Dragons fire up to slay Knights

The St George Illawarra Dragons have slayed the Newcastle Knights at a rain soaked WIN Stadium today.

Following an embarrassing loss in Melbourne last weekend, the Dragons have bounced back to crush a hapless Knights outfit by 48-2.

The slaughter began in the opening minutes with a try to Shaun Timmins. Mark Gasnier crossed soon after and in the 27th minute, Nathan Blacklock [pictured] celebrated his 28th birthday with his first NRL try for 2004.

Winger Reece Simmonds scored on the stroke of half time to see Saints holding a commanding 20-2 lead at the break.

The second half saw Saints lose their way for the first 15 minutes, handing over possession on numerous occasions. But the Dragons were punishing the Knights with some solid defence and it was only a matter of time before the floodgates would open.

A try to Mark Riddell in the 58th minute saw the momentum swing back to Dragons. Riddell scored again just six minutes later as the Knights capitulated.

Saints continued to carve up the Knights scoring 28 points in 22 minutes with Simmonds, Lance Thompson and Trent Barrett also getting four-pointers.

WIN Stadium, Crowd: 9,362 Referee: Sean Hampstead Video Referee: Graeme West Touch Judges: Pat Reynolds, Allen Foster

Scorers: DRAGONS 48 Tries: Riddell 2, Simmonds 2, Timmins, Gasnier, Blacklock, Thompson, Barrett Goals: Riddell 5/6, Head 2/3 defeated KNIGHTS 2 Tries: Goals: Abraham 1/1

By the clock: 0 min: Both sides making their way onto the park. Overcast conditions and plenty of rain about earlier on. Kickoff!

4 min: Trent Barrett (Dragons) kicks a 40/20 and the Dragons are on the attack!

5 min: TRY - Dragons. Shaun Timmins scores out wide. Barrett setting up play. Conversion attempt Mark Riddell unsuccessful. Dragons 4-0

14 min: NEWS - Mark Riddell (Dragons) forced from the field.

15 min: PENALTY GOAL - Knights. Daniel Abraham. Dragons 4-2

17 min: TRY - Dragons. Mark Gasnier strolls over to score. Timmins heavily involved. Mathew Head conversion from sideline is a ripper. Dragons 10-2

27 min: TRY - Dragons. Nathan Blacklock scores after the Knights fullback and debutante Michael Young is unable to touch down. Blacklock scores on his birthday and his first try for 2004. Another tremendous conversion from Head. Dragons 16-2

30 min: NEWS - Matt Parsons (Knights) forced from the field in a groggy state followng an altercation with Lance Thompson (Dragons). Mark Riddell (Dragons) appears to be back on the field.

35 min: Great kick from Danny Buderus (Knights) into Saints' in-goal and fullback Ben Hornby (Dragons) knocks on to force a line drop out and put the Knights on the attack. Dragons defence holds firm in the next set.

38 min: NEWS - with 90 seconds to go in the first half, the Dragons get their first penalty of the match. The Knights gettting the previous half-dozen.

40 min: TRY - Dragons. Reece Simmonds falls on the ball following a grubber into the in-goal. Numerous Saints players on hand to score. Conversion 7m in from touch is unsuccessful. Dragons 20-2

HALF TIME: Dragons playing smarter and harder with some solid defence unsettling the Knights. Shaun Timmins and Luke Bailey are stand outs. A very good kicking game from the Dragons as well with halves Head and Barrett in charge. The Knights have had plenty of ball and are enjoying a 5-1 advantage in the penalty count but are unable to make any serious impressions on the Dragons line. Danny Buderus playing well for the visitors. All uphill for the Knights and St George are putting on something special today. But footy is a funny game and the Dragons are noted for their inconsistency.

Second half underway...

42 min: NEWS - Knights win a scrum against the feed. Fullback Reece Simmonds eventually defusing the last tackle option. Saints then kick out on the full and seem to be inviting the Knights back into the match.

50 min: NEWS - Dragons still giving away penalties and handing over possession, but defending well enough to hold the Knights out.

55 min: NEWS - Same story. Dragons playing well but unable to hang onto the ball. Knights on the attack again. Dragons caught in the in-goal and Newcastle will get another repeat set of six.

58 min: TRY - Dragons. Mark Riddell, coming off the bench, barges over to score a trademark try. Conversion Riddell. Dragons 26-2

64 min: TRY - Dragons. Riddell dummies and scores a double. Follows an earlier movement when Blacklock was held up over the line. Dragons carving them up now. Conversion Riddell. Dragons 32-2

69 min: TRY - Dragons. A speedy Reece Simmonds wins the race for the ball following a kick through. Conversion Riddell unsuccessful. Dragons 36-2

73 min: TRY - Dragons. Lance Thompson charges through beating four defenders to score under the posts. Conversion Riddell. Dragons killing them, 42-2

75 min: TRY - Dragons. Barrett scores under the black dot as it turns into a game of touch footy. Shaun Timmins punching up the middle of the ruck; Barrett in support. Riddell converts. The firey Dragon showing no mercy to the beaten Knight. Dragons 48-2

FULL TIME The scoreline tells the tale with St George slaughtering Newcastle today in Wollongong.

Stats: Penalties: Knights 8-4 Completions: Dragons 32-27 Hit ups: Dragons 44-41 Tackles: Dragons 271-266 Line breaks: Dragons 6-0 Missed tackles: Knights 28-12 Offloads: Dragons 6-3 Errors Dragons 16-14 Score: Dragons 48-2

----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - S Timmins (Dragons) 2 - L Bailey (Dragons) 1 - L Thompson (Dragons) -----------------------------------------