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The Dragons took the lead in the 71st minute and held on for a 12-11 victory at a picturesque WIN Stadium this afternoon.
In a match of missed opportunities, the Warriors botched a number of chances in the second half and the pressure fell once more on Stacey Jones who couldn't take a 79th minute field goal.
After 26 minutes the score read 2-2, reflecting a penalty-riddled opening to the match.
It took until the 31st minute for the first try to be scored. A trademark charge-down from Warriors prop Steven Price sent Simon Mannering away, he almost went the length of the field before Dragons winger Brett Morris pulled him down in a copybook tackle. With the defence stretched, Patrick Ah Van crossed in the right corner in the next movement.
A 40th minute Stacey Jones field goal was the only further scoring play in the first half. For the first time this season the Dragons went into halftime behind, 7-2 the scoreline.
The Warriors lost the ball early in the tackle-count a number of times and this gifted the Dragons attacking sets. They capitalised and took the lead in the 58th minute, Morris taking advantage of sustained pressure on the Warriors' line and Soward converting to put the score at 8-7 going into the last quarter.
Three minutes later however the Warriors were back in front. Ropati received the ball 10 metres out on the left wing and did exceedingly well to stay in play and ground the ball with four Dragons on his back.
Again it was repeat sets at the Warriors' end that gave the Dragons the chance to get back in front. They took it gladly through Ben Creagh in the 71st minute, he crashed over and video referee Steve Clark pressed the green button to give the Dragons a one point lead.
For the third week in a row Stacey Jones set himself up for a field goal to keep his team in the game. A roaring Ben Creagh forced a knock-on though and prevented another golden-point extra time.
The Warriors will be glad to have the bye next week, while the Dragons head up to Dairy Farmers Stadium to take on the Cowboys.
Match Details St George Illawarra Dragons 12 def New Zealand Warriors 11 Round 8 - Sunday May 3rd, 2009 2:00pm Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong Referee: Ben Cummins, Jason Robinson Touch Judges: Adam Devcich, Paul Holland Video Ref: Steve Clark Crowd: 14,562 Half time: Warriors 7-2
St George Illawarra Dragons 12 Tries: Brett Morris, Ben Creagh Goals: Jamie Soward (2/4) New Zealand Warriors 11 Tries: Patrick Ah Van, Jerome Ropati Field Goals: Stacey Jones (1/1) Goals: Patrick Ah Van (1/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Michael Weyman (Dragons) 2 Points: Brett Morris (Dragons) 1 Point: Ben Creagh (Dragons)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good afternoon, welcome to the coverage from WIN Stadium, it's clear skies and sun in Wollongong.
For the Dragons Boyd is out, Nightingale comes in to the starting team. For the Warriors Kemp is out and the team shuffles around to accommodate that. The confirmed line-ups are as follows:
DRAGONS: 16. Jason Nightingale 2. Brett Morris 3. Beau Scott 4. Matt Cooper 5. Wendell Sailor 6. Jamie Soward 7. Ben Hornby (c) 8. Justin Poore 9. Dean Young 10. Michael Weyman 11. Matt Prior 12. Ben Creagh 13. Jeremy Smith Interchange: 14. Dan Hunt 15. Neville Costigan 17. Jarrod Saffy 18. Mathew Head WARRIORS: 1. Wade McKinnon 17. Patrick Ah Van 6. Joel Moon 4. Jerome Ropati 5. Manu Vatuvei 14. Nathan Fien 7. Stacey Jones 8. Jesse Royal 9. Ian Henderson 10. Steve Price (C) 3. Simon Mannering 12. Jacob Lillyman 13. Micheal Luck (VC) Interchange: 11. Ben Matulino 15. Russell Packer 16. Lewis Brown 18. Lance Hohaia
Toyota Cup: Dragons 30 Warriors 14
TAB Sportsbet Odds: Dragons $1.45 Warriors $2.65
League Unlimited Poll: Dragons 71% Warriors 29%
The last time these sides met was round 24 last year, the Dragons took that one 34-6.
The Dragons have taken all 6 encounters against the Warriors at WIN Stadium, overall the count is Dragons 9 Warriors 4.
Dragons will kick off and here we go!
2 min: Penalty Dragons for a dangerous tackle, they kick to touch and will start on their 40m.
3 min: Weyman is through the gap and all of a sudden the Dragons are hot on attack. Soward puts in a grubber and Vatuvei's trapped in goal.
4 min: Penalty Dragons. Weyman held down too long. Soward will kick for goal.
5 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons Soward pulls it to the right and Warriors will drop out from 20m.
7 min: Penalty Dragons, this time it's Michael Luck not moving away in time. Dragons start 40m out on attack.
8 min: Scrum and now Penalty Warriors, Dragons broke too early. Warriors have their first attacking set.
10 min: Fien puts up a bomb to the left, Vatuvei knocks it on and the Dragons will tap on their 20m.
11 min: Scrum Warriors on halfway for a knock-on.
12 min: Ropati knocks on straight away and now it's a Dragons scrum.
12 min: Soward looked to be through the gap but Ah Van made the ankle tap.
13 min: The Dragons' attacking set ends with Vatuvei taking the bomb and the Warriors will work it out from their line.
14 min: Hornby puts his kick dead and the Warriors will tap on their 20m.
