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St George Illawarra Dragons 22 v New Zealand Warriors 16
at WIN Stadium
Referee: Gavin Badger
Today's NRL clash will be a day to remember for St George Illawarra Dragons forward Danny Wicks, the rookie scoring a try on debut and helping his side to defeat the New Zealand Warriors 22-16 in Wollongong this afternoon.
Hailing from Grafton NSW, the 20-year-old second rower put his side in front when he crashed over in the 28th minute. A member of the 2005 Dragons Jersey Flegg premiership-winning side, Wicks was called up into the NRL following injuries and a suspension which saw no less than eight players sidelined.
Fielding close to a full strength side, the Warriors got off to a flying start with front rower and skipper Steve Price scoring after just five minutes. The visitors extended their lead to 8-0 following a Tony Martin penalty goal in the 13th minute.
But the Dragons struck back with captain and five-eighth Trent Barrett reclaiming some lost form to score a dashing try after 15 minutes of play. Wicks crashed over 13 minutes later. Running onto a pass from close range, Wicks attracted a number of defenders to force his way over the line before slamming the ball down.
Not to be outdone, the Warriors responded with a try to Simon Mannering, the centre scoring in the corner after coming under video scrutiny for an arm which neared the touchline. Mannering was given benefit of the doubt by the video referee and at half time, the scores were locked up at 12-all.
Dragons fullback Clint Greenshields scored the first of his two tries in the 44th minute after Barrett set up play wide of the ruck. Chiming into the backline, Greenshields was in again four minutes later - replays showing he may have put a foot on the touchline. The try was awarded to extend the lead to 20-12, and the Dragons appeared to be well in charge.
But with play going from end-to-end, Warriors fullback Brent Webb showed tremendous strength to score in the 64th minute, getting his side within four points and finishing on strong terms.
The Warriors however, were unable to crack the Saints line again; Dragons hooker Aaron Gorrell kicking a penalty goal in the 79th minute to see the home side come away with a much needed win.
St George Illawarra Dragons: 22
Tries: Trent Barrett, Clint Greenshields(2), Danny Wicks
Goals: Aaron Gorrell 3/5
New Zealand Warriors: 16
Tries: Simon Mannering, Steve Price, Brent Webb
Goals: Tony Martin 2/4
By the Clock:
A fine day in Wollongong. About 19?C, East, North East breeze.
Dragons: Centre Mark Gasnier out. Darryl Millard in.
Utilities Ben Hornby and Ben Creagh are in after backing up from the City v Country match.
Warriors: Winger Todd Byrne is out, Manu Vatuvei is in.
Dragons will be kicking off.
Players on the field... kick off!
5 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Steve Price takes a short ball and crashes over next to the posts. Warriors applying the early pressure following a Dragons handling error in their own half, then a repeat set following a grubber into the in-goal.
Tony Martin converts.
13 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand Warriors
Martin kicks a penalty goal from right in front after the ref rules the ball was stripped by the Dragons.
15 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Trent Barrett throws a dummy from 40m out and runs through a gap, out-pacing the second line of defence to score.
Aaron Gorrell converts from almost in front
25 min: NEWS Dragons survive a period of sustained pressure. Plenty of opportunities for the Warriors as penalties go their way by 4-0 and tremendous break downfield from fullback Brent Webb. Saints survive after Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei fumbles on the last tackle.
28 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Debutante forward Danny Wicks scores in good position, using his bulk to crash over. Follows two penalties to the Dragons who are able to convert the field position into points and take the lead.
31 min: NEWS Penalties 5-2 in favour of the Warriors. Warriors on the attack and put on a good move close to the line but Webb is unable to hold onto the ball.
Scrum: Warriors win against the feed!
32 min: Possible Warriors TRY - video ref looking....
BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT given to the try scorer.
32 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Simon Mannering gets the nod from the video ref who rules that he probably got the ball down before being force onto the touchline.
Martin from wide out is unable to convert.
