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The St George Illawarra Dragons have claimed the JJ Giltinan Shield for 2009 with a completely dominant 37-0 win over a disappointing Parramatta Eels side in front of 18,000 delirious fans at WIN Jubilee Oval.
It was the Dragons night from start to finish and the Eels simply had no answer for the onslaught. Ben Creagh scored the first try with a typically strong run through the meat of the Eels defence, and a constant flow of possession thanks to a run of Eels errors and penalties meant the Dragons were able to keep the pressure on throughout the first half. Brett Morris was able to add two tries to his name before halftime and a couple of Jamie Soward field goals along with a last-second field goal gave the home side a commanding 21-0 lead at the break.
Any chance of a second half fightback was quickly extinguished when Dan Hunt crashed over shortly after the restart of play, and any attempts the Eels made to get back into the contest were let down by sloppy play and some determined Dragons defence. Two further tries inside the final 10 minutes completed the rout, with Brett Morris claiming his third try to find himself in first place on the NRL tryscoring list for 2009.
To the victors go the spoils - and the Dragons have claimed the title of 2009 Minor Premiers after they seemed to have shot themselves in the foot over recent weeks. The Eels were strangely flat tonight although the loss of Nathan Hindmarsh and Eric Grothe could have had an impact - they