The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The St George Illawarra Dragons have crushed a dissapointing North Queensland Cowboys 45-18 at chilly WIN Stadium tonight.
Saints opened the scoring after just eight minutes when Ben Hornby, standing in for an injured Trent Barrett raced over to score under the posts.
Origin forward, Jason Ryles crashed over three minutes later and this opened the floodgates with Jason Hooper and Justin Smith crossing for four pointers. After 26 minutes, The Cowboys with the wind at their back trailed 22-0.
But the visitors finally got some possession and managed to hang onto the ball long enough for Bowen to score a runaway try in the 32nd minute.
St George forward, Shane Millard however scored on the stroke of halftime and at the break the locals led 28-6
Saints came out in the second half and scored almost immediately with lanky winger Matt Cooper leaping high in the air to take a Hornby cross field kick. That made it 34-6 in favour of the Dragons.
Matt Sing scored for Cowboys in the 54th minute and the score was 32-12
But Saints broke any resistence with two fine tries from man of the match, Mark Riddell who after a stepping run of 30 metres scored under the posts, jumped the fence, and sat down to applaud his effort, much to the delight of the small crowd.
A field goal to Riddell took the score to 45-12. The Cowboys however scored a late consolation try and at fulltime it was a impressive win to the Dragons 45-18
Sat 5:30 PM, 29 June 2002 WIN Stadium Referee: M Cecchin
Dragons 45 - Cowboys 18 St George Illawarra Dragons (Tries: Hornby, Ryles, Hooper, Smith, Millard, Cooper, Riddell x 2. Goals: Riddell 4/4, 1 FG, Gorrell 2/4) Nth Qld Cowboys (Tries: Bowen, Sing, Fien. Goals: Hannay 3/3)