Dragons too good for Warriors

On the back of their upset at the hands of perennial cellar dwellers Cronulla, the Dragons came out to Mt. Smart Stadium with intent to upset the New Zealand faithful, taking down the Warriors 25 - 12.

It took a few sets for Dragons to get into their rhythm, but once they did they never looked back. The Warriors defence was made to look very ordinary in the first half having no answers for the Dragons' strength, speed and superior game plan.

First half points came twice from Nightingale tries in the fourth and fourteenth minutes and the final try of the half from Matt Cooper in the 26th. Soward kicked 3 from 3 for the half.

Both teams looked to be winding down the last few minutes of the half, throwing away the ball, taking time to pack scrums and just waiting to get into the sheds, the hooter finally came with Dragons going in 18 points to nothing.

Warriors came out significantly stronger in the second half, the intent was rewarded with them scoring heir first points 9 minutes out from half time with a try to Ben Matulino, which was converted by James Matulino to put them two converted tries away.

Warriors could not keep up the good work or complete their sets and Dragons punished them scoring their first points of the second 40 in the 55th minute, with a try that went through many hands and many missed tackles before Kyle Stanley scored the 4 pointer which was converted by Soward.

The following 20 minutes was a competition of errors and penalties, which Dragons won, refusing to play the ball themselves and giving their goal line defence a massive work out.  Despite the Warriors being parked in the Dragons' 20.

The defensive line prove impenetrable, it took a sin binning for Warriors to finally be able to make their way through in the 75th minute with a try to recruit Shaun Berrigan after Matt Cooper was given an early shower in the 74th minute.

Soward took his opportunity to attempt his third field goal in the 77th minute and this one with no chance of mattering to the game was the first successful shot.  There was time for more errors and as such more errors ensued, the scoring however was done, Dragons finishing 25 - 12 victors.

Match Details
New Zealand Warriors 12 were defeated by St George Illawarra Dragons 25
National Rugby League - Round 3 - Sunday March 27, 2011 12:00pm
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Referee: Ben Cummins and Tony De Las Heras
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Henry Perenara
Crowd: 11,651
Halftime: New Zealand Warriors 0 St George Illawarra Dragons 18

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Jason Nightingale (2 Tries)
2 Points - Nathan Fien
1 Point - Lewis Brown

NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (12)
Tries: Shaun Berrigan, Ben Matulino
Conversions: James Maloney (2/2)

