St George Dragons showed this afternoon why they are in contention for back to back Premierships, when they convincingly defeated the Canterbury Bulldogs at the Sydney Cricket Ground by 25-6 in front of 31,122 very wet supporters.
The Men of League Heritage round between the two sides promised to be a spectacle with both sides on even points on the table.
A solid start by both sides looked to set the stage for an even contest, the steady rain making it a level playing field for the dominant and dangerous attacking flair both teams possess.
An early knock to Idris playing his 50th NRL match certainly didn't help the Bulldogs.
The Dragons settled into a decisive and resolute attacking side resulting in Matt Cooper's 1st try of 2, 18 minutes into the soggy match. A penalty and field goal to Soward finished off the scoring in the first 40 minutes dominated by in the latter part by errors from the slippery conditions. The Dragons heading into the break 9-0 up on their opponents.
Matt Cooper nailed his 2nd try of the match 5 minutes into the half, with the sure and steady attack of the Dragons looking to dominant the match.
The Bulldogs showed a bit more urgency after Cooper's 2nd try, Idris succumbed to his thigh injury and left the field midway thru the half.
The 60th min, after sustained attack, the Bulldogs finally managed to cut through the resilient Dragons defence with Payne scoring. Two minutes later, after being down 15-6, it looked as though the Bulldogs were going to launch a comeback. With 3 unmarked Bulldogs players ready to score, Darius Boyd literally flew onto one of the best intercepts in a long time to run 90 metres and score. A definite turning point in the match as the confidence in the Dragons side was once again sky high, and the Bulldogs having to build their spirits up and play catch up football.
The final score of 25-6 certainly indicative of the Dragons being the stronger side in the wet conditions.
St George Illawarra Dragons 25 defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 6
National Rugby League - Round 5 (Heritage Round) - Sunday April 10, 2011 3:00pm
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground
Referee: Shayne Hayne and Gerard Sutton
Video Referee: Paul Simpkins
Touch Judges: Steve Chiddy and Gavin Reynolds
Halftime: St George Illawarra Dragons 9 Canterbury Bulldogs 0
St George Illawarra Dragons (25)
Tries: Matt Cooper (2), Mark Gasnier, Darius Boyd
Field Goals: Jamie Soward (1/1)
Conversions: Jamie Soward (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Jamie Soward (1/1)
Canterbury Bulldogs (6)
Tries: Corey Payne
Conversions: Bryson Goodwin (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary It's HERITAGE ROUND - both teams will be wearing retro strips from years gone by:
Great crowd, great atmosphere for this the repeat of the 1986 Grand Final in this the Heritage Round.
Both teams even on points, Armit starts for the Bulldogs with Paea moving to the bench. The Dragons are as per programme.50th game for Idris.
1 min: The Dragons get the game underway. Light rain falling.
2 min: Both teams solid in their starting sets.
6 min: Error free so far as the 2 teams ease themselves into the game.
7 min: 1st penalty of the match favouring the Dragons. Sets up a good opportunity for them
8 min: Line Dropout - Dragons
9 min: Ennis charges down Fein's kick on the 5th tackle, and the danger for the Bulldogs is diffused.
12 min: Solid defence by the Dragons allowing the Bulldogs only a 30 metre gain in their set.
17 min: A high kick by Fein is contested by half the players on the field. A knock on by the Bulldogs and the Dragons have the scrum feed 10m out from their line
18 min: TRY
Solid attack by the Dragons who spread the ball wide very quickly and Cooper is over in the corner.
St George Illawarra Dragons 6-0
21 min: A knock on by the Dragons 20 metres out from the Bulldogs line gives the Canterbury side a chance to hit right back. The rain is heavier now.
22 min: Idris knocks on charging for the line, after a solid hit by Creagh.
23 min: Ben Barba does well running the ball out from his in goal after the pressure is on him from Dragons players. He makes 20 metres easily.
26 min: The Dragons starting to carve up the Bulldogs defence.
27 min: PENALTY GOAL
Ryan penalised for crawling off the mark. Soward has no trouble from 20 metres out.
St George Illawarra Dragons 8-0
28 min: Bulldogs have a chance to hit back as an error is called on the Dragons, 12 metres out from the line. Slippery ball makes for an error on the 1st tackle in the Bulldogs attack.
31 min: Another chance for the Bulldogs as Morris knocks on from a high kick, 12 metres out from the Bulldogs line.
33 min: Line Dropout - Bulldogs.
34 min: Outstanding solid defence by St George allows the Bulldogs no room to move on attack. Slippery ball and the error is made.
36 min: Idris still struggling after a heavy knock with Creagh earlier in the match. A corked thigh is the problem it seems.
37 min: Hayne calls the Bulldogs offside as Boyd is close to scoring.
38 min: The Dragons on attack seemingly knocking the ball backwards more instead of the go forward. Eventually called up for a knock on. Very slippery out there.
40 min: FIELD GOAL
Plenty of time for Soward to set the kick from 25 metres out.
St George Illawarra Dragons 9-0
40 min: Halftime: A solid perfomance by the Dragons in the first half to be 9-0 up at the break.
41 min: The Bulldogs start the 2nd half. Idris is still on the field, his right thigh heavily strapped.
43 min: Early attack by the Dragons following a Bulldogs error. Ennis manages to snaffle the ball back right on the line.
45 min: TRY
Cooper snaps up his 2nd try following yet another Bulldogs error in the wet conditions. Similar to his 1st try, Cooper crosses out wide.
St George Illawarra Dragons 15-0
47 min: A relieving penalty for the Bulldogs allows them a rare attacking opportunity, 20 metres out from their line.
48 min: Ryan's having a shocker with his hands and knocks on on attack.
53 min: The Dragons steady on attack making the most of the continuous errors the Bulldogs are making in the slippery conditions.
55 min: A penalty to leap frog the tiring Bulldogs up the field. A rare chance on attack for them.
56 min: Pritchard called up for a knock on right in front of the posts.
58 min: Idris finally succumbs to his injury and leaves the field, replaced by Halatau
58 min: On Report - Young on report for a dangerous tackle.
59 min: TRY
The Bulldogs finally cross the line despite some determined defence by the Dragons. The chip kick hits the post and the video ref awards the try to Payne. Barba also claiming it.
St George Illawarra Dragons 15-6
61 min: TRY
The Bulldogs looked sure to score with 3 unmarked players lied up after 2 great offloads. Boyd had other ideas as he flew onto the intercept and ran 90 metres to score.
St George Illawarra Dragons 21-6
65 min: The game starting to open up a little for the Bulldogs.
68 min: Steady rain still falling with 12 mins to go.
70 min: The Dragons once again looking good on attack in the wet, but the slippery ball once again wins with a knock on, close to their line.
74 min: Crowd figure 31,122.
76 min: TRY
Gas stretches over to score his try after a deft little chip kick by Soward. The conversion kick hits the post and misses.
St George Illawarra Dragons 25-6
80 min: Rain absolutely pouring down
80 min: Fulltime: The players gratefully leave the soggy field following a solid win by the Dragons, 25-6