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Ben Hornby and Dean Young were sent out winners at ANZ Stadium tonight, as the Dragons steam rolled Luke Burt and Nathan Hindmarsh's Parramatta Eels, 29-8.
It was an explosive start to the first half with Reni Maitua being placed on report and knocking out Josh Miller in the first set of six. Nathan Hindmarsh and Maitua went into the tackle before the forearm of Reni came up too high. The penalty saw the Dragons score the opening points much to the disappointment of the blue and gold faithful, the majority of the 45,863 strong crowd.
A simple movement across field had Trent Merrin take a hit up, before he offloaded in traffic to find Hunt who managed to pass out to Jamie Soward. The number six lobbed the ball over the defence to Bronx Goodwin who scored out in the corner as the St. George Illawara Dragons took a 4-0 lead after 5 minutes.
Soward kicked a brilliant 40/20 in the 10th minute but the Dragons lost their way after Mitchell Rein was taken from the field with an ankle injury. Down to just 15 men, Steve Price's team began to slump in attack but stayed solid in attack after an assault from the Eels on top of their try line.
The Dragons exploded out of the blocks again and took their lead to 8 points in the 27th minute. After a simple mistake from Eels veteran Luke Burt, the Dragons took it out wide with Soward passing out the back to Nightingale, who then passed to Cooper with the Eels struggling to move across field. Cooper then flicked the ball to Morris who stepped his way over the try line. The Dragons could not extend their lead to 10 but they were in the box seat.
Out of no where, Chris Sandow chipped the ball and managed to regain the ball; he passed to Paulo who wrapped McGuire under, as he then sent the ball out wide to Mullaney who managed to bullet the ball out to Ryan Morgan who strolled over in the corner. Retiring Eels legend Luke Burt converted the try in the 33rd minute.
Luke Burt had almost scored after stripping the ball from Goodwin, but the video referee questionably ruled he had knocked the ball on. The game slowed down and the half-time score was 8-6 to the Dragons.
The Dragons opened up the second half strong as they scored their first try of the half in the 43rd minute. After some razzle dazzle Eels play, the Parramatta fullback tried to give Luke Burt room to move but the pass was awful, as Burt failed to collect it. He tried to bat it back in the field of play but Jamie Soward scooped the ball up and ran 90 metres. He missed the conversion after he was pushed over into the corner by cover defence; but no one could catch him.
They extended their lead to 12 as Matt Cooper strolled over untouched. The Dragons went wide using their long passes to draw in attackers, getting Morris on the outside of his opposite number, but he was not fast enough as he put Cooper over on the inside. After 53 minutes, it looked like the Eels' party was over.
Trent Merrin set up retiring halfback Ben Hornby for a try, through a simple offload, as the Dragons skipper stepped his way to the line to score under the posts. Soward then converted the try, but very awkwardly, nearly missing from in front, however, the score read 24-6.
Soward put the game beyond doubt, managing to send Ben Hornby and Dean Young out winners, with a big field goal from the sideline, 30 out. The ball hit the post and went through, but the confused referees waited for a tackle to an Eels player, 40 metres up the field, to check the attempt. The Video referee confirmed the point and the Dragons led 25-6 after 68 minutes.
Two passes wide of the ruck, Dan Hunt managed to burrow his way over out wide as the Dragons continued their dominance over the Eels. Soward converted as the mixed crowd cheered and jeered.
In the 79th minute, after a penalty, the Eels gave Nathan Hindmarsh the kick for goal. Hindmarsh collected the sand and punted the ball over. His first ever goal in his 330th game.
After the emphatic finish, the four club legends retiring will hold their heads high. Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke Burt, Ben Hornby and Dean Young will be remembered for their service to their clubs for decades to come.
