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Match Summary The St George Illawarra Dragons have tonight posted a comprehensive 36-12 victory over the Melbourne Storm in Homebush.
State of Origin duties taxed the Storm of nine regular first graders including skipper Cameron Smith. The Dragons were missing three regulars including incumbent NSW centre Mark Gasnier.
Played in slippery and cold conditions, the match saw numerous handling errors before Melbourne opened the scoring with a penalty goal in the fifth minute.
The Dragons evened the ledger in the 13th minute but were already enjoying dominance in possession and field position.
The first try of the match came in the 22nd minute to wing sensation Jason Nightingale who touched down out wide following a perfect kick from five eighth Jamie Soward.
Another penalty goal from Soward put Saints further ahead and after 26 minutes the Dragons led 8-2.
The Dragons went further ahead in the 33rd minute through Brett Morris, Soward again on hand with a set move and deft kick on the first tackle into the in-goal.
At half time, the Dragons held a handy 14-2 lead.
Melbourne scored the first of their two tries in the 45th minute through centre Will Chambers to put the visitors within striking range.
But the Dragons struck back eight minutes later. Centre Josh Morris found himself on the end of a well worked movement that left the Storm playmakers looking to defensive lapses closer to the ruck.
Soward converted from the sideline to put the Dragons up by 20-6.
The Dragons put the match beyond doubt six minutes later through rookie winger Michael Lett. Soward slotted the sideline conversion to make it 26-6.
The match was capped off by some excellent tries in the final 10 minutes, including an extraordinary put down just inside the dead ball line from Soward, and a tremendous team try from the Storm to bring up the full time score.
Match Details St George Illawarra Dragons 36 def Melbourne Storm 12 Round 10 - May 17th, 2008 7:30pm Venue: ANZ Stadium Referee: Phil Haines Half time: Dragons 14-2 Crowd: 6,881
St George Illawarra Dragons 36 Tries: Jason Nightingale (2), Brett Morris, Josh Morris, Michael Lett, Jamie Soward Goals: Jamie Soward (6/8) Melbourne Storm 12 Tries: Will Chambers, Sika Manu Goals: Jeremy Smith (1/2), Steve Turner (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Jamie Soward (Dragons) 2 Points: Jason Nightingale (Dragons) 1 Point: Dean Young (Dragons)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Referee Phil Haines is joined by touch Judges Dan Eastwood and Russell Turner and video referee Paul Simpkins
Weather at Homebush is around 11 degrees C and a little damp underfoot following some rainy weather in Sydney. No breeze to favour either side.
Small crowd on hand in what looks like an away game for both teams.
TEAMS Origin duties sees the Dragons without three regular players while the Storm without no less than nine regular players. A few minor alterations to Melbourne while St George are as per the card with both Dean Young and Ben Creagh being named as co-captains. Line ups (announced on Tuesday and subject to change) DRAGONS:1. Brett Morris 2. Jason Nightingale 3. Josh Morris 4. Chase Stanley 5. Michael Lett 6. Jamie Soward 7. Rangi Chase 8. Justin Poore 9. Dean Young (c) 10. Jason Ryles 11. Beau Scott 12. Lagi Setu 13. Ben Creagh (c) Interchange: 14. Kirk Reynoldson 15. Dan Hunt 16. Simon Woolford 17. Stuart Webb 18. Jon Green 19. Matt Prior 20. Frank Samia STORM:1. Steve Turner 2. Brett Anderson 3. Will Chambers 4. Sam Tagataese 5. Dane Nielsen 6. Russell Aitken 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Clifford Manua 9. Matt Geyer 10. Antonio Kaufusi 11. Jeremy Smith 12. Sika Manu 13. Aiden Tolman Interchange: 14. Liam Foran 15. Kevin Proctor 16. Scott Anderson 17. Sinbad Kali 18. Lucas Miller
Players on the field... Melbourne Storm KICK OFF and its game on!
5 min: PENALTY GOAL Melbourne Storm Storm on the board after Dragons are marched 10m for backchat. Jeremy Smith makes no mistake from right in front. Slippery conditions with some handling errors from both sides. Melbourne Storm 2-0
10 min: Dragons with around 67% of the football at the 10 minute mark.
13 min: PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons Jamie Soward from 26m out and right in front. Storm penalised for an indiscretion in the tackle. 2 all
15 min: Scramble for ball in the conditions sees Saints push the ball into touch. Follows a nice break from Dragons centre Josh Morris up the middle of the park.
22 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Winger Jason Nightingale scores after taking a simple catch out wide following a perfect cross-field kick from Soward. Conversion attempt by Soward unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 6-2
26 min: PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons Soward puts Saints further ahead from almost in front after the Storm are penalised for offside. St George Illawarra Dragons 8-2
ON REPORT - just before the penalty goal, Storm centre Will Chambers is placed on report for an earlier incident where Chambers appeared to put a high and late tackle on Soward.
33 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Fullback Brett Morris touches down just inside the dead-ball line following a surprise chip kick from Soward into the in-goal in the first tackle. A set move from the scrum and it pays dividends! Conversion attempt by Soward from almost in front successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 14-2
36 min: Storm now with a rare chance after a Cooper Cronk kick earns a repeat set. Saints forced into a line drop out.
38 min: A Storm grubber from five eighth Russell Aitken into the in-goal sees another line drop out. The Dragons copping more pressure.
40 min: Dragons defend well. Another Aitken kick goes into the arms of a defender in the field of play and Saints will go the break leading two tries to nil.
Half time: Dragons 14-2 A more composed Dragons outfit enjoying dominant possession (61%) and field position against a green looking Storm side.
Second half underway...
43 min: Dragons on the attack with an overlap but halfback Rangi Chase grubbers hard and across the dead ball line.
45 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Chambers hits the line well to score out wide, the Storm putting together some quick hands through the backline. Conversion attempt by Jeremy Smith unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 14-6
47 min: Storm on the attack from close range following a Dragons knock-on. Dragons hold them out following some disorganised play from the Storm on the last tackle.
53 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Centre Josh Morris scores out wide, Saints with plenty of players in motion across the backline and a move that was hard to defend against. Sideline conversion attempt by Soward is across the black dot and the homeless home side are in the drivers's seat. St George Illawarra Dragons 20-6
58 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Winger Michael Lett finishes well to run over the top of Steve Turner and score in the corner. Dragons carving them up wide of the ruck. Conversion attempt by Soward is spot on. St George Illawarra Dragons 26-6
63 min: Nightingale backs himself out wide with some enterprising play: kicking, rebounding off a Storm defender, and almost scoring himself.
67 min: Storm getting repeat sets at the Dragons line as the ball is again forced dead and another line drop out results. Storm botch the opportunity with Turner seeing the ball into touch.
70 min: Another Storm error, this time from veteran Matt Geyer, sees the Dragons on the attack from 20m out.
71 min: Video ref looking at possible Dragons try....
71 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons An amazing effort from Soward, running onto a chip kick from Chase. Soward claimed the try but looked to have gone over the dead ball line, but replays show that he got the ball down. The Dragons fans in attendance stand up and applause in unison. Conversion attempt by Soward 15m wide of the uprights is successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 32-6
74 min: Video ref looking at possible Dragons try...
75 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Nightingale forces his way over, pushing through defenders to ground the ball just inside the corner post. Conversion attempt by Soward unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 36-6
77 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Back rower Sika Manu on the end of a great team try and a consolation for the Storm. Wide conversion attempt by Turner is successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 36-12
Full time: Dragons 36-12 A comprehensive victory for the Dragons scoring six tries to two. Soward a stand out in a match where Saints played a solid hand to post their third win of the year.