Kogarah reaches milestone of 400 first grade games

OKI Jubilee Stadium hosts its 400th First Grade match when the Dragons clash with the Sharks on Monday night.

The local derby match celebrates the 40th anniversary of Dragons-Sharks rivalry and offers the Dragons a chance at redemption after they suffered their biggest ever defeat against the Sharks in round four this season.

The debut of Monday night football at Jubilee Stadium also marks the return of Lance Thompson to Kogarah for the first time since his unhappy split with St.George-Illawarra management. However, Thompson is likely to miss the match due to an injured knee.

In Kogarah's quadruple-century of matches since 1950, the local derby games have been some of the most memorable. St.George and the Sharks have always had a keen rivalry, but it's fair to say that its intensity has increased significantly since the Super League War when the Clubs were in opposite camps.

In 30 matches at Kogarah, the Sharks have recorded 10 victories, 19 defeats and one draw; they are yet to record a win at Kogarah since the Dragons returned to the ground in 2003.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting: http://www.dragons.com.au/shop/oki_tickets.asp

Below is a brief rundown of five of the most significant Dragons- Sharks matches at Kogarah:

1967 - St.George meets Cronulla for the first time and records a 20-9 victory on Kogarah's hallowed turf. While Cronulla led 9-8 after 55 minutes, the class of the Dragons proved too much towards the end of the match. St.George winger Stan Gorton scored two tries including one in the last two minutes of the game after a Graeme Langlands intercept. Cronulla Lock Graeme Sams scored Cronulla's lone try. Later in the season, St.George annihilated Cronulla by 42-6 at Sutherland Oval.

1971 - In a major upset, Cronulla scored their first victory against St.George. Cronulla triumphed by 19-15 in a gritty performance where Sharks' winger Dave Cotter scored a hat-trick of tries and kicked two goals. Kevin Hogan was Cronulla's best player at five-eighth, while lock Maurie Raper also stood out for the Sharks. Graeme Langlands again showed his class for St.George with two tries and three goals, while Billy Smith cheered the Kogarah faithful with a try.

1996 - At the height of the Super League War and during St.George's 75th anniversary, the Saints and Cronulla recorded a 20-all draw. Dragons' winger Mark Bell put in one of his best performances for St.George and grabbed two slick tries. Mark Coyne and Dean Raper also scored for the Dragons. Although St.George scored four tries to three, Cronulla winger Mat Rogers kicked four goals from as many attempts to keep the Sharks in the game. Dragons' halfback Noel Goldthorpe missed a field goal in the last minutes of play. Referee Graeme West incurred the wrath of a vocal Kogarah crowd for some questionable decisions.

1998 - The Dragons and Sharks clashed for the first time in the unified NRL. On a boiling day, the Sharks were victorious by 20-14 in a spiteful match where Andrew Ettingshausen was banished to the sin bin. Craig Greenhill suffered a serious back injury and Wayne Bartrim smashed Wade Forrester in a suspect tackle that led to a three week suspension for the Australian representative. Referee Brian Grant had an ordinary match, with David Waite stating that Grant's interpretation of the 10 metre rule was abysmal. St.George only had one play-the-ball in the first 19 minutes of the second half.

2003 - After three years in the wilderness, the Dragons returned to Kogarah and faced the Sharks in the first match back at their spiritual home. In a supreme performance, St.George thrashed a hapless Cronulla 28-12 in front of a sell-out crowd. Matt Cooper scored two tries and was one of the Dragons' best players, while Brett Kimmorley had a shocker that included two passes that led to intercept tries by Hassan Saleh and Cooper.