Parramatta Eels 8 were defeated by St George Illawarra Dragons 29
National Rugby League - Round 26 - Sunday September 2, 2012 6:30pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Steve Lyons and Grant Atkins
Video Referee: Rod Lawrence and Shayne Hayne
Touch Judges: Dave Munro and Gavin Reynolds
Halftime: Parramatta Eels 6 St George Illawarra Dragons 8
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Jamie Soward (1 Try, 2 Conversions, 1 Field Goal)
2 Points - Dan Hunt (1 Try)
1 Point - Jake Mullaney
PARRAMATTA EELS (8)
Tries: Ryan Morgan
Conversions: Luke Burt (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Nathan Hindmarsh (1/1)
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (29)
Tries: Matt Cooper, Ben Hornby, Jamie Soward, Brett Morris, Dan Hunt, Bronx Goodwin
Field Goals: Jamie Soward (1/1)
Conversions: Jamie Soward (2/6)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to ANZ Stadium as we farewell four club legends. One party will be spoilt but no matter what, these men will be held up in high regard. TEAM CHANGES: Eels: Matt Ryan starts in the second row, with Justin Horo shifting to the bench. Dragons: Josh Miller starts at lock, with Dean Young moving to the bench.
We are just minutes away from kick off!
1 min: Burt kicks off and Merrin makes the 20!
1 min: Hindmarsh has put a MASSIVE hit on Josh Miller forcing the ball loose and it will be a scrum.
1 min: Reni Maitua will be placed on report for a forearm across Miller's head. Miller off injured.
1 min: Dragons on the attack deep inside the Eels half.
1 min: A last tackle grubber from Hornby sees Roberts tackled in goal. Drop out Eels.
5 min: TRY
A movement across field, with Merrin taking a run up the middle before offloading to Hunt who passed out wide to Soward who manged to float a ball over the heads of the defence to Bronx Goodwin on the wing, who will score the try in the corner. Soward hits the upright and the conversion is unsuccessful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 4-0
5 min: Merrin brings it 20 out again off the kick off. Dragons working their attack.
5 min: Mullaney takes a Soward Grubber easily.
6 min: Sandow clears the ball from the half way line, will find touch and the Dragons will have a scrum 18 metres from their line.
7 min: Solid defence by the Eels as Dragons struggle to make metres.
7 min: Soward kicks down field and Mullaney will play it on the 30.
8 min: Eels into the Dragons half on the fourth.
8 min: Nightingale takes a brilliant catch on his 10 metre line after an Eels bomb.
9 min: Jamie Soward kicks a huge 40/20! The Dragons will have a scrum on the 10 metre line after Eels winger Sio was unable to trap the ball.
10 min: Mitchell Rein is on the ground hurt for the Dragons.
10 min: Rein is taken from the field with an ankle injury.
11 min: Soward puts a cross field kick in and the referees rule a drop out for the Eels. Hornby goes down with some injury concerns.
12 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Parramatta. After Merrin made the mistake, he pulled the leg of the player playing the ball. PAR 1-1 STI
13 min: Eels attacking inside the ten.
13 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Parramatta. Not clearing the ruck. PAR 2-1 STI
14 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Parramatta. Stripping the ball. PAR 3-1 STI
15 min: Mullaney goes to score a try but knocks the ball on. Dragons survive 3 sets of defence in a row!
16 min: Dragons win the scrum and will begin working it out of their half
17 min: Dragons clear the ball and Sio makes a line break off the kick return but is pulled down on his 30.
18 min: Sandow puts in a chip but Nightingale manages to take it on the full at his line and make it back to his 20 taking on the broken line.
18 min: Josh Miller and Mitch Rein will both not return through injury.
19 min: Sio is tackled on his 10.
20 min: Sandow puts a cross field kick in but Morris shuts it down and is tackled on his 10.
20 min: Young puts a kick in and Mullaney is tackled on his 20.
21 min: Sandow kicks down and Morris takes it to his 30 and is hit by Hindmarsh and Blair
22 min: On his farewell, Luke Burt puts the bomb down on his 10, scrum Dragons.
27 min: TRY
After the mistake, the Dragons take it wide as Soward gives a great ball to Nightingale who passes to Cooper who flicks it out to Morris who steps the cover defender to score in the corner. Soward misses.
St George Illawarra Dragons 8-0
27 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Dragons. High Tackle. PAR 3-2 STI
28 min: Mullaney takes the catch in goal after a poor kick from Soward, Eels 20 tap.
28 min: Roberts puts it high but Nightengale takes the catch just metres from his line.
29 min: Soward kicks and Mullaney makes the catch and Sio will get tackled by the defence.
33 min: TRY
Parramatta have scored an amazing try! Sandow chipped the ball, chased and regathered, passed out to Paulo who had McGuire wrap under him, who sent the ball Mullaney who passed the ball right out to Ryan Morgan who scores in the corner. Burt converts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 8-6
33 min: Luke Burt steals the ball close to the line and its the video ref as Burt goes over
33 min: The strip has been called back for a knock on. Questionable call from the video referee. Scrum Dragons 10 out.
