The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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St George Illawarra have caused one of the boilovers of the season as they beat the Warriors 32-22 at Ericcson Stadium in front of a crowd of over 15,000.
The Warriors started well by scoring in the first five minutes with a try to John Carlaw off a clever Stacey Jones kick but from then on until half time the Dragons totally dominated play and deserved there 16-4 lead. In the second half they increased the lead to 26-4 before the Warriors came home strongly to finish up losing by ten points, with goalkicking proving costly for the Warriors with Cleary and Jones missing a combined four goals. Having said that, the Dragons thoroughly deserved their victory and played percentage football in the absence of all their stars. Lance Thompson led the team magnificently and barged over late in the second half for the match winner.
A few contentious calls went against the Warriors and one in particular, involving Stacey Jones and a penalty given against him for not playing the ball when instructed really blew away any chance the Warriors had of staging an unlikely comeback. Having said that, a Warriors victory would have been totally undeserved as the Warriors error rate was far too high compared to the Dragons mistake free football.
St George now can use this victory to get their stop start season back on track and build on this victory as a springboard back into finals contention. The Warriors on the other hand will rue today?s loss as they were easily expected to dispose of an under strength Dragons outfit minus Trent Barrett, Mark Gasnier, Willie Peters, Jason Ryles and Luke Bailey. The Warriors missed the go forward of hard man Jerry Seu Seu and the creativity of hooker P J Marsh, both missing from today?s game though suspension and Origin duty respectively.
Warriors 22 - Dragons 32 New Zealand Warriors (Tries: Carlaw, Fa'fili, Webb, Toopi, Laui'titi . Goals: Cleary 0/2, Jones 1/3 ) St George Illawarra Dragons (Tries: Hornby x 2, Hookey x 2, Thompson. Goals: Riddell 2/3, Gorrell 4/5 )