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The St George Illawarra Dragons have re-joined the ladder leaders with a 34-16 victory over a depleted Brisbane Broncos side in front of over 15,000 fans in Wollongong tonight.
With the result a foregone conclusion for many pundits, the Dragons had to ensure they weren't complacent against a Broncos side with little experience but plenty of enthusiasm. Both sides started well, tries to Beau Scott for the Dragons and Dale Copley for Brisbane starting the game out at 6-all early.
Scores remained level through most of the first half, with Brisbane holding their own in defence and some promising attack, but ultimately it was the Dragons who would take the advantage going into halftime - a Brett Morris double catapulting them to an 18-6 lead.
St George Illawarra would then go on with the job in the second half, with tries to Ben Hornby, Jason Nightingale and Dean Young confirming the result, while the Broncos managed consolation tries from both Andrew McCullough and replacement back Josh Hoffman.
It's a result that wouldn't please Broncos coach Ivan Henjak, but would certainly show him the potential the side has when injured players slowly return to the beleaguered club. The Dragons will be happy to have played a reasonably clinical style of football yet still scored plenty of points. The home side will look to complete the Queensland trifecta when they travel to Skilled Park to face Gold Coast next Friday night, while Brisbane's home ground Suncorp Stadium will play host to fellow cellar-dwellers the Cronulla Sharks.
St George Illawarra Dragons 34 defeated Brisbane Broncos 16
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 5 - Friday April 9, 2010 7:35pm
Venue: WIN Stadium
Referee: Ashley Klein and Matt Cecchin
Video Referee: Sean Hampstead
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Grant Atkins
Halftime: St George Illawarra Dragons 18 Brisbane Broncos 6
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Brett Morris (2 Tries)
2 Points - Darius Boyd
1 Point - Matt Gillett
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (34)
Tries: Ben Hornby, Dean Young, Brett Morris (2), Beau Scott, Jason Nightingale
Conversions: Jamie Soward (5/6)
BRISBANE BRONCOS (16)
Tries: Andrew McCullough, Josh Hoffman, Dale Copley
Conversions: Peter Wallace (2/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening and welcome to LeagueUnlimited.com's Live Scores from the opening night of NRL Round 5. We're at WIN Stadium in Wollongong for the Dragons-Broncos clash. Just one change for the Saints - Dan Hunt will start with Matt Prior dropping to the bench. Click "team lists" above for the full lineups. Brisbane also have a number of changes with the omission of Nick Kenny.
1 min: We're underway at St George Illawarra's WIN Stadium in Wollongong. The Dragons will have first possession.
3 min: Sam Thaiday drops the ball just as the Broncos head down the right edge and begin to look dangerous. Earlier in the evening, the Broncos were victorious in Toyota Cup by 26-14.
6 min: TRY
Brisbane concede a penalty giving the Dragons field position. Over the course of the set the Dragons push forward and send it right, with Beau Scott crossing for the first try of the evening, and the bookmakers sighing with relief that it wasn't Brett Morris.
St George Illawarra Dragons 6-0
10 min: Ben Hornby attempts a 40/20 but his foot is on the 40m line as he kicks it and the referee rules a Brisbane feed.
14 min: TRY
The youthful exuberance of the Broncos' backline coupled with Darren Lockyer's foresight send the WIN Stadium crowd silent as the Broncos cross through Dale Copley. Peter Wallace converts to level the scores.
17 min: A big kick goes straight down Corey Norman's throat... and straight down to the ground. Knock-on from the Broncos fullback there and it'll be Saints to attack.
18 min: The ensuing set sees Brett Morris surging to the line down the left edge before the Broncos defense clamours to stop his run - Morris tries getting it away to Soward who drops it. Brisbane out of jail there and possession is theirs.
21 min: A good return set from the Dragons who manage to get far enough up the park to force a repeat set by pushing Norman dead.
25 min: Brisbane with a lot of possession on the Dragons lines following a string of penalties against the home side.
27 min: Brisbane's third consecutive set ends with Dragons fullback Darius Boyd getting it back into the field of play, then the visitors compounding it with a penalty. Dragons out of jail now.
30 min: Video Referee - NO TRY - Dragons. Brett Morris crosses the line but a very borderline obstruction call ruled against the Dragons. Darius Boyd is ruled to have run an obstruction past Matt Cooper before giving it to Morris and the Wollongong faithful are ropeable. As is Gus Gould...
31 min: Brisbane run a good set all the way up field and Soward looks like he's picked it up on the full in goal but his foot was just in the field of play. Drop-out.
34 min: TRY
Brett can't be denied this time and it's Morris Magic as the Dragons number two crosses out wide! Soward converts and we have the Dragons up by six with not long til oranges.
St George Illawarra Dragons 12-6
39 min: TRY
Brett Morris surpasses his brother Josh and Rabbitoh centre Beau Champion to move to the top of the tryscorers list with his second of the night. Soward converts from in front and it's a disappointing end to an otherwise positive half from Brisbane.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18-6
40 min: HALFTIME at WIN Stadium in Wollongong and we've got the Dragons leading 18-6 - sadly for Brisbane not a score that represents how competitive their young side has been. The scores were level until five minutes prior to the halftime break before a Brett Morris double sent the Dragons fans into raptures. Even with their good start to the game, it's hard to see the Broncos bouncing back from this against such a quality side in St George Illawarra.
41 min: Boot to ball and we're underway for the second half of tonight's match. Brisbane will have first possession... and on tackle three Alex Glenn splits the Dragons defenders down his left side and isn't dragged down until he's five metres out... but the last two tackles reap no reward. There was a player tackled off the ball during the play and no advantage was taken by Brisbane so it's a penalty against the Dragons, a repeat set for the visitors.
42 min: A few players also down with head knocks at the end of that passage of play. Brisbane's set of six from the penalty goes nowhere and Morris cleans up the fifth tackle option and Saints will work it out of their own end.
48 min: Some more positive attack from Brisbane but no points resulting with fifth tackle options continually poor. No luck for the visitors. Sam Thaiday is injured but taking his time to remove himself from the play. Referee calls time off.
51 min: TRY
Jason Nightingale crosses in the far corner for the Dragons to extend their lead after applying pressure to the Broncos line. Soward doesn't convert.
St George Illawarra Dragons 22-6
53 min: Beau Scott drops the ball on the last tackle and it's a handover for the Broncos on their own 20m line.
58 min: TRY
Ben Hornby scores for the Dragons near the posts after brushing off a few defenders, and Soward converts effectively sealing the result beyond any doubt.
St George Illawarra Dragons 28-6
67 min: TRY
The Dragons having some fun now and Dean Young manages a good try for the home side as the 15,000-strong crowd celebrate.
St George Illawarra Dragons 34-6
71 min: TRY
Josh Hoffman scores to bring the Broncos total in front of Brett Morris's personal tally, and the bookies are relieved.
St George Illawarra Dragons 34-10
74 min: VIDEO REFEREE denies Brisbane a try following a knock on from Jamie Soward and then a Broncos knock on. Brisbane will retain possession though and attack again. Lockyer continually being forced off the field with a cut over the eye.
78 min: TRY
McCullough scores the try he was denied just minutes earlier and the Broncos will finish off the scoring for the night.
St George Illawarra Dragons 34-16
80 min: FULLTIME at WIN Stadium and the Dragons have triumped 34-16 over a spirited Brisbane Broncos lineup.