35 min: Sio returns the last tackle kick from the Dragons to the 10.
35 min: The Eels put a massive bomb up and the Dragons back three let it bounce, Ryan Morgan collects the ball but cant offload. Play the ball dragons.
37 min: Soward puts a massive kick down the field and Mullaney gets the ball back to the 20 metre line.
38 min: Sandow puts a massive kick up and it is messed up by everyone, the ball travels back 10 metres and the ruling is play on. Dragons ball.
39 min: Soward puts the ball into touch and Parramatta will receive a scrum at their 30.
40 min: It is halftime after a lacklustre last set by the Eels. Tweet @leagueunlimited and tell us what you think!
40 min: Both teams are back on the field! We are back under way with the Eels.
41 min: On the last tackle the Eels try and throw it around but the Dragons recover the ball!
41 min: Burt takes the catch and makes it to his 20!
41 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Parramatta. Stripping the ball. PAR 4-2 STI
46 min: TRY
Mullaney tries to pass the ball to Luke Burt but the ball is too high and as he flicks it back in, Soward scoops it up and runs 90 metres to score. He misses his own conversion.
St George Illawarra Dragons 12-6
46 min: A failed chip from the Dragons fails as Hindmarsh collects the ball
47 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Parramatta. PAR 5-2 STI
47 min: The Eels attacking on the fourty metre line.
47 min: Roberts puts the ball down as Casey McGuire throws a terrible ball. Scrum Dragons on the halfway line.
48 min: Dragons attacking inside the Eels half
49 min: The Eels snuff out a try scoring opportunity and come on the attack deep inside their half.
50 min: Sandow puts a low kick in and Goodwin is tackled inside his 10 metre zone.
50 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Dragons. Offside. PAR 5-3 STI
51 min: Dragons on the attack inside the Eels half after the penalty.
51 min: VIDEO REF: Checking the dreaded obstruction.
53 min: TRY
The Dragons use the numbers outwide, with Morris taking a great ball out wide before offloading back inside to Cooper who strolls over. Soward converts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18-6
55 min: Eels are working the ball out of their own half now
56 min: Soward puts it up but the back three of the Eels are able to defuse the attack.
58 min: Mullaney makes a great line break, taking the ball to half way before offloading to Paulo who is tackled on his forty.
59 min: The Eels force a goal line drop out. A great explosion of attack from the Eels.
60 min: Horo puts the ball down and Cooper counters. Dragons working it from their half now.
61 min: The Dragons get a new set on the line
63 min: TRY
Trent Merrin offloads to Ben Hornby as the Dragons legend steps his way to the line to score the try in his final game. Soward converts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 24-6
63 min: Off the kick off, the Dragons knock it on.
64 min: Burt is tackled into touch. Dragons scrum 10 out.
66 min: Soward kicks to the corner and Mullaney, who took a pass from Sio, is tackled by the defence.
66 min: Chris Sandow just misses a 40/20. Dragons scrum 23 metres from the try line.
68 min: Some confusion on the field after a field goal attempt from Soward. Video ref.
68 min: FIELD GOAL
Soward hits the upright and it is a field goal.
St George Illawarra Dragons 25-6
73 min: TRY
Two passes wide of the ruck, Dan Hunt managed to burrow his way over out wide as the Dragons continued their dominance over the Eels. Soward misses.
St George Illawarra Dragons 29-6
74 min: A short kick off is fielded by the Dragons
75 min: Video ref: Hunt goes to score but it spills out the back and Hornby may have grounded it.
75 min: The ball was knocked on. Scrum Eels 10 out.
75 min: The Dragons have put the Eels into touch. They are still playing like the game is on the line.
77 min: A kick from Sandow goes straight to the Dragons on the second tackle
78 min: The Dragons will drop the ball out
79 min: Less than a minute on the clock and the Eels can keep attacking the line
79 min: Nathan Hindmarsh will have a kick for two!
79 min: PENALTY GOAL
HINDMARSH CONVERTS THE GOAL!
St George Illawarra Dragons 29-8
80 min: Full time and the legends will be sent out just that; legends.