The St George Illawarra Dragons National Youth Competition team have today registered their third consecutive win in the competition defeating Cronulla 32-28 in the local derby at Remondis Stadium.
The young Dragons started strongly but had to fight back in the last minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of the young Sharks.
The Dragons scored six tries to the Sharks five in rainy conditions that included thunder and lightening that hit mid-way into the second half.
The Dragons opened the scoring in the ninth minute through forward Thomas Freebairn who showed great strength to crash his way over under the posts. Sitiveni Moceidreke successfully converted to give the Dragons the early 6-0 lead.
The Sharks hit-back in the following set with a 70m effort finished off by Josh Addo-Carr in the right-hand corner. Sharks fullback Valentine Holmes missed the conversion. The Dragons led 6-4.
The Dragons second try was just about a carbon copy of their first, this time it was Jack Kavanagh who crashed over under the posts in the 18th minute. Moceidreke extended the lead to eight points, 12-4.
Sharks interchange forward Sage Wilder showed great strength to score under the posts in the 35th minute with several Dragons defenders unable to complete the tackle. Holmes didn’t miss with this second conversion to bring the home team to within two points 12-10.
Dragons five-eight Drew Hutchinson ensured the Dragons finished the half strongly taking on the line and slicing through 15m to the right of the uprights in the final minute before the break. Hayden McCrae attempted the conversion but was unsuccessful. The Dragons taking a six point lead into the half-time break 16-10.
Hutchinson book ended the break with a try in the opening minute of the second half following a clean break from hooker McCrae who drew the fullback and set his five-eight away. McCrae successfully converted to extend the Dragons lead 22-10.
The home-team hit-back four minutes later when halfback Fa’amanu Brown slipped through the Dragons defensive line. Holmes was successful with the conversion to bring the game back to within one converted try, 22-16.
Dragons Centre Euan Aitken extended the Dragons lead in the 53rd minute following great lead-up work from Jack Bird who attracted several defenders and still managed to put Aitken through a gap with a great off-load. McCrae missed the conversion; the Dragons lead out to 10 points, 26-16.
Sharks Prop Jake Goodwin started the home teams come-back barging his way over adjacent to the uprights in the 70th minute, Holmes converted to make for an interesting final 10 minutes, the Dragons leading 26-22.
Sharks Centre Anthony Moraitis dived on a clever “in-goal” kick three minutes later and Holmes converted to give the home-team the lead for the first time in the match 28-26.
In a frantic few final minutes, Aitken snatched the lead-back for the Dragons in the 77th minute with a 35m run off the back of a strong run from winger Dee Jay Harris. Aitken showed great speed to outsprint the Sharks defenders and improve the position for Moceidreke who successfully converted to put the Dragons in-front 32-28 much to the delight of the Dragons faithful who had braved the wind and rain.
Dragons 32: Tries: Freebairn, Kavanagh, Hutchinson 2, Aitken 2 Goals: Moceidreke 3, McCrae
Sharks 28: Tries: Addo-Carr, Wilder, Brown, Goodwin, Moraitus Goals: Holmes 4