Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
St. George Illawarra were too classy for a Broncos outfit who sorely missed the guidance of their skipper Darren Lockyer. Dragons winger Jason Nightingale scored a double to sink the Broncos chances. From early in the piece it looked as though the Dragons need only stick to their gameplan to take the two points, as the Broncos looked toothless in attack and not much better in defence.
The match had huge hype around it due to Wendell Sailors return, and the Dell lived up to the hype in the third minute with his first foray providing a penalty to the Dragons and a bit of pushing and shoving, and heated words between himself and Corey Parker. Nothing came of that though and it was Ben Hornby who scored the first try in the eighth minute, after a well aimed Jamie Soward grubber kick found the post and rebounded for Hornby to touch down.
Ben Creagh and Dean Young made great inroads in the next set to have Brisbane back pedalling and earned a penalty which Soward kicked to make the score 8-0. Successive penalties were then traded before Dean Young scooted from dummy half to score what looked a soft try beside the posts. Soward converted to leave the Broncos trailing 14-0 and looking like it was not going to be their night.
What followed were two almost identical kicks out on the full from the Dragons and with a penalty to the Broncos thrown in for good measure, it meant Brisbane had a great chance to score. That they did in the 27th minute with a nice offload by Corey Parker to Greg Eastwood who stepped twice at close range and planted the ball over the line, to bring the score back to 14-6 Dragons.
The Broncos then kicked out on the full to give the Dragons possession and it was brother to brother as Josh Morris stood in the tackle to offload to Brett, who showed his jet boots to race 50 metres to score wide out. That made the score 20-6 with nine minutes left in the half and that was the way the score stayed to half time.
To the disappointment of the crowd, it was announced that big Wendell had fractured his cheek bone and would not be returning to the field. Was it an elbow? There weren't too many replays of the incident so it is in the hands of the Match Review Committee.
The Broncos had their best chance in the first 15 minutes of the second half when they scored a fortuitous try through Tonie Carroll who did well to be in the right place as the ball bounced wickedly for the Dragons. That made the score 20-10 and the Dragons looked like they might be tiring. However that was not to be, and the Dragons held on and scored the match-winner through Jason Nightingale in the 61st minute after a Soward bomb from 40 metres out was tapped back to Josh Morris, who looped the ball over to Nightingale to score in the corner. Nightingale added another soon after and it was curtains for the Broncos.
So, a fourth win in succession for the Dragons and things are looking up for the red & whites. The Broncos will be glad to have their representative stars back next round, and one positive they should take from the match is that they cannot play much worse than they did tonight.
St George Illawarra Dragons (28)
Tries: Ben Hornby, Dean Young, Brett Morris, Jason Nightingale (2)
Goals: Jamie Soward (4/6)
Brisbane Broncos (10)
Tries: Greg Eastwood, Tonie Carroll
Goals: Michael Ennis (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Ben Creagh (Dragons) 2 Points: Ben Hornby (Dragons) 1 Point: Dean Young (Dragons)
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