Local derby belongs to the Dragons

St George Illawarra have made it two from two against local rivals Cronulla in 2004, defeating the Sharks 26-14 at Oki Jubilee Stadium today.

It was a game of two halves, the first a rugged encounter, the second a litany of mistakes early before a late flurry of tries saw the home side continue their quest towards the semi finals.

?We finally put it out of its misery,? Dragons assistant coach Kurt Wrigley said of the contest.

?It was bizarre, more like a game of tennis.

?One of the boys actually said if the game was a shiela you wouldn?t ask her out.?

But winning ugly is still winning and the Dragons head to Townsville next week to play the Cowboys with the chance to get closer to an improbable top four berth.

?Everyone was frustrated and everyone was trying to win the game instead of doing their own individual job,? Dragons fullback Ben Hornby said.

?We have to look ahead now. In the past we may have lost that game but it was a good chance to prove we can win the tight ones.

?We want to get a roll on so we?ll go up to Townsville confident we?re going to win.?

The home side were the first on the board when halfback Mathew Head provided Reece Simmonds with a brilliant cutout pass in the ninth minute and the winger scurried into the corner to set up an early 4-0 lead.

Just 10 minutes later skipper Trent Barrett exploited some tired Sharks defence to dive over under the posts and extend the lead to 10-0.

Barrett pushed past props Danny Nutley and Chris Beattie on his way over the stripe.

The Sharks hit back through Matthew Rieck after video referee Steve Clark awarded the winger the benefit of the doubt.

Rieck dived into the left corner under attention with his left leg and elbow seemingly very close to the touchline but Clark was unable to conclusively rule that way and a try resulted.

Not long after Nigel Vagana crossed from a quick David Simmons pass leaving the score at the break 10-8.

Just five minutes into the second stanza hooker Lincoln Withers dived over from dummy half.

The clever rake lost possession in his fight to touch down but regathered in time to register the four points.

Error after error then crept into the game before Sharks three quarter Ryan McGoldrick crossed to bring the deficit to just two at 16-14.

But it seemed to be the wake up call the red and whites needed as they pushed ahead with two tries in as many minutes.

Mark Riddell scored a trademark try when he burrowed over Nutley from dummy half before Simmonds sealed the match.

Simmonds second try came from a super Ashton Sims offload which put Matt Cooper into space and the NSW centre made no mistake in passing inside for Simmonds.

With clashes against other top eight sides the Cowboys and Melbourne Storm over the next fortnight the Dragons will see how they rate coming into the finals.

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 26 (R Simmonds 2, T Barrett, L Withers, M Riddell tries; M Head 3 goals) d. CRONULLA SHARKS 14 (M Rieck, N Vagana, R McGoldrick tries; M Hilder goal) at Oki Jubilee Stadium Crowd: 16,436

Leagueunlimited Live Report:

DRAGONS 26 Tries: Simmonds 2, Barrett, Withers, Riddell Goals: Head 3/5, Riddell 0/1 defeated SHARKS 14 Tries: Rieck, Vagana, McGoldrick Goals: Hilder 1/3

Oki Kogarah Jubilee Referee: Sean Hampstead Video Referee: Stephen Clark Touch Judges: Russell Turner, Steve Chiddy

By the clock: 0 min: Grey day in Sydney. Clouds looming for the local derby with swirling North Westerly winds. Crowd: 16,436. Good atmosphere in the ground. KICK OFF

9 min: TRY - Dragons With weight of possession in the Dragons favour so far, Reece Simmonds scores. Conversion unsuccessful. Dragons 4-0

19 min: TRY - Dragons Riddell and Ryles carrying the ball forwards. The Sharks doing a lot of tackling. Pressure pays off when Trent Barrett scores. Matthew Head's conversion successful. Dragons 10-0

31 min: TRY - Sharks With the Sharks managing to hang on to the ball and complete their sets, the Dragons are under pressure. Matthew Rieck breaks the line and goes over to score. Conversion unsuccessful. Dragons 10-4

37 min: Try - Sharks Sharks now with most of the ball. Vagana storms over the line. No conversion. Dragons 10-8

40 min: Penalty goal attempt from Mathew Head (Dragons) is unsuccessful.


45 mins: Try - Dragons Dragons come storming back after the break with a try to Lincoln Withers. Dragons 14-8

46 min: Head puts it through the posts. Conversion successful. Dragons 16-8

69 min: TRY - Sharks After trading tackles for twenty minutes Ryan McGoldrick strikes back for the Sharks. Matt Hilder successful with the kick. Dragons 16-14

73 min: Try - Dragons Mark Riddell hits back for the Dragons. Riddell's conversion unsuccessful. Dragons 20-14

75 min: Try - Dragons Reece Simmonds adds to the Sharks misery, scoring again before they can even get a touch of the ball. Head's conversion successful. 26-14


A pretty ordinary game from both teams, the St George-Illawara Dragons helped immensely by Cronulla's mistakes and inability to complete their sets of six. Trent Barrett too good for them. The Sharks season just gets worse.

----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - A Sims (Dragons) 2 - T Barrett (Dragons) 1 - R Simmonds (Dragons) -----------------------------------------