Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
7 hours ago
St George Illawarra Dragons have defeated a lazy looking Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs side 26-6 in front of a sellout crowd at WIN Stadium. The match provided some fantastic highlights including a hat-trick to the Brett Morris who looked unstoppable for the Dragons. Each time he touched the ball, Morris looked promising and provided entertainment to the capacity crowd, including a pretend brawl with brother Josh that fooled everyone at the ground.
Canterbury were sluggish and looked as flat as they did in the first half last week against the Knights. Their players lacked intensity and there appeared to be little communication between the players. It took the Dragons just four minutes to cross over the line, and by 17th minute they were 16 points in front of the Bulldogs. Hope still loomed for the Bulldogs, who were down by the same deficit last week, but they weren't consistent enough to trouble a Dragons team in tremendous form.
Brett Kimmorley gave away an unnecessary penalty at the start of the second half, allowing Jamie Soward to add another 2 points to their total. Ben Barba provided some sparks when he entered the playing arena, scoring a great try under the posts to give the Bulldogs their first, and only points of the night. Their desire to win the game wasn't as noticeable as the Dragons, which was epitomised by a crunching hit made by Ben Creagh on Kimmorley who was looking to add more points for the Bulldogs. They lost possession, and the crowd knew that the Dragons were here to play, and here to win.
Emmett crossed the line in the 64th minute and finished off their scoring on the back of a Bulldogs knock on, giving Morris his third for the night.
Ill discipline, lost chances and unforced errors hurt the Bulldogs, which was compounded by the Dragons taking all of their chances and making the most of their possession, completing 34 of 39 sets. The Bulldogs only completed 23 of their 35.
The Dragons now are two from two, while the Bulldogs are yet to post their first win of 2010. Noted as title contenders for this season's premiership, Andrew Ryan and his team will need to sort out their lack of intensity if they are going to provide any resistance and truly be contenders in this competition. It is one thing to be rated 'favourites' by TAB, but it is another to be rated the same by the game's fans. We all know which one is more accurate.
Match Details St George Illawarra Dragons 26 defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 6 National Rugby League - NRL - Round 2 - Friday March 19, 2010 7:35pm Venue: WIN Stadium Referee: Tony Archer and Matt Cecchin Video Referee: Bill Harrigan Touch Judges: Adam Decvich and Paul Holland Crowd: 16177 Halftime: St George Illawarra Dragons 16 Canterbury Bulldogs 0
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Brett Morris (3 Tries)
2 Points - Ben Creagh
1 Point - Jamie Soward (2 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal)
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (26)
Tries: Dean Young, Brett Morris (3), Nick Emmett
Conversions: Jamie Soward (2/5)
Penalty Goals: Jamie Soward (1/1)
CANTERBURY BULLDOGS (6)
Tries: Ben Barba
Conversions: Bryson Goodwin (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
4 min: TRY
St George Illawarra Dragons 6-0
12 min: TRY
St George Illawarra Dragons 10-0
17 min: TRY
St George Illawarra Dragons 16-0
39 min: Goodwin is tackled over the sideline. This boils over into a brawl as Goodwin takes exception to the tackle as both sides confront one another. Penalty Dragons.
40 min: Dragons get us underway
41 min: Kimmorley kicks it comfortably to Boyd. Then hits Prior high forcing the referee to penalise the Bulldogs.
42 min: Soward kicks it dead. Bulldogs off the hook.
43 min: Fails to take a poor pass and loses it 40m out from his own line.
47 min: PENALTY GOAL
Kimmorley gives away another indiscretion! This time he leans on Weyman with his knees.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18-0
48 min: Jamie Soward drills the ball dead from halfway.
51 min: Goal line drop out to the Bulldogs.
54 min: TRY
Some good footwork there by Barba and the Dogs get their first of the night. Signs of a fightback?
St George Illawarra Dragons 18-6
58 min: Another penalty against Canterbury. St George get a piggyback up the field and looking promising again.
60 min: Soward puts in a kick which the Dogs fumble. Dragons regain just a few metres out with six to go. Looking promising here.
60 min: Dogs have completed 20 from 28 sets. The Dragons better again with 26 from 29.
62 min: ... and on that note, Canterbury hold off St George's advances and prevent the scoreline from blowing out further. The Dogs need to be the next to score but they are running out of time.
64 min: Checking a possible Dragons try with the video ref.
64 min: TRY
Some good work by the Dragons sees Emmett cross the line for the first time tonight. The Bulldogs have simply been too flat in defence, and are struggling to keep up with the momentum of the Dragons. I can't see the Dogs getting back from here now.
St George Illawarra Dragons 22-6
66 min: Luke Patten knocks on a Jamie Soward kick just 1 metre out from his line, but somehow, the referee has missed it and play goes on. Archer may have been thinking about what he was going to eat after the game.
66 min: And the same as Patten's, Morris knocks on but this time Archer sees it. The Dogs have a chance to get something back on the scoreboard but time is against them.
69 min: Fantastic work by Ben Creagh! He rushes out of the line at Kimmorley who is about to receive the ball and absolutely smashes him. Kimmorley knocks on and the Dogs lose possession. Fantastic work by the Dragons and virtually sealing any chance of a Dogs comeback. That has been the difference between the two teams here.
71 min: Turner loses the ball on his own 40. The Dragons are on the attack again. The Bulldogs just have no intensity, almost as if they don't want to be there.
72 min: Now Jon Green has committed a similar offence and lost the ball. Scrum to the Bulldogs who will need a minor miracle to get back from this deficit.
74 min: That epitomises the Dogs night. Another stupid penalty 20 metres out from the Dragons line. No discipline or intensity has allowed this Dragons outfit to take the game virtually uncontended at times.
75 min: Idris leaps to catch a ball from a Bulldogs kick but knocks it in. Scrum to the Dragons as the match starting to slow down now.
77 min: TRY
Poor decision by Steve Turner sees Brett Morris cut straight through the Dogs defence and cross for his third try of the night. He has been unstoppable on that side of the field and looks to be in tremendous shape.
St George Illawarra Dragons 26-6
80 min: Fulltime here at Wollongong, the Dragons finishing victorious 26-6. Their form at this point of the season has been tremendous, while the Dogs are looking no better than an Under 12's team playing on a Saturday. Not the close contest we all had hoped for, but some entertaining football in front of a supportive sellout crowd at WIN Stadium. On that note, this live updater is signing off. Be sure to check out the final match report on leagueunlimited.com, or why not discuss what you thought of the match at forums.leagueunlimited.com