Dragons Clinch Win Over Warriors
The St George Illawarra Dragons were 20-10 winners over the New Zealand Warriors at Kogarah on Saturday.
The Red-and-Whites scored three tries in the outing courtesy of Jason Nightingale, Mike Cooper and Josh Dugan to secure the two-competition points.
Dragons Head Coach Steve Price made several changes to his line-up with centre Nathan Green making his season debut after being named in lieu of Dylan Farrell following the latter's surgery on a ruptured pectoral muscle midweek.
The Renown United junior was joined in the run-on side by Leeson Ah Mau who was elevated to the second-row in lieu of Joel Thompson, who failed a concussion test.
Dragons prop Jack de Belin also returned to the starting line-up with Dan Hunt shifted to the interchange alongside late call-up Tyson Frizell.
The Dragons were 31-12 winners when the two outfits earlier this season in round 2 and were looking to secure a double over their trans-Tasman rivals.
Despite a tough opening quarter, the hosts collected first points in the 25th minute through a penalty goal taken by five-eighth Gareth Widdop 30-metres out.
The home side extended their lead with six minutes left until half time, as a flying Jason Nightingale dove over defending Warriors centre Dane Nielson to increase the lead to 6-nil.
The Dragons struck again in the last minute of the first half with prop Mike Cooper scoring his debut NRL try.
Widdop converted prior to the siren to make it 12-nil.
The Warriors opened the second half scoring with a 50th minute try to skipping fullback Sam Tomkins.
Warriors half-back Shaun Johnson converted to make the score 12-6.
However, the Dragons returned in kind seven minutes later as Widdop slotted the ball through the posts for another penalty goal.
Yet the Warriors soon grabbed another four-pointer through winger Manu Vatuvei in the 63rd minute, making the score 14-10.
But it was fullback Josh Dugan who further extended the hosts lead six minutes later as he collected a Mitch Rein grubber kick to score.
Widdop successfully converted to make it 20-10.
St George Illawarra Dragons 20 defeated the New Zealand Warriors 10.
St George Illawarra Dragons 20. Tries: Nightingale, Cooper, Dugan. Goals: Widdop (2/3). Penalty Goal: Widdop (2/2).
New Zealand Warriers 10. Tries: Tomkins, Vatuvei. Goals: Johnson (1/2).