Second half performance steers Dragons to victory

St George Illawarra Dragons and their new coach Wayne Bennett have toughed out their first victory in the 2009 NRL season by defeating the Gold Coast Titans 16-10 in front of a crowd of 13, 329, at a picture perfect WIN Stadium this evening. Both sides were a little scrappy in their play early in the match will penalties featuring ahead of anything else. The Dragons certainly looking sluggish on attack and very fortunate to be leading at the break by 6-4. The Titans at times looking extremely dangerous but unable to convert their attack into points. The second half was dominated by the Dragons, with Soward playing a big part in the consolidation of his side. The defence by the Dragons shutting down any threats the Titans looked to be instigating.

A late try to the Titans helped their cause a little but it came too late to salvage.

Match Summary St George Illawarra Dragons 16 def Gold Coast Titans 10 Round 2 - Saturday March 21st, 2009 5:30pm Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong Referee: Ashley Klein & Alan Shortall Touch Judges: Luke Potter & Steve Carrall Video Ref: Sean Hampstead Crowd: 13,329 Halftime: Dragons 6 Titans 4 St George Illawarra Dragons 16 Tries: Jeremy Smith, Neville Costigan, Jason Nightingale Goals: Jamie Soward (2/3)

Gold Coast Titans 10 Tries: Scott Prince, William Zillman Goals: Scott Prince (1/2) LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Jarrod Saffy (Dragons) 2 Points: Jamie Soward (Dragons) 1 Point: Luke Bailey (Titans)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

Brilliant sunshine greets both sides at WIN Stadium this afternoon. Luke Bailey set to play his 150th NRL game back where it all started, in Dragons territory. Both teams as per programme.

DRAGONS: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Jason Nightingale, 3. Beau Scott 4. Matt Cooper 5. Wendell Sailor 6. Jamie Soward 7. Ben Hornby (c) 8. Jarrod Saffy 9. Dean Young 10. Michael Weyman 11. Matt Prior 12. Ben Creagh 13. Jeremy Smith Interchange: 14. Dan Hunt 15. Neville Costigan 16. Luke Priddis 17. Brett Morris

TITANS: 1. Preston Campbell 2. Esi Tonga 3. Josh Graham 4. Brett Delaney 5. Jordan Atkins 6. Mat Rogers 7. Scott Prince (cc) 8. Luke Bailey (cc) 9. Nathan Friend 10. Matt White 11. Mark Minichiello 12. Anthony Laffranchi 13. Ashley Harrison Interchange: 14. Aaron Cannings 15. Brad Meyers 16. Luke O'Dwyer 17. William Zillman

1 min: Kick off for the Titans as the match gets underway in very warm conditions

3 min: A tentative start by the teams soon fire up as 3 defenders put Tonga firmly on his back which gets the crowd into the game.

4 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans A long range flat pass by Hornby out wide is chipped ahead as an intercept by Prince who scores out wide chased frantically by Nightingale. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince unsuccessful. Gold Coast Titans 4-0

9 min: A high kick in goal is totally bombed by Campbell at the back allowing the Dragons their first attacking opportunity of the match.

10 min: Soward totally missed a golden opportunity on the fifth tackle as his kick to the corner goes out on the full.

12 min: Fifth tackle options by the Dragons not quite hitting their mark so far in the game as once again the attack fizzes.

13 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - TITANS

14 min: Soward saves the day for the Dragons as Prince chips the perfect kick to the in goal. Soward just managing to get back into the field of play smothered by Titans attackers.

16 min: Sailor makes the break from the Titans line only to be mowed down by Rogers. Back to back penalties helping the Dragons cause.

18 min: The Dragons may be a little guilty of trying too hard and once again good field position is wasted by a simple error.

19 min: Penalties aplenty for both sides, this time allowing the Dragons another opportunity 30 metres out from their line.

22 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Another penalty awarded to the Dragons sees them finally crossing the line, with Smith ducking under defenders to score under the posts. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 6-4

24 min: Soward very close to a 40/20, Aitken managing to tap the ball in field and saving possession to the Dragons on their goal line.

25 min: Back to back penalties and the Titans are on attack 10metres out from their line. Unfortunately for the visitors, Prince knocks on in the 1st tackle.

27 min: Lots of whistle blowing, 10 penalties in the game so far. This time the Titans benefit and are on attack 20 metres out.

30 min: NO TRY - TITANS. Minichiello thought he'd scored but is denied as the flat pass by Prince was deemed to be forward.

33 min: The Dragons once again look sluggish on attack while no one really going foward, and the kick by Soward on the fifth is wrapped up easily.

38 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - TITANS. Looking dangerous on attack as the Dragons defenders back pedal.

39 min: Scrambling defence by the Dragons is rewarded as Rogers knocks on close to the line.

HALFTIME: The Titans definitely looking dangerous on attack while the Dragons look a little lost with their options close to the line, and are probably thankful to hold onto the 6-4 lead.

41 min: The Dragons get the 2nd half underway in this close battle.

42 min: Rogers nearly nails a 40/20 but luckily the bounce is favourable for Boyd in the corner.

44 min: A kick to the corner by Soward certainly offers more for his attackers, they retain possession in the scrum following a knock on by Tonga.

46 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons A kick along the ground by Soward to the goal posts bounces just out of Hornby's reach, luckily Costigan is there to oblige instead. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 12-4

50 min: First penalty of the 2nd half goes the Dragons way after some static play by both sides.

54 min: NO TRY - DRAGONS Finally the spark is there from the Dragons attack as they spread the ball fast and wide. Unfortunately for the Dragons, Friend puts his body on the line and pulls Nightingale up short.

58 min: Prince arguing with the ref as once again his side is penalised.

63 min: The Titans starting to up the tempo however the Dragons defence is up to the task at this stage of the match.

64 min: PENALTY - DRAGONS The volume of the crowd goes up a notch as the Dragons are on attack close to their line following a late charge on Hornby with his kick.

65 min: Scrum Dragons on attack as the ball is knocked on close to the line by a Titans defender. The Dragons chant goes up around the ground.

67 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Fifth tackle option by Soward is a kick out to his winger who obliges while arguing in the air with Aitkens. Refs call by the video ref and Klein says yes. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 16-4

70 min: NO TRY - DRAGONS The Dragons use the length of the field with their five tackles. Young kicks thru on the 5th, and Nightingale hunts the ball shadowed by Campbell. The replay shows the Dragons winger's feet just on the sideline.

73 min: The Dragons threaten yet again and Creagh just misses out as he knocks on in goal following a great tackle by a Graham.

75 min: Crowd figure - 13,329

78 min: Silly little errors in the game by two tiring sides.

80 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Two games, two tries for Zillman as he finishes off the quick hands from the men inside him. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 16-10

FULLTIME: A better second half by the Dragons saw them cement the win.

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