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (25)
Tries: Matt Cooper, Jason Nightingale (2), Kyle Stanley
Field Goals: Jamie Soward (1/3)
Conversions: Jamie Soward (4/4)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary G'Day and welcome to a grey Mt. Smart Stadium for what has shaped up as an interesting clash between the Warriors of New Zealand and the St. George Illawarra Dragons. The Dragons are coming off the back of an upset at the hands of Cronulla last Monday and Warriors still searching for their first victory of 2011. Warriors had a huge victory in the Toyota Cup game earlier, demolishing the Dragons 54 points to 24.
TEAM NEWS: Trent Merrin will start in Beau Scott's vacated second row spot and Adam Cuthbertson will make his Dragons debut from the bench this afternoon. Just some superficial changes for the Warriors, Berrigan and Brown will both start with Heremaia and Mateo starting from the bench.
1 min: The whistle blows and game on, Inu kicks off to get us underway.
3 min: Sam Rapira loses the ball in a tackle to give St George an attacking opportunity.
5 min: TRY
TRY to the Dragons in the early passages, Nightingale lept above to collect the ball and score. Soward converts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 6-0
7 min: St. George starting to find good rhythm winning a line drop out.
9 min: St. George with all the field position here, so much being played the Warriors side of halfway.
11 min: Seymour sells a dummy before getting it onto Hohia who drops it.
14 min: TRY
TRY number two to Nightingale. Fein gets a good offload onto Soward who put Nightingale through some flimsy defence to score. Conversion from Soward successful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 12-0
16 min: Dragons all over the Warriors who have spent all of the last ten minutes their own side of halfway.
18 min: Warriors get a reprieve with Morris ruled to have gotten a toe on the sideline.
VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Dragons TRY.
20 min: NO TRY, Soward ruled to have hit the ball out of the hands of Mateo.
22 min: Warriors make it past the halfway, put in a good kick too, Nightingale and Inu both leap for it, Nightingale misses, Warriors regather but are forced to turn over.
24 min: St. George starting sets from their own line here.
25 min: Mateo almost gets through a whole, but offloads a ball that goes straight to Gasnier.
VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Dragons TRY.
27 min: TRY
TRY! Benefit of th doubt, Matt Cooper muscles over bodies of would be defenders, appears to maintain control of the ball and scores. Conversion by Soward successful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18-0
28 min: Dragons too fast, too strong and thus far too good for the Warriors at Mt. Smart.
30 min: Dragons send one over the sideline, to give Warriors a scrum.
32 min: Perhaps the first Dragons' mistake of the afternoon, giving the home side their best chance of the afternoon.
33 min: Warriors looking really tired here, very slow to pack their scrum.
34 min: Pass touched by a Dragons hand to give Warriors six again, another half chance here.
35 min: Nightingale begins to streak away but stopped by Ropati who injures himself in the tackle.
36 min: Knock on Dragons, inviting a chance for the Warriors before half time. Ropati limps off the field as the scrum is completed.
38 min: St. George starting to pile up some unforced errors, another knock on here.
39 min: Strong attacking set from the Warriors but it comes to nothng when Kevin Locke knocks the ball dead.
40 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Soward attempts a long range field goal and misses, the ball goes dead as the half time hooter blows.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18-0
41 min: Jamie Soward kicks off to get the second half underway.
42 min: Mistakes from both sides, but St .George Illawarra come up with it for offside Warriors players.
44 min: Warriors tackling strongly to start off the second 40, the interval has really helped their defence which was ordinary in the first half.
45 min: Warriors creating half chances here, but Dragons seem to have the answers to all the home side has to offer.
46 min: Knock on from Morris, New Zealand mounts some pressure and it comes off well for them, a chance in these early passages - scrum to be taken 30 metres out.
VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Warriors TRY.
49 min: TRY
TRY fr the Warriors who turn early second half pressure into points and Ben Matulino gets the four pointer. James Maloney from beside the posts converts the try.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18-6
51 min: Warriors looking a different side this half, much better attacking options and defending strongly.
52 min: Inu with a poor carry drops the ball.
53 min: PENALTY against the Warriors and Dragons reject the two and go onto the attack about ten out from the Warriors' line.
55 min: TRY
TRY to the Dragons. A thousand offloads from the Dragons and Stanley is in to score. Conversion from Soward successful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 24-6
56 min: That set quitened the Warriors who were looking better starting this half.
57 min: Inu drops the ball again to gift the visitors the ball.
60 min: Warriors shooting themselves in the foot, not completing their sets.
62 min: Dragons well on top again, happy to just complete their sets and trap the Warriors in their half.
63 min: Mistake by the Dragons to give the Warriors the ball 38 metres out.
64 min: Warriors forward pass from dummy half turns that opportunity to nothing.
65 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Soward attempts another field goal, but again misses.
St George Illawarra Dragons 24-6
66 min: PENALTY against St. George for a little hand in the ruck.
67 min: PENALTY for a high tackle from Dan Hunt, Warriors start this set ten metres out.
68 min: Superb goal line defence from the Dragons makes easy meat of that set.
69 min: Average kick from Soward and Warriors geta set from 40 out, Dragons concede a penalty on top and another opportunity for the Warriors.
70 min: Warriors set aagin comes to nothing with Dragons defence too good.
71 min: PENALTY against the Dragons for an incorrect play the ball. St. George Illawarra inviting Warriors to attack, only to smother them in defence.
72 min: Another mistake by St. George and Warriors are invited to have another go at this Dragons line.
73 min: PENALTY against the Dragons again and a sin bin for Matt Cooper.
75 min: TRY
TRY to the Warriors. Warriors finally penetrate with a try to Shaun Berrigan. Conversion successful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 24-12
77 min: FIELD GOAL
Jamie Soward makes his third field goal attempt of the afternoon and this one just sneaks inside the posts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 25-12
79 min: Dragons lose the ball in the tackle, they haven't really wanted much of the ball this half.
80 min: Warriors finish the game with an error, but this one won't hurt them with the hooter going off as the ball is dropped. Dragons take the game 25 - 12.

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