We'll have a scrum to the Warriors.
31 min: Hohaia tries to feed it out wide to Royal but it's lost again on the halfway line. They're probably trying a little too much at the moment, the Warriors. That's another opportunity presented for the Dragons.
32 min: Morris finds space and he feeds it inside just short of the line! But it's gone forward! The Warriors will get off the hook here and we'll have another scrum.
33 min: Moon kicks ahead in space 40 metres out. Down it goes to Boyd and he loses it 10 metres out from his own line! How quickly the tide can turn as the Warriors will have a scrum on the St George 10 metre line.
34 min: Last tackle here for the Warriors who are going on a treadmill. Jones kicks across field and a chaser has been taken out! Penalty to the Warriors.
36 min: Hohaia finds his skipper and Luck tries to go over but he's held up wonderfully by Boyd! The Warriors kick on the last and earn a drop-out but more importantly their 3rd consecutive set near the St George goal-line.
38 min: Another penalty to the Warriors this time for stripping. They need to break through here but St George look fantastic in defense. It all comes to an end though as Moon loses the ball.
39 min: Soward kicks and tries to find a 40/20 but it comes up short. Not long till half-time as the Warriors pack another scrum.
40 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons Moon loses it once more and the Dragons will have the ball just inside their own half. Fien feeds Hornby just short of halfway. Here comes a speculative drop-goal attempt from Soward! It's short and the Warriors take the tackle to end the first-half. St George Illawarra Dragons 18-4
Half-time here in Auckland. Dragons 18 are leading the Warriors 4. Fantastic defense from the Dragons as the Warriors looked for a late surge in the first-half. We'll be back with all the second-half action in a few minutes.
The lights are now on as the sun is setting in Auckland. The Warriors will have first use of the footy in the second half.
41 min: John breaks away! He finds Jones who feeds his fullback in McKinnon! Wonderful save from Boyd again! His defense has been outstanding! The Warriors take it deep into the St George half! It's kicked high by Jones and bounces around on the deck! Who can handle it? The Warriors will have a scrum.
43 min: Boyd collects a beautiful kick. Costigan then loses the ball in the tackle with attention from Jones.
46 min: Short ball from Hohaia to Luck but it's gone forward.
47 min: Boyd dummies, turns it inside to Stanley who swats Lillyman off on the first bite but not the second. The Dragons work it over the halfway line and it's nearly intercepted by Ah Van but he's lost it.
48 min: Now Saffy loses the ball trying to offload! Lots of fumbling passes out here as the Warriors will have another scrum.
49 min: Last tackle here for the Warriors. Jones kicks on the last just short of the halfway line, trying to catch Sailor out of position. He takes it on his fingertips and then waves to the Southern Grandstand! Hey there Wendell! Costigan then loses it as a cheer comes from the Auckland crowd.
50 min: McKinnon gets tackled over the touch-line but Henderson argues that he was called held by the referee. We'll have a scrum to the Dragons though despite the frustration.
51 min: Soward kicks it on the last and McKinnon has no choice but to knock it dead.
53 min: The Dragons go wide through their back-line. Sailor has an easy run in but it's gone forward!
54 min: Penalty to the Warriors after Poore is ruled for putting the man in a dangerous position in a tackle.
55 min: Henderson goes from dummy-half and finds Lillyman. Forwards link up with backs again as McKinnon tries to break some tackles. Jones kicks it up very high and who else is going to be back there but Boyd? He's played wonderfully and he takes it easily.
57 min: The Dragons lose it inside their half. The Warriors will have another great opportunity here and they really need to make it count. Mannering feeds Jones who feeds Luck. McKinnon tries to get a pass away but he's held in the tackle. Henderson kicks ahead but it goes dead.
59 min: Morris takes a run after being quiet for a while. Weyman loses it just inside the New Zealand half.
60 min: Luck takes it up and feeds Rapira. Last tackle, 20 metres out as John kicks high once more, trying to catch Boyd out of position but he takes it easily and beats a few tackles in front of his goal-line.
62 min: Locke almost breaks through but Stanley does very well to take him down. Price to Jones, Jones to Rapira. Costigan makes some tackles and the penalty is given away by Soward for a high tackle.
63 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Jones passes to Lillyman. St George's defense looks firm. The Warriors are all standing flat. McKinnon finds John who finds Mannering. It's grubbered ahead by Henderson and Soward grabs it just short of his goal-line. He builds up a head of steam and breaks away! Look at the little guy go! John and McKinnon can't catch him and he's scored a 99-metre try! Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 22-4
64 min: Young loses the ball after Price makes a great tackle. 28 metres out for the Warriors. John takes a run and the young five-eighth gets it up to nearly the 20 metre line. Ah Van takes a pass from McKinnon and he finds a bit of space then loses the ball.
65 min: Toyota Cup score: Warriors 26 defeated Dragons 6. Soward kicks on the last after attention from Price for a 40/20 attempt. Vatuvei takes it but his foot is out! The Dragons will get the scrum feed!
66 min: Creagh loses the ball after some great tackling and the Warriors will get off the hook once more.
67 min: Weyman takes it up as the Dragons work it out of their own half. Soward kicks from about 35 metres out. His kick has ricocheted off another Dragons player and the Warriors have it.
69 min: Price takes it forward for his side. Rapira then takes a run. Jones kicks it towards Boyd and he'll play it 10 metres out from his own line.
70 min: Soward kicks 10 metres short of the halfway line towards McKinnon who takes it easily.
71 min: Hohaia kicks into space. Soward takes it and feeds Sailor who puts on a bit of a step and is eventually taken down.
72 min: Jones takes down Creagh as Soward kicks it down towards Locke.
73 min: Moon kicks down the pitch and Boyd takes it easily. He goes for a bit of a run down the touch-line and there's a penalty against Locke.
74 min: The Dragons keep working it towards the the goal-line but lose it. Ah Van pounces on it and loses it but the Warriors will have the feed to the scrum.
75 min: Jones finds his five-eighth who falls over and then kicks ahead to Fien. He finds some space on the return! But he doesn't have the pace to get away.
76 min: FIELD GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons Soward feeds Green. Scott flicks it out the back and Sailor takes it. Here's another drop-goal attempt from Soward! It's over! St George Illawarra Dragons 23-4
78 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Soward notices some lazy tacklers and he chips ahead for himself! Wonderful kick and he's got Boyd with him! Deserved try for Boyd! Right under the posts. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 29-4
80 min: The full-time hooter goes and the Dragons have a fine win under their sleeves along with a 4-point lead at the top of the competition ladder.