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Local derby time at Toyota Stadium tonight as the visiting St George Illawarra Dragons handed the Cronulla Sharks their 9th defeat in a row by 26-4.
The game was by no means an easy feat for the Dragons as a massive defensive effort from the two sides kept the scoring very low in the first half, with the visitors just a narrow 4-0 lead at the break with an early try to Brett Morris the only scoring.
After the break the patience of the Dragons shone through and they played perfect football to set the scoring rolling with Brett Morris, the try scoring machine, scoring a hat-trick and Ben Hornby not far behind with 2 tries for the evening.
The Sharks certainly can hold their heads high after the horror week the club has had to endure, and the late try to winger Ferguson well deserved.
Jamie Soward weaving his magic at times was unstoppable in the second half, and in the end lead the side to an impressive win.
Match details: St George Illawarra Dragons 26 def Cronulla Sharks 4 Round 11 - Saturday May 23rd, 2009 5:30pm Venue: Toyota Stadium Referee: Jason Robinson & Tony De Las Heras Sideline Officials: Steve Carrall & Adam Reid Video Referee: Phil Cooley Crowd: 15,201 Half time: Dragons 4-0
Cronulla Sharks 4 Tries: Blake Ferguson Goals: Luke Covell (0/1) St George Illawarra Dragons 26 Tries: Brett Morris (3), Ben Hornby (2) Goals: Jamie Soward (3/5)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Dean Young (Dragons) 2 Points: Jamie Soward (Dragons) 1 Point: Brett Morris (Dragons)
Leagueunlimited.com Live Commentary:
Talk about the game as it happens - Sharks v Dragons forum discussion - click here!
SHARKS: 1. Bronx Goodwin 2. Blake Ferguson 3. Ben Pomeroy 4. Reece Williams 5. Luke Covell 6. Trent Barrett 7. Blake Green 8. Kade Snowden 21. Corey Hughes 10. Luke Douglas 11. Anthony Tupou 13. Paul Gallen. 16. Johnny Mannah. Interchange: 23 Nathan Stapleton. 17. Terence Seu Seu 14. Atelea Vea. 18. Grant Millington DRAGONS: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Brett Morris 3. Beau Scott 4. Matt Cooper 5. Wendell Sailor 6. Jamie Soward 7. Ben Hornby (c) 8. Justin Poore 9. Dean Young 10. Michael Weyman 11. Matt Prior 12. Ben Creagh 13. Neville Costigan Interchange: 14. Dan Hunt 15. Mickey Paea 16. Jason Nightingale 17. Mathew Head
After the horror week for the Sharks, I'm sure getting back to the game is something the club is looking forward to, as are their supporters.
No changes to the Dragons line-up in this local derby. Mannah starts for the Sharks with Stapleton to the bench.
1 min: Sharks kick off. Early mistake by Weyman hands possession to the home side 30 metres out from their line.
4 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons. The Dragon find easy metres down the field. Cooper scoops up the ball brilliantly to get it out to Morris who scores. Soward's conversion hits the upright. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 4-0
8 min: Early errors by both sides and the game has started the see-saw effect.
11 min: A definite sense of urgency in the Shark's side tonight. Good to see, as it sets things up nicely for a good game in front of a small but vocal crowd.
13 min: Back to back penalties for the Dragons and they're hot on attack. Great defence by the Sharks halts any charge.
15 min: The Sharks warned by De Las Heras regarding 2 penalties in a row against the Sharks.
19 min: Scratchy play by the two sides as possession changes hands before sets are complete.
20 min: LINE DROPOUT - Dragons. Nice kick in goal by Soward
22 min: Back to back sets and the Dragons look a little stilted on attack. A forward pass results in Sharks possession.
25 min: The Sharks looking good on attack but once again not finishing the set with a forward pass ruled. Completion rate for the Sharks 5/12, the Dragons 10/15.
28 min: First real attacking opportunity for the home side, a penalty bringing play up to 20 metres out from their line.
29 min: Awesome defence by the Dragons and there's no way thru. Soward takes play away from the danger zone.
33 min: Ferguson manages to get away from Sailor as well a couple of others, only to be absolutely nailed by Sailor who has a second go.
35 min: Dragons almost score with a Soward kick tapped back into the field of play by Sailor close to their line, only to be nabbed by a Sharks defender.
36 min: Penalties awarded - 4 apiece.
37 min: Sharks on the 5th tackle, close to their line, but the Barrett cross field kick is easily taken by Soward. Goodwin leaves the field with a serious ankle injury, replaced by Stapleton.
HALFTIME: The Dragons lead at the break by 4-0 in a sometimes scrappy game aided by some very good defence by both sides.
41 min: Hornby kicks off to get the second half underway.
44 min: Goodwin won't be returning for the Sharks. Steady start by them to the 2nd half.
49 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons. With not much doing, instant gas by Soward to break Tupou's tackle and Hornby is over under the posts. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 10-0
51 min: Accidental knee into Poore's back and played is stopped. Poore continues in the match.
52 min: Soward and Williams have a bit of a stoush over the sideline. Penalty to Dragons after about 5 minutes of negotiations.
55 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons. Resulting from the penalty. Quick hands and Morris is over out wide. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 16-0
58 min: Dragons 8/8 in completions for the second half.
59 min: Crowd figure 15,201
62 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons. Another good set by the Dragons, a chip kick by Soward, he regathers and flicks the ball out the back. Cooper scoops it up and fires it off to Morris who nails his hat-trick. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 20-0
64 min: Morris leaves the field, replaced by Nightingale.
65 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons. Great go forward by the Dragons once again as the Sharks defenders fall off tackles. Hornby crosses for his second of the night. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 26-0
69 min: Some bone rattling tackles put in by both sides as 110% effort is put in by the two teams.
73 min: Gallen and Paea have a bit of a battle. Paea not happy with something Gallen said. He decided against making an onfield complaint.
75 min: TRY Cronulla Sharks. Finally grim determination pays off for the Sharks following on from a penalty at halfway. Ferguson manages to get past Sailor out wide to score. The conversion hits the upright. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 26-4
78 min: NO TRY - Dragons. Sailor tries to return the favour on Ferguson out wide, but is held up by 3 defenders including Ferguson.
FULLTIME: The Dragons put the gas on in the second half with style as they left the Sharks in their dust to come out the victors by 26-4.