15 min: Penalty Warriors. Ben Creagh didn't move out of the ruck. Warriors start 20m out on attack.
16 min: Vatuvei thought he was in but it's called back for a forward pass! It looks like a tough call.
17 min: Wendell's in trouble and looks to have maybe hurt his hamstring. The word is though that it's a cork and he will play on.
19 min: Penalty Warriors. The markers weren't square. Warriors will attack again from 20m out.
20 min: Fien puts up a mini-bomb, Hornby gets up and knocks it dead.
21 min: Penalty Warriors and he's called time-off this time for a chinwag with Hornby. Warriors kicking for goal from right in front.
22 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand Warriors Ah Van slots it over to open the scoring. New Zealand Warriors 2-0
24 min: Vatuvei runs it out from his line but tries to give the miracle ball to McKinnon who puts it down.
25 min: Penalty Dragons and this time he'll have a word with Steve Price about slowing the play-the-ball. Matt Cooper looks to be in a bit of trouble. Soward will kick for goal.
26 min: PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons Soward kicks it 10m in from the left sideline, 20m out. 2 all
27 min: Penalty Dragons, the defenders were inside the 10. That takes the penalty count to 5-5.
30 min: Price charges down and Mannering's away! He's pulled down 10 short by Morris.
31 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors The Warriors spin it out quickly to the right wing, the Dragons are not back in time and Ah Van dives over for today's first try. Conversion attempt by Patrick Ah Van unsuccessful. New Zealand Warriors 6-2
34 min: Penalty Warriors. The markers weren't square. Warriors will attack from 20m out.
36 min: The set ends with a Fien bomb and Vatuvei knocks on.
38 min: Soward is hit hard by Ropati and stays down.
39 min: Fien puts in an attacking grubber and Vatuvei knocks on. Scrum Dragons 10m out from their line.
40 min: FIELD GOAL New Zealand Warriors With 5 seconds remaining Jones takes a shot from 12 metres out and it wobbles over to end the half. New Zealand Warriors 7-2
The Warriors will kick off the second half and we're off again.
43 min: Morris catches a kick wide on the last tackle but Ah Van wraps him up well for the turnover.
45 min: Soward puts it out 10m from the Warriors' line. He was in injury trouble before halftime but looks to have recovered.
46 min: Vatuvei's away! They pull him down 20m short though and he coughs up the ball.
46 min: Penalty Dragons. Now they attack from 20m out.
47 min: Scrum Warriors in front of their line. The Dragons' attack ends with a forward pass from Soward to Weyman.
48 min: Scrum Dragons. Ropati lets it go on the first tackle and the Dragons will attack again.
49 min: A frantic 5 tackles ends with Morris putting a kick dead.
51 min: Sailor is very slow to his feet after an awkward tackle. Time-off is called but he stays on the field.
54 min: The Dragons got 6 more tackles after Royal went for an intercept, the set ends with Dean Young putting a kick dead.
55 min: Nightingale is trapped in-goal after some enterprising play from the Warriors. Hornby will drop-out.
55 min: Scrum Dragons. The Warriors let them off the hook again, this time Packer loses it.
57 min: Penalty Dragons. The Dragons go very close to scoring, McKinnon taps the kick dead but Ropati was offside.
58 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons The Dragons got a couple of offloads away and created numbers on the left wing, they managed to get it to Morris who juts back in and dots down. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 8-7
60 min: Penalty Warriors. Another play-the-ball infringement sees the Warriors restarting 40m out on attack.
61 min: VIDEO REF: Ropati has gone over but surely couldn't have grounded it ?
61 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors He's given it! Ropati did extraordinarily well with 4 men on him to get it down in the left corner. Conversion attempt by Patrick Ah Van unsuccessful. New Zealand Warriors 11-8
64 min: Henderson makes a break from dummy-half, he goes 40m but is pulled down.
66 min: Penalty Warriors. Fien was hit high after passing. They start an attack 10m out.
67 min: Ropati knocks on and butchers a sure try after Mannering got a good ball away.
68 min: Penalty Dragons. Holding down too long again. Dragons start 40m out on attack.
68 min: Penalty Dragons. Hornby is hit high by Lewis Brown.
69 min: Morris was in but he's called a forward pass! Scrum Warriors.
70 min: Scrum Dragons. The Warriors lose it early in the count again and gift the Dragons an attacking set.
70 min: Penalty Dragons. He's called both captains over and warned them he'll send players to the bin.
71 min: VIDEO REF: Creagh has busted over and looks to have scored.
71 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Ben Creagh took the ball at speed and the Warriors defence couldn't hold him out, he reached out and placed the ball on the line to put his team in front. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 12-11
74 min: Scrum Warriors. The Warriors turn it over on halfway but the Dragons then throw a forward pass.
75 min: Scrum Dragons. Packer loses it in a 3-man tackle.
76 min: Penalty Warriors. Hornby was called offside at the kick but plays at the ball and the Warriors will start from their 30m.
79 min: Jones sets for the drop-goal on the last tackle but drops the ball under pressure from Creagh.
80 min: Scrum Warriors. Soward puts it out and the Warriors have 20 seconds.
80 min: Ropati turns it over, Sailor kicks it out and that's the game.