Dragons Claim Local Derby Win
The St George Illawarra Dragons were 30-0 victors over Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
The Red-and-Whites scored six tries in the comprehensive local derby win with centre Josh Dugan recording his first hat-trick in the Red V jersey.
Head Coach Paul McGregor had been forced to make several changes to his line-up following the late omission of prop Dan Hunt.
The Dapto Canaries junior had been on target to make his 150th first-grade milestone appearance throughout the week but was forced to withdraw with a minor groin strain.
Dragons prop Mike Cooper was subsequently elevated from the interchange to fill the void in the forward pack and joined hooker Craig Garvey, who respectively replaced the suspended Mitch Rein.
Additionally, Dragons utility Tyson Frizell started as lock-forward with Trent Merrin shifted to the bench to join Jack de Belin, Shane Pumipi and Will Matthews.
The home side’s attacking prowess had been put under the scope in recent weeks but this was soon put to the wayside by halfback Benji Marshall.
The New Zealand international was in the midst of the action for the hosts’ opening try, offloading to pacey fullback Adam Quinlan who in turn found winger Peter Mata’utia.
Marshall was again the instigator for the Dragons second try, setting up centre Josh Dugan midway through the period with a quick pass the ball to notch the valuable four-pointer.
Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop converted to make it 10-0.
The Dragons extended their lead on the half hour mark again through Dugan, who this time weaved his way past his marker to bag his second of the match.
Dragons centre Gerard Beale added an additional four-pointer courtesy of Marshall’s passing game five minutes from the interval to make it 18-0.
The Dragons boosted their lead on the hour mark again through Marshall, who once more linked-up with Dugan, this time with a well-timed bomb, which helped the three-fourths claim his second hat-trick of his first-grade career.
Widdop converted to make it 24-0.
The Dragons shut-out the visitors with a final try to Beale in the closing minutes of play.
Widdop converted to make it 30-0.
St George Illawarra Dragons 30 defeated the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0.
St George Illawarra Dragons 30. Tries: Dugan (3), Beale (2), Mata’utia. Goals: Widdop (3/6).
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0.