Dragons squeak through to Grand Final

The St George Illawarra Dragons have won through to the 2010 NRL Grand Final with a tense 13-12 victory over a brave Wests Tigers outfit in front of a pulsating crowd of over 71,000 at ANZ Stadium in Sydney tonight.

The Tigers opened the scoring in the 17th minute as Lote Tuqiri scored after a good decoy run.

After receiving a number of penalties the Dragons finally made use of the pressure to score when Jeremy Smith scored despite the best efforts of the Tigers defenders.

After receiving just their first penalty of the game the Tigers scored their second when Robert Lui scored off a Liam Fulton offload.

The Dragons came close to scoring right on the brink of halftime, but the Tigers defence was up to the task.

The Dragons leveled the scores early in the second half with a try to Jason Nightingale after some expansive football caught the Tigers defence retreating.

The second half followed a similar course to the first, with the Tigers defending valiantly against repeat Dragons attack while the Dragons almost completely dominated the territory battle.

Ultimately the domination of territory saw the Dragons through with Jamie Soward slotting the match winning field goal with six minutes to go, and the Tigers were unable to get into position to level the scores.

The result will see the Dragons matched up against the Roosters in what will surely be one of the most popular Grand Finals in recent memory.

Match Details
St George Illawarra Dragons 13 defeated Wests Tigers 12
National Rugby League - Finals Week 3 - Saturday September 25, 2010 7:45pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Shayne Hayne and Ben Cummins
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: David Abood and Russell Turner
Crowd: 71,212
Halftime: St George Illawarra Dragons 6 Wests Tigers 12

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Jeremy Smith (1 Try)
2 Points - Jason Nightingale (1 Try)
1 Point - Lote Tuqiri (1 Try)

St George Illawarra Dragons (13)
Tries: Jason Nightingale, Jeremy Smith
Field Goals: Jamie Soward (1/1)
Conversions: Jamie Soward (2/2)

Wests Tigers (12)
Tries: Robert Lui, Lote Tuqiri
Field Goals: Benji Marshall (0/1)
Conversions: Benji Marshall (2/2)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary TEAMS: For the Dragons, Green moves onto the bench in place of Saffy. For the Tigers, Payten is out and replaced by Fifita. Bryce Gibbs will start ahead of Fulton who drops to the bench, and joining him on the bench is Murdoch, our favourite son Fitzhenry and Simon Dwyer.
As already covered tonight on Leagueunlimited, the Rabbitohs cruised into the Toyota Cup Grand Final, hammering the Raiders 64-18.
Kickoff to come shortly.
1 min: KICKOFF: The Tigers get us started at ANZ!
3 min: Dragons get an early penalty to go on attack.
3 min: Dragons pulled back for a forward pass.
5 min: Boyd makes a great escape from the in goal.
8 min: Cooper makes a break and the Tigers are backpedaling.
8 min: The Dragons kick at Ryan who touches the ball and the Dragons get a line drop out.
9 min: VIDEO REFEREE - NO TRY: Weyman surges for the line and has the ball stripped as he attempts to ground it.
10 min: Dragons pulled back for another forward pass.
12 min: Tigers get a roll on, Galloway loses the ball trying to milk a penalty.
15 min: Tigers turn the ball over playing expansively on attack.
16 min: Tigers get the ball right back.
17 min: VIDEO REFEREE: For a Tigers try...
17 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
A runaround play by the Tigers sees Tuqiri score in the corner. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall successful.
Wests Tigers 6-0
20 min: The Dragons will move onto attack off a penalty.
21 min: Another penalty keeps the Dragons on attack.
22 min: The Tigers defence holds out and they'll work it out of their own end.
25 min: Another penalty puts the Dragons back on attack.
25 min: Tigers will have to defend another line drop out. They're defending very well at the moment.
27 min: Yet another penalty goes against the Tigers. 5-0 the count so far.
28 min: TRY
TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Jeremy Smith crashes over. The Tigers defenders make a good effort to hold him up, but he's still able to eventually ground the ball.. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.
6 all
30 min: Dragons put in a good set after scoring and continue to win the territory battle.
32 min: Tigers starting to look a little bit disorganised with the ball in hand.
34 min: Tigers get a penalty to get out of their own end after Lui was taken out on suspicion.
36 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Tigers get a rare attacking opportunity, Fulton takes a regulation hitup close to the line and offloads to Lui who scores under the posts. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall successful.
Wests Tigers 12-6
38 min: Tigers are finding plenty of space against this great defensive team.
Benji shanks an attempted field goal.
Wests Tigers 12-6
38 min: Dragons pulled back for a forward pass while coming out of their own end.
40 min: The Tigers respond in kind with a poor forward pass of their own.
40 min: HALFTIME: The Dragons go close to scoring just on the siren. Instead the Tigers take a 12-6 lead into the break.
40 min: RESTART: Back underway at ANZ! Forty minutes to decide who will face the Roosters in the Grand Final.
41 min: Tigers make a mistake coming out of their end.
43 min: Dragons back to piling on the pressure, and get a repeat set.
44 min: Dean Young knocks on.
46 min: Fein rattles the signage behind the in goal.
50 min: TRY
TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Dragons make a huge break down the right side, and on the next play Nightingale scores amongst a retreating Tigers defence. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.
12 all
53 min: Tigers looking very rattled and disorganised. They're really struggling to get out of their own end.
55 min: Tigers get a penalty after the Dragons were offside from the 20 metre restart.
57 min: Benji grubbers for himself, recovers and is forced to offload it to a Dragons player.
59 min: The Tigers spread the ball wide to Tuqiri who finds space and kicks ahead to the Dragons.
60 min: INJURY - Liam Fulton has an ankle or leg injury after making a dummy half run off his own line.
62 min: Tigers kick is partially charged down and the Dragons get the ball in good field position.
62 min: Cooper knocks on.
64 min: Dragons defend a good Tigers attacking set.
64 min: Hornby steps through the Tigers defence and they're all at sea, and somehow the Tigers still manage to make a tackle on the last to survive.
64 min: Hornby steps through the Tigers defence and they're all at sea, and somehow the Tigers still manage to make a tackle on the last to survive.
66 min: Benji passes and it's knocked down by a Dragons player and the Tigers will get the ball back.
68 min: CROWD - 71,212
68 min: Dragons push the Tigers into touch while they're attacking. We're heading towards field goal territory.
72 min: Both teams playing for territory at the moment.
73 min: INJURY - Tuqiri makes a break and is injured after taking an accidental knee from Jeremy Smith.
74 min: FIELD GOAL
FIELD GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons
Soward slots a field goal under no pressure.
St George Illawarra Dragons 13-12
76 min: The Tigers try to keep the ball alive and Benji knocks on in the tackle. Dragons a good chance to close out the game here.
76 min: Fein goes close to scoring.
77 min: The Tigers wrap the ball up two out from their line - need to cover at least 70 metres to even think about a field goal.
79 min: The Tigers should get one more use of the football.
80 min: The Tigers spin the ball wide and kick ahead despite looking like scoring, and the Dragons will win 13-12.

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