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Dragons knocking on the Top 4
Fulltime score: Round 20 St George Illawarra Dragons 20 v Cronulla Sharks 10 Match summary: A record crowd since the redevelopment of Oki Jubilee Stadium of just over 17,000 were all treated to a great display of football by the St George Illawarra Dragons to defeat the Cronulla Sharks in the local derby this afternoon by 20-10.
With competition points so vital at this stage of the season, both sides were a little tentative to start with. Two tries to the Dragons in the first half had them 14-0 up at the break with both sides a little guilty of unforced errors.
The second half painted a different picture with the Dragons showing why they are definite top four contenders with an outstanding display of defence as the Sharks opened their game up, desperate for the win.
Two tries to the Sharks late in the game flattered the scoreline with the Dragons putting on a second half display that would please any supporter.
Dragons v Sharks match photos: Click here to see the photo gallery for this game
Scorers: ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 20 Tries: Bailey, Best, Cooper Goals: Naiqama 1/1, 1/1 PG. Ennis 2/2
CRONULLA SHARKS 10 Tries: Peachey, Simmons Goals: Merritt 1/3
Oki (Kogarah) Jubilee Stadium Referee: Tim Mander Crowd: 17,113 Halftime: 14-0 Dragons
Live commentary: Local derby time at Kogarah. A brilliant day for this afternoon's match in front of a sellout crowd.
Sullivan out for the Sharks with a hamstring injury, Kingston to replace him. Barrett returns from suspension to captain the Dragons.
0 min: Kick off!
5th min: NEWS - Solid sets by both sides to start the match
8th min: PENALTY GOAL - DRAGONS Kimmorley called up for offside close to the Dragons line. Naiqama has no trouble kicking the goal to get his side on the scoreboard. Dragons 2-0
12th min: NO TRY - SHARKS A knock on by Greenshields, the Dragons fullback, 20 metres out from his line allows the Sharks excellent field position. A good set and Mellars looks to have scored however obstruction is ruled as Kimmorley runs behind one of his own men. Dragons hold their lead 2-0
19th min: TRY - DRAGONS A 60 metre break by Gasnier taking the ball away from the Sharks line has the Dragons breathing down the necks of the Shark defenders. Close to the line and there's no chance of stopping Luke Bailey crossing the line to score. Naiqama converts. Dragons 8-0
25th min: NEWS - Back to back attacking sets by the Sharks has Kimmorley set to kick on the fifth tackle, but he's well wrapped up and the attack breaks down
32nd min: NEWS - Both sides guilty of breaking down the attack with unforced errors. The score remains 8-0 in the Dragon's favour
34th min: NEWS - Gasnier penalised for holding onto the leg on Vagana as Gasnier gets up to play the ball. Merritt misses the chance for the Sharks to get on the scoreboard. Dragons 8-0
37th min: TRY - DRAGONS Gasnier makes up for his last misdemeanour by attracting three defenders 30 metres out from the line to offload to Best who in out wide unopposed. Ennis kicks a corker from the sideline. Dragons 14-0
HALFTIME: A good lead to the Dragons at the break, however the score for both sides could've been a lot different if the silly errors in the first half were not there. Dragons lead 14-0
Second half underway..
44th min: NEWS - Vagana (Sharks) penalised for a high shot on Ryles allowing the Dragons an excellent scoring opportunity. A knock on in defence by the Sharks gives the Dragons a scrum 10 metres out from their line and midfield. Solid defence pops the ball out for the Sharks on the third tackle. No change to the half time score
52nd min: NO TRY - DRAGONS Once again the Dragons have the weight of possession on attack. 3 penalties and the Sharks defence scrambles to stop the home side from scoring right on their line. Gasnier looks to have scored but is pulled back for running behind his own man. Dragons hold onto their halftime lead, 14-0
55th min: TRY - DRAGONS Cooper running 60 metres scores and breaks the deadlock. Simmons (Sharks) gives Cooper a push rather than a tackle but Cooper carries on to score. Soft defence by the Sharks winger. Ennis has another tough kick, but nails it. Dragons 20-0
63rd min: NEWS - Outstanding scrambling defence by the Dragons stops a certain try for the Sharks dead in it's tracks with the fifth tackle a cruncher to force play over the sideline right by the corner flag
70th min: NEWS - The Sharks trying to open the game up and succeeding, but the bounce of the ball and the defence of the Dragons not allowing them any leeway at all. Score remains 20-0
73rd min: TRY - SHARKS A comedy of errors allows Peachey to play to the whistle to finally get the Sharks some points in the match. The ball right under the posts, looked to have come off a Sharks player however Mander calls 'play on' which Peachey does and scores. Merritt from out in front, converts. Dragons 20-6
77th min: NEWS - Play is stopped as Henderson (Dragons) in absolute agony, limps from the field aided by two trainers
78th min: NEWS - A few punches thrown in back play. Ryles (Dragons) is penalised as the instigator and the crowd comes alive
79th min: TRY - SHARKS A fired up Sharks outfit make full use of the penalty and charge forward courtesy of Nutley and Leuluai with Galloway who was involved in the fight, running the decoy. Quick hands and Simmons is over out wide, much to the displeasure of the crowd. Merritt misses a tough conversion. Dragons 20-10
FULL TIME: A top class second half performance by the Dragons never had them in danger of losing the match. Final score 20-10 to the Dragons
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Gasnier(Dragons) 2 - L Bailey(Dragons) 1 - J Ryles(Dragons) -----------------------------------------