39 min: NEWS Warriors hang on as the Dragons come close to scoring following a 70m break from Matt Cooper.
Half time: 12 all.
End-to-end footy and a close tussle up front. Entertaining wide of the ruck with both teams showing off their strike power in the backlines.
For the Warriors, Steve Price is leading from the front and supported well with Brent Webb the best of the backs. A better kicking game from the halves and the Warriors could well be in front.
The Dragons have come back well after being down 8-nil and on the wrong end of a penalty count. The young forwards and working well with the more seasoned players with debutante Danny Wicks reaping the benefits. Some neat inside plays are putting their opposites on the back foot at times and Trent Barrett exploited this well in scoring Saints first try.
At this stage the Dragons look to have the mobility up front to go on with it, but there's plenty left in this match and too early to call either way.
Second half underway...
41 min: NEWS Stoppage with Tony Martin for the Warriors down injured. Looks like he might have broken his nose after a head clash, and he comes from the field. Clinton Toopi comes on.
44 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Fullback Clint Greenshields scores after receiving a well timed pass from Barrett from close range. Follows a soft penalty against Price for a high tackle.
Gorrell wide conversion attempt hits the uprights and bounces away.
47 min: NEWS Dragons centre Matt Cooper leaves the field with an injury, possible hamstring.
48 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Greenshields gets a double in the corner. Question mark over whether or not he put a foot on the touchline. Barrett, Morris and Greenshields all instrumental in the lead up to the try.
Gorrell unsuccessful with wide conversion attempt.
51 min: NEWS Dragons come within a whisker of scoring after a Hornby grubber kick. Vatuvei again fumbling, this time behind his own line.
54 min: Possible Warriors TRY - video ref checking....
NO TRY - ball not grounded. A 20m restart to the Dragons.
57 min: NEWS Martin is back on for the Warriors and Toopi is taken off, only to come back on after Vatuvei limps off the field.
61 min: NEWS Penalties now favour Dragons 6-5 and they are now enjoying a bulk of the possession at around 70%.
64 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Brent Webb finishes tremendously out wide and is ruled to get the ball down in the corner. Follows repeat sets to the Warriors after a Dragons handling error in their own half.
Martin conversion unsuccessful.
70 min: NEWS Saints still four points in front with 10 minutes to go. Warriors appear to be finishing the stronger.
75 min: NEWS Still 20-16 to the Dragons. Warriors making plenty of yards up the middle of the ruck but the Dragons are hanging on.
76 min: FIGHT - tempers boilover. Sione Faumuina took off after Dean Young after taking exception to heavy tackle. A number of players join in. All done... no dramas... play on
79 min: PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons
Gorrell kicks a penalty goal after a Warriors player is laying in the play-the-ball area.
79 min: NEWS Warriors attempt short kick off but don't make the 10m required. Dragons penalty is that's the ball game.
Full time: Dragons win 22-16.
An exciting finish where the winner couldn't be declared until the final minute of play.
With plenty of players sidelined, the Dragons will be relived to come away with the two points against a near full strength Warriors.
A good start to the Warriors but they were unable to contain the Dragons at crucial times, and let themselves down at times with some handling errors.
Possession pretty even in the end, just favouring the Dragons at 52%. Completions show the Dragons hanging onto the ball more consistently than the Warriors, although part of this was due the Warriors style with numerous offloads working in their favour. Penalties ended up favouring Saints 10-5, after the Warriors got the first four - the home side getting 10 of the next 11 penalties.
Our man of the match is fullback Clint Greenshields who defended well, backed up all afternoon, and was lethal in attack. Trent Barrett returned to form and was instrumental in scoring a try and setting up play. Meanwhile front rower Steve Price was the best of the rest in a losing side.
The Dragons get a bye next week, while the Warriors have an opportunity to bounce back when they take on Wests Tigers at Ericsson Stadium next Saturday.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Clint Greenshields (Dragons)
2 - Trent Barrett (Dragons)
1 - Steve Price (Warriors)