The St. George Illawarra Dragons have come from behind the defeat the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs by six points at WIN Stadium, finishing 28-22 winners courtesy of a last minute try from Corey Norman.
Bulldogs interim coach, Steve Georgallis, will be wondering how they managed to lose after leading by as much as 12 points during the second half as they suffered their ninth loss of the season after failing to hold their lead against the Dragons. On the other hand, Dragons coach Paul McGregor will be stoked with his sides resilience and toughness as they produced three tries in the last 15 minutes to come away with the two points.
It was the perfect start for the Dragons at WIN Stadium on Wollongong with Matthew Dufty scoring the opening try from the first set of six thanks to a brilliant catch by Zac Lomax from a bomb which then saw the centre offload to a supporting Dufty who scored under the posts. The home side continued their great start with Euan Aitken scoring on the left edge after a simple play through the hands from the Dragons allowed Aitken to breeze his way past Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Kerrod Holland to score the Dragons second try giving them a 10-0 lead after just eight minutes.
It seemed as if the Dragons were going to easily run away with this one, but the Bulldogs were able to stay in the contest early and they were rewarded with a try to Jeremy Marshall-King who burrowed his way over from dummy-half under the posts to score the opener for the away side. Only just nine minutes then surpassed before the Bulldogs took the lead after a simple scrum play saw Nick Meaney score on the left edge thanks to a pass held up by Kieran Foran who then put his fullback into a gap scoring untouched.
Just when you thought the Bulldogs had inflicted enough pain late in the half, Raymond Faitala-Mariner would add his name to the scoresheet after scoring from a simple crash ball as he bulldozed his way through both Tyson Frizzel and Corey Norman to give the Bulldogs an eight point lead. A penalty late in the half courtesy of a Tariq Sims high shot on Kieran Foran gave the Bulldogs the opportunity to extend their lead to 10 points heading into the break, which is exactly what they did as Meaney slotted the penalty goal right over the black dot.
As the second half started, news came through that Kieran Foran had passed his HIA from the high shot of Tariq Sims and all fans expected him to return to the field yet he strangely didn't play a single minute after the half-time break. This coupled with the timing of half-time stifled the momentum of the Bulldogs as they weren't able to bring their point-scoring ability from the first half into the second with their only points in the second-half coming from a Nick Meaney penalty goal in the 55th minute.
With the Bulldogs leading by 12 points, it looked likely that they'd come away with the victory. This was until Jason Saab scored for the Dragons in the 65th minute thanks to a dropped ball from Christian Crichton in which he accidentally kicked the ball into the path of Saab who picked it up and scored untouched next to the uprights, keeping the Dragons in the contest. It took the Dragons just seven minutes to level the scores after halfback Adam Clune caught the Bulldogs defence napping as he burst through some staggered defence to find himself one on one with Meaney. The halfback calmly drew Meaney in and passed to the supporting Matt Dufty who would score his second try of the night.
An entertaining eight minutes was to follow with the Bulldogs knocking back an opportunity to take a field goal shot and instead Lachlan Lewis decided for a little chip kick which was caught in-goal on the full, just two tackles later Lewis than gave away a penalty for a high shot giving the Dragons brilliant field position to clinch the game. Dragons' five-eighth Corey Norman was given a great opportunity to win the game with his boot but his field goal attempt skewed to the left of the uprights.
However, he was shortly given another opportunity to win the game as he steamed onto a dropped ball from Marcelo Montoya on the Bulldogs 40 metre line to score the game winning try with what would be the last play of the game.
The Bulldogs and their fans will be wondering how they let that one slip through their fingers as they occupy the bottom of the ladder with just the sole win to their name as they head to Newcastle next round. Meanwhile, The Dragons, despite their poor start to the season now see themselves just a win outside the eight which was unfathomable just over a month ago. They are 'away' to the Sharks at Kogarah next Saturday.