Dragons Roar Past Tigers
The St George Illawarra Dragons were 28-12 winners over Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Sunday.
The Red-and-Whites hauled-in five tries throughout the encounter with five-eighth Gareth Widdop bagging a personal double.
Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor made only the one change to the line-up announced midweek with NSW Blues representative Trent Merrin named on the interchange in lieu of Shane Pumipi.
The Shellharbour Sharks junior had previously sustained a shoulder injury while on representative duty during the third State of Origin fixture and returned to selection contention a week ahead of schedule.
The Dragons ran-out comprehensive 44-24 winners when both outfits last clashed in the opening round of the season and continued where they left off when play commenced this time around.
The visitors had squandered several opportunities to strike early as a result of poor ball-handling but made up for it through Gareth Widdop’s try in the 20th minute.
The English international had been the beneficiary of winger Brett Morris’ neat grubber kick from the left flank to secure his name on the scoresheet.
Widdop converted to make it 6-0.
The Dragons five-eighth turned provider shortly thereafter with an accurately cross-field chip-kick to the left finding centre Gerard Beale who calmly collected and scored.
Widdop converted once more to make it 12-0.
The Red-and-Whites made it a trifecta of first-half tries close to the half-hour mark when hooker Mitch Rein’s grubber kick found space for Widdop to collect and carry over the line.
Widdop soon converted to make it 18-0.
And with momentum purely in their favour, the visitors rounded-out the half with a further try two minutes prior to the break courtesy of winger Jason Nightingale.
The hosts managed to get on the scoreboard when second-half play recommenced thanks to fleet-footed five-eighth Blake Austin in the 47th minute.
Tigers winger Pat Richards converted to make it 22-6.
The home side narrowed their deficit with their second four-pointer of the game three minutes later through hooker Robbie Farah.
Richards converted again to make it 22-12.
The Dragons were awarded a penalty for an opposing player being offside and Widdop’s ensuing penalty goal made it 24-12.
The Dragons extinguished any hopes of a home side comeback when Widdop offloaded to Morris on the left edge to score in the 68th minute.
St George Illawarra Dragons 28 defeated Wests Tigers 12
St George Illawarra Dragons 28. Tries: Widdop (2), Beale, Nightingale, Morris. Goals: Widdop (3/5). Penalty Goal: Widdop (1/1).
Wests Tigers 12. Tries: Austin, Farah. Goals: Richards (2/2).