Young Dragons Clinch Two Point Win
The St George Illawarra Dragons were 28-26 victors over Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Sunday.
The Young Dragons notched five tries in the two-point win with fullback Matt Dufty bagging a double and five-eighth Shannon Crook converting for from five goals.
Co-Head Coaches Ben Hornby and Dean Young made several changes to the line-up announced midweek with Euan Aitken replacing Sitiveni Moceidreke in the centres.
Furthermore, prop George Lolo was elevated from the interchange to the starting forward pack in lieu of co-captain Addin Fonua-Blake.
The visitors had been narrowly defeated 18-16 by the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles last round and saw themselves chasing an early deficit five minutes in.
The Tigers had charged forward from the off-set and struck early through centre Watson Heleta in the third minute.
Tigers halfback Eli Loveido converted to make it 6-0.
The Young Dragons however equalised soon thereafter with a converted try courtesy of five-eighth Shannon Crook who had been beneficiary of some strong support play in the 14th minute.
The hosts soon rallied and reclaimed the lead through Heleta’s second of the encounter, again from the left flank in the 24th minute.
The visitors clawed their way back to equalise for the second time during the encounter through fullback Matt Dufty six minutes from the interval.
Crook converted to make it 12-10.
Dufty was not finished with his previous efforts and managed to dash 80-metres unopposed down the right flank to slide over the stripe.
Crook converted to make it 18-10.
The visitors continued where they left off when second half play resumed with winger Izaac Thompson managing his name on the score sheet in the 50th minute.
The Tigers however struck back five minutes later through Heleta who rounded off his hat-trick courtesy of winger John Ogden’s offload.
Loveido converted to make it 22-16.
This was followed up by Tigers utility Delouise Hoeter’s try on the right winger three minutes later.
The Tigers remained relentless down the left flank and took a two-point lead nine minutes from time through the charge-and-barge efforts of Heleta once again.
Loveido converted to make it 26-22.
Yet the visitors had one last roll of the dice and equalised once more through second-rower Jack Bird three minutes from time.
Crook converted despite hitting the post to make it 28-26.
St George Illawarra Dragons 28. Tries: Dufty (2), Crook, Thompson, Bird. Goals: Crook (4/5).
Wests Tigers 26. Tries: Heleta (4), Hoeter. Goals: Loveido (3/5).