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St George Illawarra Premier League have got their semi final aspirations back on track with an impressive 34-20 win over the North Sydney Bears at Win Stadium tonight.
After suffering consecutive losses to Newcastle and the Bulldogs over the last fortnight, the Dragons made a welcome return to the winners circle, with a hard fought win over more fancied opponents.
For the Dragons, Keiran Kerr and Daniel Holdsworth controlled the middle of the park strongly, while winger Nick Youngquest did plenty of good work out wide.
The Bears came out full of fire and stuck it to the home side in the first 15 minutes. The Dragons red and white wall held firm, their efforts rewarded soon after when new recruit Shane Marteene went through a gap out wide to score. Aaron Gorrell converted for a six nil lead.
The Dragons then put together a quality ten minutes with captain Ryan Powell barging over, then two minutes later Gorrell managed to get over with the help of five other team mates in a pushover move that would have brought a smile to any rugby union fan.
Gorrell made no mistake with either conversion and before the Bears knew it, they were down 18-0.
Seemingly in cruise mode, the Dragons then lost a little concentration with an error coming off their own line. The visitors made them pay with replacement centre Andrew Moodie chiming in on the end of a sweeping back line move, crossing out wide. The failed conversion kept the margin at 14.
St George Illawarra had a couple more cracks at the Bears line in the closing stages of the first half but came up empty handed, leaving the halftime score at 18-4.
With a chance to put the Bears to the sword, the Dragons surprisingly started the second half off a little sluggish.
With solid possession behind them, the Bears put on two tries in the first twelve minutes of the second stanza to close the gap to four.
With the Dragons sitting three points from eighth spot, nothing short of a win was going to be acceptable.
Halfback Keiron Kerr, who was at his scheming best all night, did it all himself to score a great individual try in the 55th minute to give his side back a healthy eight point buffer. Daniel Holdsworth converted to make the score 24-14.
Two more penalty goals to Gorrell furthered their lead to 14.
Holdsworth closed the match out for the Dragons with a well deserved try with five minutes to go. Gorrell continued his good goal kicking form, slotting his sixth from as many attempts.
On the final siren, Bears winger Lester Salanoa made the score line more respectable for the visitors, crossing for a consolation try. The match finishing though with the Dragons convincing winners.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 34 ( S Marteene, R Powell, A Gorrell, K Kerr, D Holdsworth tries; A Gorrell 6, D Holdsworth goal) d. NORTHS 20 ( A Moodie, C Tuatara, S Hales, L Salanoa tries; A Moodie 2 goals.)
Meanwhile in Flegg, the Dragons put on twenty points in the last fifteen minutes to sink Norths 36-16. The win could see the Dragons four points clear in first place on the ladder.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 36 ( T Haberecht 2, B Davidson, W Tupou, J Nightingale, D Jaimeson, D Wicks tries; J Lewis 4 goals)